This is so exquisitely easy, and my goodness does it look impressive. I've really been wanting to update consistently, but since I am about to graduate from college that can be very difficult!. Just to reiterrate how incredibly quick and easy this dish is: I did not think I would have time to cook dinner yesterday but I had a small break around three o'clock, came home, cooked it, and went back to school within an hour. Granted.... I still have some dishes to do, shhh.
Have no fear with the deglazing process! It may seem intimidating, but as long as you work quickly and take visual cues from key words like "syrupy", you'll do fine.
And look how lovely it turns out...
Balsamic Chicken with Garlic (and one heck of a pan sauce!)
adapted from Food Network Kitchens
(I did not need to make four chicken breasts at once, so I halved this recipe and it still turned out beautifully. Such is not always the case with baking so watch out.)
10 cloves garlic
Flour, for dredging
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper (possibly the best thing you can have in your kitchen)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1 frying pan, nonstick or stainless- whatever you've got
1 baking dish, the one i used is like 8 x 8 x 1.5 I think. Pretty standard size, I will have to check
Tongs are helpful for turning chicken, but a spatula works just as well.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, smash and peel the garlic. I use a big knife like you see chef's on TV do, just make sure you have good leverage so that the garlic doesn't go flying across the room. Trust me, this happens.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Regular is best for making a pan sauce, but I used my nonstick- no big deal. Put a little flour on a plate, I used about a tablespoon and a half, but keep in mind I halved my recipe. Just eyeball about how much you think will cover the amount of chicken you are using. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and pepper. Dredge on the flour plate and shake off any excess. Add oil to the hot pan and make sure it coats evenly. Place the dredged chicken in the pan and scatter the garlic around it.
Cook the chicken about five minutes on each side until it's a lovely golden brown. As for recipes like this, where the chicken spends the last of it's cooking time in the oven, your only chance to brown your chicken and make it look pretty is at the beginning on the stovetop. Don't be afraid to get it nice and golden, this is just the outside, the rest will be taken care of in the oven. Keep an eye on the garlic though, it will cook much faster and requires more turning.
Transfer the chicken to the baking dish and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Leave the garlic in the skillet, it's still got work to do.
Pour the vinegar into the hot skillet. Use a wooden spoon to scrape down the skillet and mix up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil until the vinegar gets syrupy, about a minute or so. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Mix the flour and water together in a small bowl (this is what is called a "slurry"). Whisk the slurry into the wonderful garlic-y vinegar-y mixture and boil until the sauce thickens, about one minute. Stir in the butter at this point if you are using it. I did not originally intend to use butter, but the slurry decided it would stick together a little. I used just under a tablespoon and that small amount of greasiness really smoothed everything out. Season the sauce with salt & pepper to taste. Add any collected juices from the chicken into the sauce. Plate the chicken and pour the sauce over it with a clove or two (or three) of garlic.