Oven-Roasted Chicken Medallions with Fresh Herbs: A light treat

Oven-Roasted Chicken Medallions with Fresh Herbs: A light treat

This recipe is based on a style we use at the restaurant, Donderos’ Kitchen, for roasting medallions of chicken breast with various seasonings. After they marinate, we roast them on an upper shelf in a hot oven on big pans because frying chicken in the quantities we do, ten, twenty or more pounds, is not practical.  The texture of the chicken and the seasonings that penetrate the chicken make this method of cooking desirable, even for smaller than restaurant quantities.

Platter: Marmalade Pottery, Athens GA
Fresh herbs, finely chopped and marinated with the chicken, along with lemon juice and olive oil give an Italian quality to the dish. The cornstarch, which is a Chinese cooking trick, helps seal the outside of the chicken and keep the juiciness inside.

The recipe serves six to eight people when accompanied by side dishes. Rice or a lightly dressed pasta dish are a good accompaniment.

A hearty, chilled white wine, like a Viognier or unoaked Chardonnay, goes with this, as does a light-bodied red like a Pinot Noir, Beaujolais or Chianti.

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium-large clove of garlic, through garlic press or finely minced
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly chopped mixed herbs (such as parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint, dill, basil)
1/4 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
3/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

(Prepare and marinate chicken well ahead of cooking time, even up to 8 hours, refrigerated.) 

Trim away any tough parts and excess fat from chicken breasts. Cut meat on an angle into medallion (pillow-shaped) pieces about 2-inches square and 3/4-inch thick. Place in a bowl.

Mix with all other ingredients, except garnish. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or transfer chicken and marinade to a zip-lock plastic food bag. Store cold. Mix chicken from time to time for even seasoning, or squeeze the contents of the bag to mix.

Heat oven to 450 (and temporarily turn off smoke detector). Place chicken on a large pizza pan or cookie sheet, with the pieces separated. They may need to be done in two batches. Roast one pan at a time on the highest rack in the oven for 6 minutes. Turn pieces with spatula. Roast for 5 minutes more, or until chicken is done when a piece is cut in half.

Serve hot on a platter. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

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