Pan Seared Chicken Breasts With Potato Mash And Apricot Chutney


Now this is what I call comfort food. I love all the three things and make many variations of them but this one is my favorite.Dinner tonight is a complete potpourri of exotic flavours. I usually add different herbs to the marinade or grill/ pan sear the chicken without yogurt too. One can get creative with it and have many versions of the same dish. Chicken is low-fat and high protein and a perfect dish for light dinners.

Sometimes I make extra marinade and love to use it as a thick sauce that wraps the succulent chicken breasts. These fillets can be served on their own or with any condiment like the spicy sweet and tangy Apricot Chutney I made yesterday. Click on name for the recipe. It tastes yummy with the chicken.

Make sure to pound the breasts to get it grilled nicely and evenly so they don’t dry out and stay tender.

To make pan grilled/seared chicken breasts you will need

Boneless juicy chicken breasts – 2 ( clean and pounded evenly 1/2 inch thickness)

Marinade 

You can either marinade the breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and lots of herbs, garlic and salt. Place it all in a ziplock bag and rub it properly so the flavours get infused as it rests for at least  2-4 hours. I sometimes keep it even longer. Use cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary or any other herb of your choice.

For the Spiced yogurt marinade you need:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 table-spoon Olive Oil ( I used extra virgin)

2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix herbs ( powder or fresh or both)

Salt to taste

Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 6-7

Garlic pods – 5 crushed and roughly chopped

Red chilli flakes – 1/4 teaspoon or less

Lemon Zest – a little

Butter – 1 tablespoon

Prepare to grill/Sear  

Whisk together yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed peppercorns and herbs. you can add a little powdered black pepper too. (I do)

Add the pounded chicken breasts and thoroughly coat them with the marinade,  Place the chicken with the marinade in ziplock bag or Tupperware box for a few hours. I keep it overnight in the fridge too or at least four hours.

You must make cuts in the chicken to let the marinade absorb into it.

When you are about to grill/sear, take the chicken out and let it come to room temperature if it was in the fridge.

Heat a skillet or a pan. Add olive oil and a dash of butter and coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot place the chicken breasts gently and pour the marinade over the fillets.

Cover for ten minutes on medium flame and then cook uncovered on high flame. Turn them over once nice crispy golden brown from one side. To check if the chicken is evenly cooked, make a cut in the thick part. If the knife smoothly cuts it then its done.

Keep stirring the marinade in the pan and tossing it over the chicken. If you are making with the sauce keep some marinade separately and once you take out the chicken in plate, Pour the remaining marinade in the pan and cook it till nice, thick and brown. Pour the rich pan sauce on the seared breasts when you serve. Keep the pan covered on very low heat for sometime to let the juices and flavours seep in. Dont keep lifting the lid to peek. 🙂

Turn off the heat and let the chicken breasts sit for another ten minutes in the pan before laying them on the serving plate.

Make the mashed potatoes along so the full meal is ready at the same time. You can steam some greens too. or perhaps some corncob. It goes very well with the chicken dish.

The best way to know if you are doing it right it to keep your sense awake. If it smells, looks, tastes good then you are doing it right. All the brown bits that stick to the pan give the flavour. We will use them while making mashed potato.

For the Potato Mash 

4 potatoes – medium size

Salt and crushed pepper corns ( to taste)

A few herbs maybe

I love garlic so a few pods of garlic skinned and crushed

Salted Butter – 1 table-spoon ( if using salted butter go easy on table salt. I use sea salt too)

Method:

Wash and boil the potatoes till tender. Peal and mash them properly so no lumps stay.

In the same pan in which we made chicken sprinkle a little olive oil and butter. ( there will be enough fat in it already and those gorgeous flavourful brown bits sticking to the pan)

Scrap the brown bits so they release the flavour in the oil , add the crushed garlic and stir till light golden brown. Keep the heat low.

Mix salt pepper to the mashed potatoes and toss the mix into the pan.Let it sizzle for a few seconds and turn over so all the brown chicken sauce etc sticking to the pan and clean it. Turn the heat off and remove the mashed potatoes a bowl.

If vegan , you can take a different pan and use just olive oil to brown the garlic and potatoes. or infuse the oil with roasted garlic and add to the mashed potatoes. Works well either ways.

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To assemble: 

Take a serving plate and place a good helping of mashed potatoes, arrange the seared chicken breasts to one side of it and place a generous portion of Apricot chutney on top of the hot chicken. If you wish you can add some greens, boiled corncob , toasted bread with cheese etc. Or just eat the chicken and potato mash with chutney.

Hope some of you will try this recipe and let me know your views.  The chicken and mash are delicious on its own too.

These mashed potatoes do not use any milk or cream and even butter can be replaced with just olive oil to make it pure vegan. I used the garlic infused fat that was left in the pan after making grilled chicken to slightly brown the mashed potatoes and give it a unique flavour.

Bon Appetit

Recipe: Butter Chicken : The Gastronomical Delight of India


Butter Chicken can be easily called the National Dish of India as far as non vegetarian cuisine goes. Sinfully laced with oodles of butter, rich cream, thick tomato gravy and spices, this Indian gastronomical delight is extremely popular all over the country and even abroad.

Butter chicken was “invented” at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi in the 1950’s.

Tandoori chicken, cooked in famous tandoors (clay ovens embedded in earth) brought to Delhi and other cities by Hindu refugees fleeing from the Northwest Punjab after the creation of West Pakistan, is the main ingredient of this dish. Butter chicken is actually made with leftover tandoori chicken, cut into small pieces, and simmered in a rich, creamy sauce of tomatoes, butter and spices topped up with extra cream.

Being a hotelier’s wife I have some advantages and this is a personal recipe for this mouthwatering delicacy.

BUTTER CHICKEN

For the Marinade:

800 grams of chicken cut into pieces (preferably boneless)

1 tablespoon thick yogurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin and red chili powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ginger, garlic paste

Salt to taste

A few drops of edible orange-red color

For the Gravy

4 large tomatoes chopped [blanched and finely chopped]

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 cup cashew nut paste

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 green chilies finely chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh cream

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin, red chili powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

Salt and sugar to taste

Melted butter, fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

Method

Prick holes and make cuts in the chicken pieces. Mix well the ingredients for the marinade and rub into the chicken pieces. Let it marinate for a few hours, overnight if possible for best results.

Heat half the butter on medium level in a heavy-bottomed pan and put in the chicken along with the marinade. Cover and cook for about 25 minute(s) or till the chicken is fully cooked. After the liquids have evaporated, stir fry the chicken for some time in the residual fat.

For gravy

Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan and add onion and green chilies. Fry for a few minutes.

Add the ginger garlic paste mix well now add little water and red chilly, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder mix well

Add chopped tomatoes and cook well now add cashew nut paste and season with sugar, salt and cook uncovered on medium level for about 5 minutes till the puree thickens and the fat separates.

Stir in the beaten cream and reduce the heat to low.

Add the chicken Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the curry is thoroughly heated through.

Check for seasoning.

Just before serving pour melted butter over the curry. Garnish with a swirl of fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy with fresh rice or Parathas (Fried Indian flat bread)