Baked chicken has a habit of being really boring and bland. I get it. I don’t like boring chicken, either. Usually baked chicken breasts are dry, overcooked, and flavorless. Ughh. Let’s flip the switch on baked chicken and make this healthy and easy meal actually tasty and satisfying.
Here’s the Recipe:
Perfect Baked Chicken & Marinade
3 tblsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried sage
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 large chicken breasts or 4 small chicken breasts
all purpose flour, approximately one cup
butter, approximately 2-3 tbsp
Mix all ingredients of marinade together and set aside.
If using two large chicken breasts, use a sharp knife to cut the breasts in half length-wise into fairly even halves (as if you were butterflying them, only cut all the way through). If you don’t enjoy touching raw meat, use a kitchen glove for this task. No need to split them if you are using smaller breasts, just proceed to the next step.
Take the chicken breasts and lay them all flat on a large cutting board or sheet of parchment paper. Cover the top of the chicken with plastic wrap or parchment paper. While not strictly necessary, covering them greatly reduces mess. Using a cast iron skillet (or heavy rolling pin or meat pounder), beat the chicken until it’s all a fairly uniform thickness. This helps the chicken to cook more evenly and more quickly, which helps tremendously with preventing dry chicken breasts.
Place the chicken into a plastic bag or bowl with a lid and cover with the marinade. Shake or stir until all the chicken is evenly coated. Place in a refrigerator and allow to marinade for 30 minutes – two hours.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Dip chicken in flour to get a light coating on each side.
Melt butter in a cast iron or copper skillet over medium heat (up to medium-high if using cast iron). Add the chicken breasts two at a time — don’t crowd them, they need elbow room.
We are only browning the chicken in this step, so you want a nice sizzle when you place them in the skillet. It is very important that you have patience with this step. Don’t move the chicken until it naturally releases from the skillet. If the chicken feels as though it has released, gently pick up a corner and take a peak to be sure it has browned. If it has browned, carefully flip to brown the other side. If the skillet gets dry, add more butter. You will probably lose a little bit of coating in this step, but it won’t affect the end result.
Whatever you do, don’t use a stainless steel skillet or your chicken will stick horribly.
Once all the chicken is browned, place in a baking dish. I like adding a sauce such as my browned mushrooms in garlic cream sauce to to the chicken to bake in, but this is not strictly necessary if you want to keep them plain.
Bake for 20 minutes and check for doneness. 20 minutes may seem short, but remember we beat the chicken to an even thinness and then browned them in the skillet, so baking will not take as long as you may be used to cooking those large, round chicken breasts straight out of the ‘fridge.
Serve with desired sauces and sides, or slice and serve over salad or rice. This chicken is tender and delicious!