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chicken breasts with bearnaise sauce

Audrey's picture

My daughter and granddaughter have requested chicken breasts with bearnaise sauce for their combined birthday party.  Any suggestions for a way to cook the chicken and keep it moist?  I'd like to cook it on the gas grill but I'm afraid it will be dry unless I marinate it or something.  I've always marinated chicken breasts in teriyaki or Italian type marinades but I don't think that would blend well with bearnaise sauce.  Any suggestions.

cosmo55's picture

(post #36119, reply #1 of 40)

We often just marinate the chicken in olive oil for about 1/2 hour or so before grilling...I've found that it works well. Just an idea....Good luck!

Glenys's picture

(post #36119, reply #9 of 40)

Olive oil with some lemon juice is a good combination.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #36119, reply #2 of 40)

The taste of Bernaise and grilled chicken doesn't sound quite right to me.

Here's what I do when I want to serve chicken w/ a pan sauce. IIRC, this came from a FC article long ago and far away.

PLAN ON 1 SMALL BONELESS, SKINLESS HALF BREAST (6 to 8 OZ.) PER PERSON.

Sautéed chicken breasts should be a rich nut brown on the outside & tender and juicy on the inside. The secret to success is high heat: not so high as to burn the fat, but pretty close. If the pan is hot enough, the chicken will take – more or less exactly – four minutes per side to cook through.

Chicken Paillards (How to sauté regular boneless, skinless chicken fillets):

Either separate the tender from the fillet, or butterfly the tender and leave it attached (it all depends on how large and thick the breast is). Place between 2 pieces of saran wrap or wax paper. Pound each piece to a uniform thickness. Dust lightly w/ flour, shaking off excess, and then sprinkle both sides w/ salt & pepper (and any other seasonings if desired.) Pat into chicken.

Heat equal parts olive oil and butter until sizzling in a non stick pan just large enough to hold the chicken breasts without crowding over medium high heat. For two half breasts, use about 2 teaspoons each of butter & olive oil.

Sauté for 4 minutes on the first side, then turn and cook for 3 4 minutes longer on the second side. The chicken should feel firm to the touch & milky juices should appear around the tenderloin. (You can cut into one in the center w/ a knife to make sure.)

Remove to a warm plate & tent loosely w/ foil while you make the sauce. You can also place the loosely covered chicken into a 200º oven.

How to cook thinner fillets:

Be sure & warm plates in the oven (one to rest chicken & dinner plates for serving.) Don’t try to serve these on room-temperature plates; they are so thin they will get cold before you can eat!

Remove the tenderloin; place one hand on the larger piece of chicken and carefully slice chicken breasts in half horizontally into two thin fillets. You should have 3 fillets of equal thickness. Don't pound, but lightly dust w/ flour and season as above.

Sauté as above, except that thin chicken fillets should only be sautéed for 30 seconds /side, or just until opaque. Don't try & cook these until brown they'll be overcooked.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #36119, reply #3 of 40)

Here's my basic chicken marinade for grilled chicken (I wouldn't marinate chicken if I was going to saute it.) I marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts for an hour or two maximum. You could use a little tarragon as the herb to complement the tarragon in the Bernaise. I'd leave out the heat and use shallots, not garlic.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. lemon /lime/orange juice & about 1 tbsp. lemon / lime/orange zest
3 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed AND /OR 1 tbsp. chopped shallots
1 to 2 tbsp. fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, lemon verbena, etc.
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or a scant ½ tsp. ground chipotle powder (opt.)


Edited 7/2/2008 7:19 pm by Marie Louise

thecooktoo's picture

(post #36119, reply #4 of 40)

I would brine the b-s breasts in 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar or white sugar and two T of molasses, for 2 - 4 hours, refrigerated in a ziplock bag in a quart of cold water.  Then just grill away, they'll be fine.  You can also pan sear them and finish in the oven. 


Whether or not bernaise goes with grilled is not the issue in my opinion, it's what the ladies asked for.  However, I would not marinate them anything that adds additional flavor.


Jim

Marie Louise's picture

(post #36119, reply #5 of 40)

One of us is misreading her post. I read that they'd asked for Chicken w/ Bernaise, and that she-not the birthday girls-would like to grill it on a gas grill.

And then she asked: Any suggestions for a way to cook the chicken and keep it moist?


Edited 7/2/2008 9:07 pm by Marie Louise

soupereasy's picture

(post #36119, reply #6 of 40)

Gently poach, drain, serve with sauce.;)

thecooktoo's picture

(post #36119, reply #7 of 40)

Probably me.  But I would brine it no matter how I was fixing it if I wanted to keep BS Chx breasts moist.  Grill, pan sear, bake...anything but poach, and I'm not sure it would even hurt to brine them before poaching.  But then, I don't like poached chicken anyway. 


Jim

Gretchen's picture

(post #36119, reply #14 of 40)

In one of our J&W classes, chef pointed out that poaching the perfect chicken breast is done in barely simmering liquid and to an internal temp of 160*.  What we were doing didn't really require a "perfectly poached breast" but for kicks I did it. It was delicious and moist and tender and would have been super with a bearnaise sauce.

Gretchen

Gretchen
soupereasy's picture

(post #36119, reply #16 of 40)

Well, that was my thought.


edit to say Poached chix is not a hard rubbery food! Couldn't agree more with your J&W chef.


Edited 7/3/2008 4:51 pm ET by soupereasy

Glenys's picture

(post #36119, reply #17 of 40)

We used to poach in whipping cream as well. I actually steam chicken breasts in the steam oven for all sorts of "left-over" uses, especially for sandwiches; turkey breast too.

Gretchen's picture

(post #36119, reply #18 of 40)

Oooh, cream. What kind of sauce?

Gretchen

Gretchen
thecooktoo's picture

(post #36119, reply #20 of 40)

Glenys, have often wondered about poaching chx in olive oil, like fish is often done.  Have never tried it but would like to know if you think it would work.  I would be tempted to try it just to see what happens.


Jim

soupereasy's picture

(post #36119, reply #22 of 40)

Let me know if you try it. I love whole garlic cloves poached in olive oil. Use them as a pantry staple.
Might just go ahead and try for myself. Thanks for the idea.

Glenys's picture

(post #36119, reply #24 of 40)

Think confirer; it's like making confit.

thecooktoo's picture

(post #36119, reply #19 of 40)

That's the way I was taught as well.  But I usually remove them at 155 and let the residual heat take them up to the 160.  I have found that most chx breasts really toughen up once the temp goes past 160.


Jim

Gretchen's picture

(post #36119, reply #21 of 40)

I should probably check the temp--I wrote it in my cookbook for that class. But I agree about the "rest". But I don't find poached chicken at all unpleasant, as you seem to. Totally depends on the use for me.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Glenys's picture

(post #36119, reply #8 of 40)

There is but one caveat in keeping chicken moist and that's not overcooking it.  I dare say it's that simple.  If you wish moist chicken, sear on a high grill but learn to remove them when soft but not mushy to the touch in the thickest section.  Rest tented on a warm plate.  It's a balance between thickness/weight plus grill temperature to accomplish the correct time, and then there's proper resting.  Most people overcook chicken, bottom line.

ashleyd's picture

(post #36119, reply #12 of 40)

Thank you for that, I thought it was just me, what with glazes, brines and whatever I'm thinking what's wrong with just cooking it simply and properly with basic seasoning and let the sauce do the rest. Of course you can do all those other things if they tickle your palate, but they're optional.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

thecooktoo's picture

(post #36119, reply #13 of 40)

I got into the habit of brining chicken when I was still cooking regularly as a personal chef.  I knew that if I brined the chicken, cooked it to 145 and cooled and packaged it for the client that they could heat it for service and not overcook it.  Brining it just makes it a more forgiving product for the home cook, they can overcook it a little and not destroy it.


Jim

ashleyd's picture

(post #36119, reply #15 of 40)

I think that's very reasonable, give the client a little leeway, especially if you have no control. I'm beginning to think that cooking chicken breasts is like boiling an egg, looks easy but goes wrong surprisingly often, but the result is usually edible.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Audrey's picture

(post #36119, reply #25 of 40)

What are the ingredients of the brine you use Jim?  I think brining is a good option since there will be confusion in the kitchen (9 people milling around) and the breasts would be so easy to overcook on the grill especially because there are other things being cooked too.  My daughter and granddaughter have requested some labor intensive dishes to go along with the chicken and bearnaise sauce. 


Every year each kid gets to choose their birthday dinner but the the ones that have birthdays in March are "normal".  There are 3 that celebrate the same day and they always choose things like standing rib roast or steak with baked potatoes and popovers.


Audrey

Gretchen's picture

(post #36119, reply #26 of 40)

Brining is very overrated (JMO). Just cook it properly (not overcooked,as has been said in this repeatedly) and it will be fine. If you get bone on breasts and bone them yourself, it will also be better, in my opinion.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Glenys's picture

(post #36119, reply #27 of 40)

I'm reversing this discussion slightly here back to the sauce. Choosing the correct sauce for a dish requires a bit of a "job description"; there's a reason you don't see Béarnaise sauce on the patio in Provence.
While I can't speak to any Béarnaise made from a mix, your window of opportunity to create and serve this classic sabayon is pretty narrow. I would assume you're going to hold it in thermoses before serving but that's limited as well. There's a reason they eat aïoli in hot climates.

ICDOCEAN1's picture

(post #36119, reply #32 of 40)

There is a salad somewhere that uses roasted chicken breasts, bone in, and the juices are drizzled over the salad.   I recall that the lightly seasoned chicken breasts came out nice and juicy.   


My point is that a great sauce can be developed from there.   I know that bearnaise is the goal, but maybe a lemon sauce, which I do not have the words to describe, but thicker than au jus is what I am thinking.


I'll take another look for the recipe, but I haven't had much luck so far.  The chicken breast were roasted to perfection though, slice and placed over the salad


On the other hand, I have held the bearnaise in  thermos and it was just fine.  I used the wide soup thermos' since I can thoroughly heat them and dry the interior before use.


I have a problems tasting bernaise and chicken in my mind.




 


Gretchen's picture

(post #36119, reply #33 of 40)

Since you mention lemon, a beurre blanc might be really delicious also.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Marie Louise's picture

(post #36119, reply #34 of 40)

I can see Bernaise and chicken. I make a wonderful braised chicken dish w/ tarragon, cream, and vinegar. It is the smokiness of grilling that seems that it will clash to me. I think the chicken needs to be as bland as possible so that the sauce will shine; pan-seared or poached seems like a much better way to go.

thecooktoo's picture

(post #36119, reply #28 of 40)

Audrey - I use 1/3 cup Morton Kosher Salt (or a half cup of Diamond Red Box) and 1/3 cup of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of molasses or 1/2 cup of brown sugar to a quart of cold water.  Dissolve the sugar and salt completely, put in a large ziploc with the breast.  Brine at least 1 hour per pound, but not less than 30 minutes and not more than 8 hours.  It will absolutely help insure against dry chicken in case you happen to overcook when things get hectic.  It's also very helpful if you have to cook up some of the stuff in advance so you can keep the grill busy to get everything done. 


Folks have different experiences with brining, but mine have always been positive so I do it frequently, particularly for my grilling classes that I teach each quarter.


If you are making homemade bernaise, follow Glenys' advice and keep it in  a thermos for serving unless you do it ala minute.


 


Edited 7/4/2008 1:20 pm ET by thecooktoo

Marcia's picture

(post #36119, reply #29 of 40)

DD was at a conference recently and had some pretty amazing food there, but what she raved about was a rolled turkey breast dish. Please understand, that the only turkey my family will touch is the dark meat, and no one was more puzzled than DD.

She kept talking about it, and finally said it was juicy and had a very slight sweet taste. The light dawned for me, and I told her the turkey breast had been brined. Now the cook was French, and the sauce was light and wonderful, but brining did make all the difference.

Audrey's picture

(post #36119, reply #31 of 40)

Thank you!  That sounds like a good brining mixture.  And yes, it will be home made bearnaise sauce and I plan to keep it warm in a thermos for the short time it will take to get everything else on the table.  I won't be using the oven for anything so figured I could get the chicken cooked, covered with foil and placed in a 155 degree oven until I get the bearnaise sauce made.


Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and insight.  You've all been very helpful.


Audrey