Who doesn't love roast chicken? It's one of my favorite things to eat mostly because I can't get enough crispy skin. But getting the skin to crisp can be one of the hardest parts of roasting a whole chicken. That's why I prefer roasting the chicken in parts, particularly the breasts, which can dry out when roasted on the whole bird. Pan-roasting is one of the easiest and most rewarding methods for cooking chicken breasts. First, they are seared skin side down in a pan on the stove-top to ensure the skin is golden brown and crisp. Then they are baked in the oven to cook the meat through. The result is exceptionally moist and succulent breasts with bronzed crispy skin. It's mouth-watering chicken even better than a steak.
To make this dish complete, I roast carrots alongside the breasts in the same pan. This way an entire meal comes together very quickly. On a recent trip to the Union Square Greenmarket I purchased baby carrots in a rainbow of colors from Windfall Farms. The natural sweetness of the baby carrots intensify by roasting. And the chicken juices in the pan help keep them tender and moist. The sweetness of the carrots matches very nicely with the flavors of the chicken. I love to eat each colored carrot one by one just to check the subtle differences in flavor. For a finishing touch and extra earthy flavor, I toss the carrots in chopped dill just after roasting. In less than 20 minutes you have a simple and succulent meal perfect for the weeknight.
Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Dilled Baby Rainbow Carrots
2 boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound baby rainbow carrots, peeled or scraped with a sharp knife
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Place breasts skin side down onto a work surface and use your palms to press them down to flatten just a bit. Using a very sharp knife, remove the white ligament from the tenderloin. Poke the skin in a few places over the fat pad. Liberally season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper.
Warm oil in a large skillet or sauté pan set over medium-high to high heat. Add chicken breasts skin side down. Do not move the breasts. Sear until fat has rendered and skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add carrots to pan, toss with chicken juices, and season with salt and pepper.
Place skillet in oven. Roast until vegetables are knife tender and the chicken juices run clear, about 15 to 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer when inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read 160 degrees F. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes tented with aluminum foil before serving. While chicken rests, remove carrots to a bowl and toss with dill. Yield: 2 servings.