Pan-Fried Chicken is the ultimate fast food. Take a chicken breast, bash it with a rolling pin, fry it in a little butter. Dinner in 10 minutes.
This is what I cook when I really don't want to be bothered and I have chicken breasts in the fridge. Add some salad and mayonnaise (preferably homemade) for a 10-minute pan-fried chicken dinner.
If your chicken breasts are in the freezer, just defrost them carefully in the microwave. If they get a little cooked, oh well! If your chicken breasts are not quite defrosted, you can still bash them which seems to aid the defrosting process.
Preparing the pan-fried chicken has the rather satisfying side-effect of allowing you to beat the hell out of something inanimate when you're feeling fed-up and frustrated. In fact, I usually call this recipe Battered Chicken. I find that combining the bashing with reciting the name of the person who is making me mad is very therapeutic. (Another good recipe for this is Polish Cake, where you have to crush biscuits with a rolling pin. Noisier, but a little less gratifying.)
The thing to remember is that you need to get the chicken very thin to cook quickly. If it starts to disintegrate, stop bashing, but that is quite a good point to get to. Occasionally I have delegated this job to my husband, but he clearly doesn't have my levels of pent-up aggression, as the chicken is always a bit too thick.
The ideal tool for the job is a meat hammer, but I have to confess that I only bought one a couple of years ago. I made pan-fried chicken for my mother at her house and couldn't find the rolling pin, but I did discover her meat hammer and found it is actually worth having.
I like kitchen gadgets, but only if I think they're going to be useful to me and won't sit in the cupboard unused. I know I won't use a pasta maker, but I do use my ice cream maker, for example. I have only recently been converted to the advantages of an apple corer (thanks to my daughter), and a micro-plane grater. Both of these get a lot of use and I wonder why I didn't buy them years ago.
So choose your weapon, find your chicken, bash it, cook it and enjoy some good, real fast food.
If you like this...
...Why don't you try:
10 Minute Pan-fried Chicken
- 1 chicken breast
- Butter for frying
- Salt and pepper
- Pat the chicken with a kitchen paper to dry it
- Place the chicken breast between layers of clingfilm, allowing room to expand
- Beat the chicken with your rolling pin or meat hammer until it is very thin. The thinner it is the faster it will cook
- Don't worry if it starts to come apart, but do stop at that point
- Put the butter in the frying pan
- Heat the pan over a medium-high heat until the butter starts to sizzle
- Add the chicken breast(s) and season with salt and pepper
- Fry for 3-4 minutes
- Turn the chicken over, season again, and fry for another 3-4 minutes
- The chicken is ready when both sides are golden
- Serve with salad and mayonnaise.
Everyday Cooks tips:
- Use more than one frying pan if you don't have one large enough for all your chicken
- Serve with a salad to make a really quick meal.