Reverse-Searing and 12 Minute Chicken Class


Had a wonderful time with last week’s private class.

5 wonderful ladies joined me in the kitchen of an old friend of mine to cover some basic techniques, a few time saving cooking tricks, and some of my favorite stove-top and grill-top recipes.

Started out with some knife skills instruction, followed by getting our mise-en-place ready for the various dishes we were about to prepare.



Next we went, step-by-step through my “12 minute microwave chicken breast.” This is one of my favorite lessons as it invariably begins with skepticism and raised-eyebrows, and ends with “Ohhs” and “Ahhs”… I love that! (Recipe below…)

We cooked up a half-dozen chicken breasts for the two recipes we had planned.

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For the first dish, we discussed what a reverse-sear is, and then demonstrated on the grill along with a few dips in one of my very favorite condiments, Thai sweet chili sauce, just long enough to thicken the glaze and get a touch of char on our chicken.



We served with up with a nice fresh tossed salad, and a little sticky rice. While the ladies enjoyed this dish, we went on to our second chicken dish, and our second and third lessons: how to make a simple homemade marinara, and the secrets of perfect pasta.

Then, it was time to bring out the big guns…time to learn how simple it can be to grill up a perfect flank steak (my personal favorite cut), as wells as lots of tips and tricks for cooking over fire.


15027589_10157809827610445_5507541159328415296_n-copyLastly we discussed how important it is to rest a piece of meat (and why), as well as exactly how the way you cut it can make or ruin the final dish.

A little wine, a lot of laughs, and some great food. It doesn’t get any better than that!

We’ve already planned another class in January where we’ll learn the secrets of a great steakhouse, a fancy, but super-simple chocolate-bomb of a French dessert, and finally, I’ll pick up the gauntlet to prove that I can make a Brussels’s sprouts dish that everyone in the room will love.

Thank you, Christina V., for making this happen!

If you enjoyed this article, and would like to learn any of these tips, techniques, and recipes, drop me a note and let’s plan a class!

Let’s Cook!

~Chef Perry

12 Minute Microwave Chicken
Excerpt from: The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen.”

BookCoverPreview.doI love doing this recipe in my cooking classes, just for the look on my students faces when I tell them we’re going to make “microwave chicken.” But really, we’re making poached chicken, we’re just using the microwave as the heat source. This is a great technique to shave some time off dinner prep, by multitasking while the chicken cooks.

These are also a great first step for reverse-seared chicken on the grill (more on the in the BBQ & Grilling chapter)

Place the chicken breasts in a microwave safe baking dish, and pour the broth over the top, bringing the liquid at least ½ way up the side of the meat.

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Do NOT cover the meat with liquid…we’re not boiling, we’re poaching. Seal the dish with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for four minutes.

Carefully lift plastic wrap (liquid will be hot, so open from the far side, so the steam escapes away from your face) and flip each chicken breast, reseal, and microwave another four minutes.

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Then, leave the whole thing in the microwave (off) for a final four minutes. This creates an amazingly juicy, tender, and flavor-packed piece of chicken that you can use in a wide variety of dishes, or just eat as is.

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NOTE, if you’re using some of those truly frightening “Dolly Parton” chicken breasts they’re growing downstream from the nuke plants nowadays, you might need to add a minute to each step.

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If you’re serving it straight up, browning the outside very quickly in hot butter is a visually appealing, but not absolutely necessary step, though it will add a nice caramelized flavor to the chicken. If you decide to add this step, remember…wet meat won’t brown…so pat it dry on both sides before placing it in the hot butter.

After browning, let it rest again, before slicing across the grain.

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*What spices you add to the stock determine the flavor profile of the finished dish. Going for Asian? Try a little soy sauce, rock sugar, and ginger.

Italian?  Some basil, oregano, garlic, and a little tomato paste thinned in water.

The options are endless. Take a look in the spices chapter for the best spice combinations from around the world. My favorite is just to poach them in some homemade chicken stock, brown in butter, and serve over a bacon-mushroom carbonara.


Oh, and before you pour out that beautiful leftover stock, I have three words for you…

Best. Rice. Ever.

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You’re welcome.

Oh, and for my Pinterest Pals…

Miracle Chicken Meme

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Pho TNT – Downtown Portland, OR


Phone: (503) 241-5085
120 SW Ankeny St
Portland, Oregon 97204
(Just West of the Skidmore Fountain)

Open everyday, 11am – 6pm.

Pho TNT PortlandWhat I’ve tried:
Beef Pho Bo
Shrimp Salad Rolls
Grilled Pork with Noodles
Vietnamese Iced Coffee

What I liked best: Pho Bo

Rating: 5/5 Stars

One line review: “Best Pho I’ve had, in Portland or anywhere else!”

Pho TNT is located on the first floor of the building by the Ankeny Arcade where the Saturday Market is held every weekend. In fact, we stumbled in to escape the deluge last Saturday, and were certainly happy we did.

Without waxing too poetic, let me just say that this was, hands down, the best bowl of pho bo I’ve ever eaten and, as one of my all-time favorite foods…I’ve eaten a lot of it! Fantastic pho is all about the broth, and that’s where so many pho joints here in the states fall short, with the broth often tasting like little more than a can of warmed beef broth.

At Pho TNT, the broth was absolutely amazing. I could have happily slurped down bowl after bowl of the stuff with nothing in it, it’s that good. You can tell there’s some real work behind it, rich and deep in a way that can’t be faked, seasoned exotically with real beef-marrow stock, charred onions, and a pleasantly not-overwhelming note of star anise (another problem often found with other local purveyors.)

Pho TNT Portland

10155614_746835932017909_9088913254326434451_nThe “large” for $8 is huge, with plenty of brisket and beef tendon (my favorites) but you can “choose your own adventure” here, with nearly a dozen ingredient choices making up an huge variety of options. Pho comes with all of the usual suspects for garnish, and there’s chili paste and Sriracha on each table.

The shrimp salad rolls where delicious (and also quite large) and the peanut sauce was perfectly respectable. The Vietnamese iced coffee will take the enamel off your teeth…in a good way, and the grilled pork was tasty, if a little firm (which again, is traditional).

My six-year-old daughter, a wizened gastronome, took one taste of my pho and declared, “This place is like paradise!”

The atmosphere is a little rugged, but I like that…reminiscent of a hawker stall on the streets of Hanoi. In fact, that’s exactly what it feels like, and the quality of the food is just as authentic.

Pho TNT PortlandEverything is made fresh, and we were told that all ingredients are sourced from local grocery stores. When I tried to order a banh-mi sandwich, the owner pointed to a bakery up the street and told me that had no sandwiches today because the bakery was closed this weekend to everything but Easter business.

One warning…on market days, a concert tent is set up directly across from the entrance of Pho TNT, and the quality of the music blasting from the speakers is…well…open to interpretation.

Fun, delicious, a little clunky, a lot quirky, the whole experience screams “Portland.”

I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like on a quiet weekday afternoon.

Either way, without question, a solid five stars.

~ Chef Perry

Pho TNT Portland

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