Crispy Garlic Butter Chicken





I have been promising this recipe forever, so now, before the fall flavors hit, I’m delivering! And believe me, this buttery garlicky juicy chicken delight is worth it in any season!

I wish I knew where this recipe came from. I wish I knew how it came into being. But all I know is that it’s rustic, it’s homey, it’s full of garlic and crispy chicken flavors, and it was my chef’s go-to dish for staff meals during one of my stints in a kitchen {in government shutdowns, even non-Lannisters must pay their debts}.

Staff meals are a wonderful thing. They’re not mandated, and there’s nothing in any code anywhere that says a restaurant has to feed their staff or their waiters before they start service. It’s just plain generosity. And my chef believed in it. It was also a good way for him to get rid of any meat or produce he wasn’t going to use in the near future so it wouldn’t have to be thrown out. Waste not.

We always looked forward to his “Italian Butter Chicken” dish. Is it Italian? We don’t know. The chef was South African. Is there butter and chicken in the dish? Oh, you bet. And garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. It makes me think of what chicken marsala could be if you used lots of beautiful browned butter instead of marsala wine. So maybe it truly is Italian. But no matter how you slice it, we had it on the table in 20 minutes, and it was f*king delicious.

So here’s cheers to a wonderful little pub and braai who hired this girl more because she was a fan of their food than because of her cooking skills, when she needed a second job to get mortgage money during the spring government shutdown back in 2011.

The government will never take care of you. But a solid kitchen and a great chef will.

Crispy Garlic Butter Chicken

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup searing flour or all purpose flour
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1 medium lemon, halved
  • parsley and oregano for garnish {optional}

How to Make It:

1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Wipe down a cast iron skillet and set it over medium heat. Heat the olive oil and butter in the pan.

2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour until lightly coated. Like so.

3. When the butter foams in the pan, add the chicken and cook 5-8 minutes, depending on the heat. If you’re using chicken breasts with skin, cook skin-side down.

When the butter foams, it looks like this.

4. Flip the chicken over and toss the garlic cloves in. Baste the chicken with some of the melted butter. Then transfer the pan into the oven. Cook 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly {internal temperature reaches 165F}.

Before…

And after!

Look at that crispy seared chicken and beautifully browned butter!

5. Return the pan to your burner or stovetop and cook 3-5 minutes more to brown the butter. Again, check your chicken’s temperature to make sure it’s above 165. Food safety, people. Don’t mess with it.

6. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of browned butter, and parsley and oregano for garnish.

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Crispy Garlic Butter Chicken

I learned this recipe while slinging plates during the government shutdown. The warmth and love in this recipe still fills my heart with joy, and I'm beyond grateful for the hospitality of the chef that not only gave me a job in hard times but taught me to love cooking.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup searing flour
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1 medium lemon halved
  • parsley + oregano for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Wipe down a cast iron skillet and set it over medium heat. Heat the olive oil and butter in the pan.

  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour until lightly coated.

  3. When the butter foams in the pan, add the chicken and cook 5-8 minutes, depending on the heat. If you’re using chicken breasts with skin, cook skin-side down.

  4. Flip the chicken over and toss the garlic cloves in. Baste the chicken with some of the melted butter. Then transfer the pan into the oven. Cook 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly {internal temperature reaches 165F}.

  5. Return the pan to your burner or stovetop and cook 3-5 minutes more to brown the butter. 

  6. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of browned butter, and parsley and oregano for garnish.

It’s absolutely delicious, and takes you no more than 20 minutes to get from the stove to the table. Zap some veggies with butter and salt in the microwave and you’ve got a complete dinner on the table in no time.

I have such good memories of that restaurant and their hospitality, and I’m hoping we can get out there and visit them again! In the meantime, I have this wonderful recipe as a souvenir.

What foods bring back the best memories for you?

POULTRY, VIRGINIA
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