Pat’s Seared Sesame Chicken
For a fun Valentine’s Day option, slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts (this works best with the tender still attached) horizontally without going the whole way across. You will want to cut towards the rounder side, and then open it like a book. Next, with a sharp knife cut a small notch at the top and trim the sides, if needed, to form the heart. After doing this with many chicken breasts in the last couple of years, I have learned that some chicken breasts naturally produce a perfect heart shape and some require a little extra help in the way of trimming. A sharp knife makes this job easier. Whether the heart is perfectly shaped or not, it will be a hit to whomever it is served!
As I was buying a bottle of wine last week, I ran into Pat, a dear family friend who said she had a delicious recipe for me. Always happy to be on the receiving end of a great recipe, I listened as she described simple yet flavorful Asian ingredients and a very quick preparation. She was actually making the recipe that very night.
I knew right away that this chicken dish had the potential to become a go-to recipe for my family and many others as well. First, Pat is an excellent cook. So, anything she passed along was bound to be fantastic. And with a syrupy glaze created by three key ingredients and an Asian flavor adored by many, what wouldn’t be to love?
This is the type of meal for which I often cook extra to guarantee leftovers, and I am so glad I did. The finished product was rated a resounding ten, and I can already envision these leftovers in Thai Bok Choy Salad, Whole Wheat Cheddar Chicken Quesadillas or simply reheated with some veggies and rice.
Update: I have now made this recipe countless times. It’s an ideal last-minute dinner, and I pair it with our favorite frozen veggies when time and/or fresh produce is lacking. Pat’s recipe calls for chicken thighs, although I sometimes use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Additionally, I added to the recipe the option of deglazing the skillet with a little chicken stock. It is not essential, but if you have it (or a little white wine) on hand, you will be able to incorporate into the sauce all those little yummy, caramelized pieces that stick to the bottom of the pan.
A chance encounter with a family friend led to this recipe…hence the name. It has become a favorite meal in our house for both its ease and flavor.
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce (gluten-free brand if necessary)
- Olive oil to lightly coat pan
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, opened flat (I sometimes use boneless, skinless breasts, pounded to an even thickness)
- 3-4 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Optional: about a third of a cup of chicken stock or white wine for deglazing the pan; chopped cilantro or sliced green onions for garnish
- Mix the honey, soy sauce, and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Lightly coat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet with olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken thighs for 5 minutes; turn and sauté the other side for 3-5 minutes more or until cooked through. (Precise time will depend upon thickness of the chicken. The last time I prepared this recipe, I used chicken breasts which took approximately 4 minutes per side.)
- Pour the reserved sauce over the chicken, and let it warm in the skillet for about 30 seconds, turning chicken to coat both sides. If desired, pour in the stock or wine and scrape up the crusty pieces sticking to the pan, incorporating them into the sauce. (There’s a lot of flavor there!)
- Remove to dinner plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds and optional garnishes…and thank Pat!