In this cooking technique video, I show you how to pound out a chicken breast. Now you may ask yourself (quite legitimately), why should I pound out a chicken breast? Well, in addition to the therapeutic benefits of taking out your frustration, several chicken dishes are actually improved by having a uniformly thick (or thin), flat piece of breast meat…which is not the natural shape of a chicken breast. This technique is your chance to mold nature into the form you need it…perhaps that’s a bit dramatic
You will probably want to use this cooking technique for dishes like chicken picatta, parmesan, marsala. It’s also useful if you want to stuff the chicken breast using a roulade, or roulade techniques – in which you roll a flat chicken breast up with the stuffing inside. Or you may use it simply because it shortens the time needed to cook the breast all the way through.
To pound out a chicken breast:
- I like to place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap that I’ve moistened with a bit of water
- You can use a meat mallet, but I generally find them to be a bit on the light side. As you see in the video, I fill an old wine bottle with water and use that as my pounder
- Starting with the thickest part of the chicken, start to pound on the chicken gently (if you go too hard you may just pulverize rather than flatten the chicken)
- Move each strike slightly; working from the center, out towards the edges of the breast. When you get to the outside, start over at the center and move in another direction
- Repeat that process until you’ve gotten the chicken to the desired thickness – generally about a ½ inch thick
- Generally, I find more pounding, with lighter hits, works better than trying to get everything done in just a few whacks – but if you’re not making progress, gradually add more pressure with each stroke
Once you’ve gotten the breast flattened out, you’re good to go. Enjoy!!