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Coriander and Black Pepper Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Glaze

By: 
Lior Lev Sercarz
Coriander and Black Pepper Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Glaze
Photo: Thomas Schauer

The well-loved pairing of coriander and cumin creates an irresistible crust on chicken breasts, which finish in a tangy, sticky balsamic glaze. The fruity heat of black pepper balances the sweetness of the pan sauce.

Chicken breasts become intensely flavorful and juicy with my easy technique: start spice-rubbed chicken in a cold pan. Not only does the slow rise in heat prevent the spices from burning, it also keeps the chicken from sticking to the pan. From a technical standpoint, it’s great because you get a sous vide effect, with the meat cooking through evenly first while retaining its juice and developing a seared crust at the end. The chicken – along with its instant pan sauce – takes well to a range of flavors, from anise to green peppercorns. 

Make ahead for Shabbat or any festive meal – you can refrigerate the cooked chicken for up to 5 days.

Makes 3 to 4 servings
Ingredients: 
MAIN SPICE BLEND:
2 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds (5 grams)
3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, preferably Tellicherry (3 grams)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (3 grams)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (1 gram)
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CHICKEN:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
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Directions: 

For the main spice blend

  • Finely grind the coriander, peppercorns, and cumin together and immediately mix with the ginger. Or, mix together 2 teaspoons pre-ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon pre-ground black pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon pre-ground cumin with the ginger.

For the chicken

  1. Sprinkle the spice blend all over the chicken to evenly coat. You can cook them right away or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
  2. ​Season the spiced chicken with salt. Generously coat a large skillet or sauté pan with oil (2 to 3 tablespoons). Put the chicken in the pan in a single layer, smooth-side down, spacing the breasts apart, and set over medium heat. Cook nice and slow until the bottoms are golden, about 7 minutes. Using a spatula or tongs, carefully flip each piece.
  3. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 120°F, about 7 minutes. Flip again, reduce the heat to low, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160°F, about 6 minutes more.
  4. Drizzle the vinegar all around the chicken. It should bubble and spatter immediately. Continuously turn the chicken to glaze it in the reducing vinegar until lightly coated, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand for a few minutes, drizzle the pan glaze over the chicken, and serve. 


For Leftovers: Chicken Salad with Black Beans and Cilantro 

Traditional American-style chicken salad gets a twist with the addition of black beans and cilantro. Eat this on its own or wrap it in tortillas, sandwich it between bread, or spoon it into lettuce cups.

  • Follow the master chicken recipe above. When cool enough to handle, dice enough chicken (1 to 2 breasts) to yield 1 cup meat (save the rest for another use).  Refrigerate until cold, then mix with 1 (14- to-15-ounce) can rinsed and drained black beans, 1/4 cup mayonnaise; 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro; and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Serves 2 to 4.


Reprinted with permission from Mastering Spice: Recipes and Techniques to Transform Your Everyday Cooking: A Cookbook by Lior Lev Sercarz.

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