A chicken sauté
is intensely flavorful because the chicken pieces are cooked entirely in a
small amount of fat such as butter or live oil on top of the stove.
Sautéing the chicken pieces this way leaves them well caramelized, crispy
and very flavorful. When the chicken is done, serve it as is or make a
sauce out of the caramelized juices that are left clinging to the bottom
of the sauté pan. Classic and imaginative garnitures can be added for more
complexity and to vary the flavor.
in whole butter, extra virgin olive oil or rendered duck or bacon fat.
The choice of fat should be consistent with the character of the dish
and the garniture (example, use olive oil with Mediterranean ingredients
such as tomatoes and butter for cream sauces)
You'll need 2
to 3 tablespoons fat to sauté 1 chicken.
medium to high heat.
Sauté skin side
down first and serve the chicken skin side up because this side is more
attractive. Sautéing the skin side first diminishes the risk of sticking
and saves you turning the pieces over again when serving.
doneness of the chicken by pressing gently with your finger on the
thickest part. When the chicken is done, the meat springs back. If the
chicken is uncooked, the meat will feel fleshy.
discarding some or all of the fat, deglaze the pan with wine, stock,
spirits, cream, chopped tomato and/or a combination.
and chops, chicken doesn't need to be started in an extremely hot pan in
order to brown well. It is because it takes longer to cook through, the
chicken will brown well over medium heat. The skin, which browns and
releases its fat, forms a crispy coating that seals in the chicken's
mostly skin side down so the fat in the skin has a chance to render and
the skin to turn crispy.
To keep the
chicken from sticking, use a nonstick pan or well-seasoned skillet. If
the skin sticks to the bottom of the pan as you're trying to turn the
chicken, wait a minute or two. Often, as the fat in the skin continues
to render, the skin will come loose from the pan.
Chicken Breast and Thighs
with Mushroom Sauce
1. Heat butter in a heavy-bottomed
pan just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Season
the chicken with salt and pepper and place it skin side down in the
5. Add sliced mushrooms and continue
to cook until the mushrooms brown and any liquid they release has
2. Cook for about 15 minutes,
until the skin turns golden brown. Turn the chicken pieces over.
6. Add white wine and simmer over
high heat until it reduces to about 2 tablespoons.
3. Cook on the flesh side for
about 10 minutes, or until the flesh springs back when you press on
it. Transfer the chicken to a plate or platter.
7. Add brown chicken stock and reduce
to a lightly syrupy consistency.
4. Pour out all but about a
tablespoon of the fat left in the pan, Place over high heat, add
shallots, and stir for about a minute until they release their
8. Whisk in butter and season with
salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the sautéed chicken.