4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (any size)
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves*
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Trim the breasts of all visible fat and cartilage then pat them dry with paper towels. Do not split them, or butterfly them, they need to be left thick.
In a small bowl, whisk softened butter, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and thyme to a paste.
Spread half of it on the side of the breasts that were originally attached to the bone (not the side that had skin).
In a large non-stick saute pan, over medium high heat, add the olive oil and once hot, add the breasts with the side that originally had skin face down, and the buttered side face up.
Sear for four minutes uncovered then flip. Immediately turn the heat down to just a whisper above low heat.
Spread the remaining butter on the seared side, cover and time it six minutes.
After six minutes (ten minutes total including the time to sear), remove the cover.
Continue to cook for up to ten minutes more depending on how large the breasts are. As the minutes pass, the butter will caramelize a bit in the pan so feel free to turn the breasts over once or twice to get that nice browned butter look and taste. (I even basted them a bit with a spoon by tilting the pan to get spoonfuls of butter).
To test for doneness, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the thickest breast and remove from the pan at 160 degrees F. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for five minutes where the breasts will continue to cook to a serving temperature of 165 degrees F.
Discard the pan drippings or pour over the breasts just before serving. We served ours with the drippings because butter is better. 🙂
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*Dried thyme can be substituted for other herbs like dried basil or dried oregano. This will change the final flavor profile of the finished chicken.