Pan searing chicken technique questions

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by the snare, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. the snare

    the snare

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    Here is a video I have of someone using a pan searing chicken techique. I just had a few questions, as I may have to do this a little differently, because I don't have everything shown in the video.



    So, I was wondering........

    1. Can I do this WITHOUT a cover, will it work the same way?

    2. Do I need to use a cast iron pan?

    3. Can I cook the breasts in the pan after marinading them? Previously I've cooked two breasts in a pan, after I marinaded both of them, but it was done a little differently, we used a meat tenderizer to flatten them out, and I wiped some of the marinade off as not to make a mess in the pan. It still did kind of make a mess, it was hard to clean off.

    We have a gas grill, but the reason I am not using it is because when I move out on my own again, it will probably be a small apartment and I won't have anywhere to put a gas grill, if it doesn't have an outdoor porch/yard, etc.

    I'm not sure what the full technique was since someone else finished cleaning the pan. I thought after the two breasts had been in the marinade for a full day that it would soak into the chicken and wiping off the marinade on the surface wouldn't effect the taste, but it diminish it a good deal.

    4. Someone in the comments mentions something about not being able to use a cast iron pan on a glass electric stove. Unfortunately I can't give you the exact stove we have, because it doesn't have a model/serial number on the front, but it's one just like this one, pretty much looks the same

    http://www.searsoutlet.com/d/produc...588969&ci_sku=13687693&sid=IDx20110411x000008

    Why couldn't you use a cast iron pan?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    That was more than a tablespoon of oil. 

    Covering will cook them faster. Also it will make them steam more than sear in the long run with the retained and condensed moisture. She'd have had a darker crustier surface if she hadn't covered them.  Notice that at the end, the dark surface has lightened up and run off somewhat from the steam. 

    Also, she overloaded the pan.

    Marinades do tend to make more of a mess in the pan. Be sure to blot them dry before cooking them in a pan. Marinades only penetrate about 1/4" into the surface of the meat. They never produce as much flavor as commonly believed imho. If she had cut these breasts into paillards, or pounded them thin, then a marination would be  well suited. They also cook VERY quickly when cut/pounded this way. 2-3 minutes a side.

    Cast iron pans tend to be rough on the bottom. The motion in cooking will scratch up your glass.   You can use a carbon steel pan in much the same way as cast iron and it will have a smoother finished bottom, better for that sort of stove. 
     
  3. desired

    desired

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    cool, i will try to buy a iron cast pan too. i really wanted one for a long long time.

    i think i know of a place to get it from.

    thanks for the recipe
     
  4. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    I use non-stick pans all the time to pan sear meat. I also use aluminum, depending on the meat. The surface affects the amount of oil you have to use. I've found with an aluminum pan, I have to use more oil and keep the meat moving until the bottom starts to cook. Like Phatch said too, how much food you have in the pan greatly affects the sear. The reason they use cast iron is because cast iron retains it's heat a lot better. If you don't overload the pan, or if you use a smaller pan on a bigger burner, that's not much of a problem.

     
  5. french fries

    french fries

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    While you can sear meat in a non-stick, it's far from being the best tool for the job, and you won't get the same results. I agree 100% with phatch on that one: carbon steel or cast iron are the best tools for the job. Stainless steel comes next, and non-stick comes last in my experience. 

    In fact I clicked your photograph to have a closer look at your steak and that's not what I'd call a nice sear. It looks more like what was in contact with the pan is now black and pretty much burnt. Too much black on that steak for my taste. 
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  6. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    The color is from the marinade, made of Worcestershire, soy and balsamic vinegar. It's not burnt at all, which is tricky business when you have a good balsamic vinegar in the marinade. Scorched balsamic tastes terrible. I used a marinated meat pic to make a point since the OP was having problems with a marinated chicken breast. I don't remember if I used a non-stick for that one at all, but I have no problem with non-stick pans and searing. It's just a matter of heat and oil management.
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    That's the opposite of what I do when using aluminum.  I place the meat in the pan with oil, and it sticks.  But I don't try to move it around because it upsets the searing process.  Once the pan releases the protein it is then seared and ready to be turned.  In fact I think of this sticking as the main factor to a good sear.  I find it upsetting when I see people poking meat in a pan and on a grill, moving it around and such.  I think meat should be left alone.

    When I cook chicken breasts I more or less cook them this way, though I never crowd the pan like this.  That's a lot of chicken breasts in there lol.  But I use non-stick or aluminum instead.  I don't care for too much sear on a chicken breast so nonstick works great - a very hard sear makes for very hard chicken imo.  If you want a really good sear you have to go with cast iron or aluminum.  I too cover it once I turn it on the other side, as it retains the moisture.  This is the ONLY piece of meat I do this with, chicken breast is nice and I eat a lot of them, but the lack of fat and tendency to dry out makes it impossible to eat if it's overcooked or dry.  Even the juiciest chicken breast doesn't hold a candle to dark meat in tems of juicyness.

    What I don't do is rest it in the pan.  I don't understand why she does that, maybe she turns the heat off while the chicken is still raw on the inside and let's it continue cooking in the pan, but I don't consider that resting.  Leaving it in the pan makes it continue cooking.  I cook the chicken breast until it is slightly blushed in the center and let it rest for a few minutes.  The pink is all gone by the time I cut into it.  I don't marinate chicken breast, I don't see a point to it.  You can make a nice little sauce out of the drippings in the pan by adding a touch of vermouth, a little bit of dijon, and a bit of stock and then straining.  
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Good advice from KK. Let the meat sit until it releases, rest out of the pan.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  9. mike9

    mike9

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    Just make sure your protein is at room temp before searing - there will be less of a temperature drop and a better finished product. 
     
  10. the snare

    the snare

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    I hope with medium heat, the oil doesn't start sizzling until I put the chicken in. I'm guessing this is what searing is supposed to do. At medium heat, the oil shouldn't react until you put the chicken in.

    Is there any way to tell visually- the difference between different metal pans, aluminum and stainless steel for example. They look the same gray/silverish color (I know steel is tougher/more durable than aluminum, but I don't want to do a test when I hit each one and possibly put a dent in the aluminum to find out!) Carbon steel? Isn't all steel carbon steel? That's what steel is after all, a metal alloy of carbon and iron, only stainless steel is also rust-proof/resistant.
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, all steel has carbon. But carbon steel is generally used to describe the non-stainless varieties for cookware and knives.
     
  12. the snare

    the snare

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    So, are they also rust/waterproof? (I hope!)
     
  13. mike9

    mike9

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    Carbon steel pans are not rust proof - they require seasoning and some maintenance.  Stainless is carbon with chromium added for rust resistance.   
     
  14. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Many, many years ago when I was in the business I had a carbon steel chef's knife.  That thing would rust if you looked at it sideways, but it could take and hold an incredible edge!  Wish I still had it.  Oh well.

    mjb.
     
  15. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    They do all shine differently, at least to my eye. Aluminum tends to be grayer and usually less shiny. Stainless clad pans are usually more bright silver, reflective/shiny. You can also get a good hint by the weight of the pan between an aluminum pan and a clad stainless pan. 

    Carbon steel will usually have a coating to prevent rust if new, is usually gray and not shiny. It's heavier than the clad stainless pans and much heavier than aluminum. 

    If it's been used and seasoned, it's dark gray to black. It will have a smoother finish that a cast iron pan and is usually a little thinner gauge metal than the casting of the iron. 
     
  16. the snare

    the snare

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    But Stainless is not a form of carbon steel pan. Carbon steel pan is steel with a higher carbon content and no chromium
     
  17. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Which is what he already said. What are you trying to get at?