Seared & Braised Breasts of Chicken

Spread the love

This following post is actually about a non-visit during my recent stay in New York. Despite my having a full week to sight-see, explore, eat & drink and meet folks along the way – there just wasn’t enough time to patronize all the Greek restaurants of note.

Upon my return from New York, I’ve even received invites to “check out” some other noted Greek eateries in the NYC scene. Is New York City in my 2009 plans? We’ll see.

Some of you might recall that I visited New York’s famous The Strand bookstore and I was able to buy some rare and cheap cookbooks there. One such book was The Periyali Cookbook.

Periyali is a Greek restaurant in the Grammercy/Flatiron district of Manhattan and it’s been around since 1988…a veteran by any restaurant’s standards!

The next best thing to visiting a restaurant is buying the book, no? With over 300 pages and tons of recipes in between, the cookbook offers up an array of Greek dishes that touch upon all the food categories and it makes Greek food approachable for even some you just discovering what a wonderful cuisine we have.

Today’s dish is one of those “I want a classy meal, it’s a weeknight, I’m tired from work and I want that restaurant-type of dish served to me” kind of meal.

The cookbook’s title for this dish is “Seared & Braised Breast of Chicken With Leeks and Lemon Cream Sauce”. I had no leeks and even if I did, the leeks would be out of proportion with the chicken breasts.

I opted to sear some scallions but in hindsight, spears of asparagus would also work very well here and I’ll be on the lookout for some the next time this dish is on my mind.

Another sub I made was to omit the lemon juice and use some of my flourishing lemon thyme in my indoor herb garden. The recipe has no herbage and although tarragon would have worked well here, thyme is a Greek herb and the lemon thyme gave the dish that fresh citrus flavour and the bottom-end woodsy falvour that only thyme can give.

Finally, I halved the wine, stock & cream amounts and my hunch was right…there was just enough sauce for 4 plates.

Seared & Braised Breasts of Chicken
(serves 4)

4 bunches of scallions, greens trimmed and reserved
1 cup of chicken/vegetable broth

2 Tbsp. of lemon thyme

(may sub. some lemon juice w/ thyme)

1 bay leaf

4 chicken breasts, pounded into paillards

flour for dredging

1/4 cup olive oil for frying

1/ 2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

thyme for garnish

  1. Either pound out your chicken breasts into thin paillards or if you have 2 thick chicken breasts, carefully cut the breast into 2 thin chicken breasts (making 4). Rinse and pat-dry your chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper and dredge in all-purpose flour.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet orver medium heat, add the white part of the scallions and sear on both sides until a nut-brown colour has formed. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate with absorbant paper.
  3. Now sear and brown your chicken breasts in the same oil until golden brown (1 1/2 -2 mins.) on both sides and reserve.
  4. Discard the oil and place your skillet back on medium heat and add the wine and and simmer for 1-2 minutes while scraping up the brown bits.. Now add your cream, stock, bay leaf and lemon thyme and and gently bring to a boil. Carefully add your chicken breasts back into the skillet and simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until your sauce has thickenend enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add the reserved green parts of the scallions and mix into the sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and discard the bay leaf.
  5. Spoon some cream sauce onto the bottom of each plate and then lay a row of scallions on top, followed by the crowning chicken breast. Garnish with some lemon thyme and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Serve with some rice pilaf.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author. © 2007-2008 Peter Minakis

© 2008 – 2009,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

56 Comments for “Seared & Braised Breasts of Chicken”

Bellini Valli


This is perfect for a weekday meal but special enough for company. It sounds like an idea packed cookbook!!

Joan Nova


I remember when Periyali opened — I think it was the first opportunity for New Yorkers to learn that there was more to Greek food than gigantic portions of mousaka and souvlaki that was offered by all the Greek diners that filled the suburbs. There was a delicate cuisine and sublime sophistication. And it’s amazing how the cuisine took hold and how many fine Greek restaurants have opened since then, particularly in the last 5 or 6 years. Is “Kalofagas South” next?

Stacey Snacks


Had no idea Peryali had a cookbook!
Haven’t been there in years.
That chicken dish is a beautiful weeknt meal, and the addition of cream makes it special! like you!



Beautiful dish, and yes, perfect for those quick weeknight-but still pretty to look at-and delicious meals.



oh peter you do make my mouth water! this looks tender and so flavorful!

wishing you and your family a great year ahead!



Is it bad to be hungry for dinner at 9:45AM? I had the chicken out to defrost for another dish for dinner, but I think I might try this instead….

Mediterranean kiwi


nice work with chicken breasts – i love the use of leeks and spring onions in most of my dishes too

The Short (dis)Order Cook


Simple and yummy. This is one of those meals that Sir Pickypants and I would both love.

I certainly hope there is a 2009 return to NY in the works.



The additions and changes you made to the recipe sounds great and I can imagine that creamy sauce would be heavenly.



Lovely and simple, but not only does it look elegant but I can just imagine how delicious this dish is. I love the simplicity of the sauce as it always compliments chicken nicely.



Hi Peter, after a beautiful week in the “village” I am back again:)
I hope you enjoyed your christmas holidays too!!
You give us a very interesting and tasty chicken dish and also so nice to look !!
My best wishes for the New Year!!

Bren Herrera


im really enjoying all of your recounts of NYC! It’s my absolute favorite place in the world! I was supposed to go this past weekend but I got sick with the flu :(
Great meal you have here! And penne at the bottom! How smart! Niiiiice!



Can’t go wrong with that! It looks wonderful, and a good opportunity to break out the white wine.
I think you will be back to NYC next summer, you had so much fun.
ps, you don’t have to try to pronounce the Y. Nawh-tawh-shawh.



Just had to say hi. This is the second time I’ve run across you – not here but in someone’s blog under comments. I find it interesting that you live in Toronto. I lived in Canada almost 30 years – some of the time in Toronto too. Your work in the kitchen is totally amazing! They do say men make the best cooks!



Beautifully done. Do you think using chicken thighs or even drumsticks would work in this recipe?

Salt N Turmeric


I have been pretty lazy in the kitchen lately. Do you think you could come and cook for me please? lol.

Jen of A2eatwrite


This looks absolutely delicious, Peter. I’m just so in the mood for creamy chicken dishes right now. In fact, I’m making chicken pot pies tonight based on a recipe of Nigella Lawson’s.



I love The Strand!
Lemon thyme is so tasty and hard for me to find around these parts unless I take a drive to Whole Foods.
Happy New Year Peter!



Please, oh, please feed me! This looks so amazing. I love the searing and braising technique you describe. Is it kind of a distant cousin to a chicken scallopini preparation? YUM! Do tell more about your indoor herb garden! What are you growing?

Proud Italian Cook


Beautifully plated with the scallions. This reminds me of a fantastic chicken and champagne sauce I had once, I still dream about it! Have a happy and healthy New Year Peter, looking forward to 2009 with you and Kalofagas!!



After all the richness of the holidays, I’ve been all too happy to return to the clean simplicity of chicken breasts. Thought this is far from simple. :)



I imagine the lemon thyme was a perfect sub/add.

I can’t imagine how you make one of my not so favorite meats look so damn good. Nice.

Katherine Aucoin


Peter this looks fabulous. I am bookmarking this and am giving this a try this weekend. It’s simple and elegant.



Awesome looking meal, Peter.

I haven’t done anything with chicken breasts in such a long time… this just might jostle me out of my malaise.

Here’s hoping that 2009 brings forth all sorts of great things, including more good eating!!



finally–something i can replicate and devour. i somehow feel like less of a failure. :)
tis gorgeous, peter–bravo.



This chicken looks beautiful! I love lemon sauce but somehow rarely think of it. The substitution of lemon thyme instead is pure genius. Thanks for the inspiration!



Like Stacey, I had no idea Peryali had a cookbook. That is a favorite haunt of my wife and I. I’ll have to hunt that down… could always use an excuse to go to Strand.

This dish looks fabulous. And I do hope you come back to the big apple in 2009. :)



Dear Peter absolutely nice and tasty!!! and…. tata taaan!! I want to a whish a big and warm greetings of a New Year to my lovely friend, Peter, really I hope you have a wonderful next year!!! huggsss!!!!your friend Gloria



Dear Peter absolutely nice and tasty!!! and…. tata taaan!! I want to a whish a big and warm greetings of a New Year to my lovely friend, Peter, really I hope you have a wonderful next year!!! huggsss!!!!your friend Gloria



Peter – do you EVER take a break, man? Jeez.

Keep it up in 2009. No, forget that. I want to see you double your output. ;-)

Seriously, have a great New Year, and I look forward to all your posts. However many thousands there may be of them.

We Are Never Full


yum! this looks like a perfect sunday night dinner! HAPPY 2009, Peter!!! We have lots of posts to catch up on. Good steal at the strand!