There is so little fat in a boneless skinless chicken breast that it's hard to cook it without the meat ending up dry or just plain tasteless. With this method, we take advantage of the steady, all-surrounding heat of the oven, but just before putting the breasts in to bake, we cover them with a piece of parchment paper. The paper acts almost like the chicken's missing skin, protecting the chicken and preventing it from drying out.
Think of this method as a cross between braising and roasting. The chicken bastes in its own juices and the result is tender, juicy chicken breasts that are succulent and never dry.
Heat the oven to 400Â°F and prepare the pan: Heat the oven to 400Â°F with a rack in the middle position. Rub the pan and one side of the parchment paper with butter or olive oil; this prevents the chicken from sticking.
Prepare the chicken: Pat the chicken dry and rub with a little butter or olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other favorite seasonings.
Transfer to the baking dish: Place the chicken breasts in the baking dish, spaced slightly apart. You can also tuck herbs or lemon wedges around the chicken for extra flavor.
Cover with the parchment: Lay the parchment, butter-side down, over the chicken. Tuck the edges into the pan and press the parchment down so that it's snug around the chicken. The chicken breasts should be completely covered with the parchment.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes: Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is completely opaque all the way through and registers 165Â°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Serve: Serve the chicken immediately, or let it cool and refrigerate for up to a week.
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