Just about everyone I know eats a fair amount of chicken.  And those boneless, skinless chicken breasts are just so easy to pull out of the freezer and cook for a simple, quick, dinner.  Unfortunatly, those boneless, skinless chicken breasts can get pretty boring.  I sure you're going to be shocked to hear me say...."But, a simple quick dinner, made with a boneless skiness chicken breast...need not be boring."  Yes that's become cliche, but it's true.  One of the nice things about chicken is that it is a great platform for all kinds of herbs and spices, and one of my favorites, is to do a Southwest Spiced Chicken.  And while it’s great on its own, I’m serving it will a simple corn, avocado, and tomato salsa that is fresh and delicious.  Hope you enjoy, and let me know how it goes!!

RECIPE FOR SOUTHWESTERN SPICED CHICKEN

Recipe Overview & Keys to Success

For this Southwestern Spiced chicken there are really only two things you need to be careful of. 

  1. First, make sure you use enough seasoning.  You can vary the mix of spices (although I think cumin is a pretty important one), and if you don’t one or two specific spices, don’t worry about it, use anything else...and the rub will still be good.  The most common mistake I see is people not using enough…about half is going to stay in the pan, so be generous with it – and don’t forget the salt and pepper – no spice makes up for proper seasoning.
  2. Second, don’t overcook the chicken.  Overcooked chicken is dry and tough…and just not good.  Your best strategy is going to be use a very hot plan, and sear the chicken quickly.  The average chicken breast "1 – 2 inches" thick will only take about 8 minutes to cook if you use high heat like I do in the video…once you pull it off the heat let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it.

Ingredients for Southwestern Spiced Chicken (for 2)

  • 2 Chicken breast; lightly pounded out
  • Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Olive oil

Southwestern Spiced Chicken

  • Lightly pound out the two chicken breasts to the desired and consistent thickness
  • Combine all the spices, salt and pepper
  • Liberally season both sides of the chicken with the rub; if you need more, make more; you can also make a large batch and store for future use
  • You can cook the chicken right away, or let the rub sit for about an hour
  • Heat a sauté pan until it’s lightly smoking
  • Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, and gently lay in the chicken breasts
  • Let the chicken sear for 4 – 5 minutes; that means don’t touch, flip or otherwise monkey with, the chicken
  • The edges of the chicken, as it cooks will turn opaque as it cook; at about the 4 minute mark; that indicates it’s time to flip
  • Check the underside of the chicken, which should be golden brown; if it’s not, your pan was not hot enough; turn up your heat and let it go another minute
  • If the chicken is golden brown, flip the chicken and cook the other side for about another 3 minutes
  • If the chicken is especially thick, you may have to cook it a few minutes longer, or put in a 400 degree oven for another 4 minutes; but chances are you don’t need to
  • Remove the chicken, wrap in foil, and allow to rest for 3 – 4 minutes

The chicken’s done, and will taste great.  The outside nice and seared, with crispy edges, and that savory spice rub.  You can serve as is, or cut into strips.  In this video, I made a delicious corn, avocado, and tomato sauce to accompany the chicken, and make a great combo

Total Time: 
45minutes
Prep Time: 
25minutes
Cook Time: 
20minutes
Main Ingredient: 
Chicken Breasts