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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chicken Breasts with a Cilantro-Butter Sauce

Chicken breasts are boring. No question they pick up some flavor when grilled, but all too often they are served dried out, with little to recommend them, except that they're lean. More of a "jumping-off point" than a flavor-destination, chicken breasts need a sauce to make them worth while. Trying many different combinations, I remembered a Thai style chicken stir fry that featured a cilantro and black pepper sauce. Looking for a way to better meld the flavors, I added caramelized onions and a pat of butter.

Chicken Breasts with a Cilantro-Butter Sauce

Serves 4.

Preparation Time 20 minutes. Cooking Time 45 minutes.


1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, washed, dried, finely chopped
2 cloves, garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, cut into thin rings
4 chicken breasts, skinless, washed, dried
½ cup homemade chicken stock
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a bowl marinate the chicken breasts in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 30 minutes.

Sauté the cilantro, onion, garlic and black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil on a medium flame, turning frequently, until lightly brown.

 Add the butter and chicken stock.  Reduce by half over a low flame and spatula the sauce into a bowl.

On a medium flame, sauté the chicken breasts in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until each side is browned with a crust. 5 minutes on each side.

The sauce and chicken breasts can be prepared ahead.

Just before serving put the cilantro-onion sauce and chicken breasts into the frying pan and simmer covered 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed, with sea salt and black pepper.

To serve, use tongs to transfer the breasts to a cutting board. Either serve the breasts whole or slice them and place on a serving plate. Using a spatula, spoon the sauce over the chicken breasts. Serve hot with cooked rice, mashed potatoes or sautéed vegetables.


Barnacle said...

Hi David,

Just made the cilantro chicken and the three of us thought it was delicious. I suspect the leftovers will be even better after the chicken sleeps in the remaining sauce.

But my question is where does the butter go? After I made the sauce as written, and was searing the chicken I realized I hadn't added the butter, simply because it wasn't in the directions -- I am a very literal cook. I did put the butter in when I added the chicken for the final simmer into the sauce.

The best parts of this recipe are the onions -- neither of us are onion fans, but these were delicious. And I loved the garlic julienned -- have never done that before!

I served it with yellow rice and the blended flavors were truly delicious.

I'll be trying the other recipes very soon.

Keep on cookin'!

Best to you and yours,

(Erik Jendresen's wife -- you met us at the writer's lab at Sundance.

David Latt said...

I'm so pleased you tried the recipe and, yes, you figured out exactly when the butter was to be added. I'll revise the recipe and correct that oversight. If you try any other recipe and have a comment or catch an omission, please drop a note. I'd appreciate that very much. All the best.