This technique is used for cooking chicken using a 'poaching' technique (the chicken isn't suspended from the bottom of the pan), where the chicken is cooked from the outside over time using medium to low heat. If followed exactly, the chicken will be cooked to a safe temperature, ready to use in any recipe.
- Flatten the chicken breasts to an even thickness using a nonporous rolling pin, jar, mallet, or other flat clean object. This step is important—this way there are no high points in parts of the breast, and it will cook evenly.
- Season or marinate the breasts as desired. If no seasoning is desired, or if you're after a neutral chicken taste, use a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and coat the bottom evenly with a layer of olive oil or butter.
- Turn the heat down to medium, place the breasts in the pan, and cook on one side for 1 minute.
- Turn the heat down to simmer (not low), flip the breasts over to the uncooked side, and cover the pan. Let the chicken sit on that same burner for 10 minutes as it reduces in temperature over time. It is important NOT to open the lid, as the trapped heat will be needed to finish cooking the chicken.
- After 10 minutes, if you're using a gas range, turn the pilot off. If an electric range, take the chicken off of the range, shut the burner off, and put it on the counter (use a trivet to avoid damaging the countertop). In either case, let it sit for an additional 10 minutes, as it is still cooking. Again, do not open the lid.
- Once 21 minutes have elapsed, you can open the lid and check the chicken to make sure it isn't pink in the middle. If using an instant read thermometer, the center of the chicken should at least be 165 °F.
- If the chicken is not cooked after sitting, or if the lid is opened, return to the range, flip the breasts over, and continue cooking covered on medium heat until the safe temperature is reached.