GINNA PARSONS: Chicken cooked on top of stove just delicious

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

I was flipping through an old Southern Living magazine one day last week, looking for a gardening story that I remembered, when I came across a recipe for chicken breasts with a balsamic-vinegar reduction sauce.
I was already planning to make a new pasta dish for dinner that had spinach, artichoke hearts and a cream sauce in it, and I thought the chicken would be good served on top of the pasta. (The pasta dish did not turn out well. It will need some major tweaking before it’s fit to print.)
Anyway, the chicken recipe called for cooking the chicken on top of the stove in a little butter and oil. I’ve never been successful cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts on top of the stove. They either turn out overdone and dry or underdone and pink.
I decided I would bake the chicken in the oven instead and then cook the balsamic sauce as directed in the recipe. But then I realized I’d be losing some of the flavor from the butter and the browned bits left in the bottom of the skillet, so I soldiered forth and prepared the recipe as directed.
Oh my gosh, this chicken was so good. After it had cooked on one side for the required 6 to 7 minutes, I turned it over with some tongs and there was the most beautiful, golden chicken. I cooked it another 6 minutes or so, then removed it to a plate to rest while I made the sauce.
When it came time to slice the chicken into medallions, it cut like butter. Each piece was fork-tender and there was a little crunch on the outside. It was just perfect. It was so good, in fact, that it really didn’t even need the sauce, but I made it anyway and it was equally yummy.
Next time I make this chicken – and it will be this week – I’ll probably pair it with some steamed broccoli and wild rice.

Balsamic-Garlic Chicken
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 cup chicken broth
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, chopped
11⁄2 teaspoons honey
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter with oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken and cook 6 to 7 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken and keep warm.
Add chicken broth, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and honey to the skillet and cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring to loosen particles from the bottom of the skillet. Serve the chicken with the sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.