Horrible, Rubbery Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts

I usually buy the free range chicken, it is of much better in quality, more firm.

The other day, DH bought a thick piece of turkey breast for the cat (about 10€/kg), it was all soft…with water oozing out. Didn’t like the touch of it. (But cat was happy, unfortunately this is better than the ingredient of cat biscuit).

It’s about the only thing I reckon turkey is good for.

That said, it’s the usual British Christmas Day lunch so I get to eat it (reluctantly) once a year. And it’s our turn to host the family lunch so we placed the order for the bird yesterday. Eye-wateringly expensive for free-range and more so for organic. Priced at £10 per kilo, free range, we’ll be paying about £70.

Same here, for Christmas Lunch, one of the French tradition is chestnut stuffed bird (can be also a fish or a wild game meat), but since we complained the turkey meat was too dry, my MIL now opt for a capon.

I’d love to have a capon! But such is tradition…

We also have a chestnut stuffing, although we bake it separately from the bird rather than actually stuffing it. It’s very popular with the family - so much so that even when its the turn of others to host, I have to make the stuffing for them.

I’ve been meaning to do a capon some year, but it seems like there’s always a guest or two that simply MUST have turkey. I don’t mind cooking it once a year but even that is too frequent for me to eat it! I nibble the skin and fill up on sides.

The the definition of free range in the US is still dubious at best.

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In the UK, it’s defined, regulated and inspected. Selling a product described as free range that doesnt meet the specificiation is an offence.

May not be the prep you’re after, but poaching produces the tenderest, moistest chicken breast. I’ve seen cooking classes where the point is made that low heat is better for this protein.
Or marinate, as in Chicken Marbella.


Noooooooo are you insinuating you can’t trust the FDA?

Not even a little bit :wink:

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Where’d you get the chicken from? I’ve found the big commercial chickens available at grocery stores are usually tougher than other birds. I like the chicken from Sprouts – it’s a good quality for the price, and never frozen.

Also, for a 1/2" cutlet, I probably would have cooked it a touch longer. I’m wondering if you under cooked it, so it was still a touch chewy/rubbery.

Did you not add any sauce/seasoning besides salt and pepper?

Sorry, been away for Thanksgiving.

I got the chicken from some local Key Food, I think. I really don’t think that was the problem. The problem was the way I cooked 'em. I salted, peppered & floured them.

And if anything I overcooked.

After I got the cooking done I deglazed the pan w/wine & chicken broth & seared the cutlets in them for 30 secs each side.


  1. Use a toothpick or skewer to hold the shape after tucking the narrow end under, so that the thickness is even, oil the exterior, then saute on gentle heat.
  2. Flatten with a mallet into a thin paillard.
  3. Butterfly the thick section to get a similar thickness throughout.
  4. Use a jaccard.

With 2 or 3, you can also soak the raw, treated piece for 15-20 minutes in a solution of a tsp baking soda to 4 oz water. Then rinse and pat dry before cooking. This tenderizes the meat. Great prep for cubed chicken, beef, or pork for stirfrying.

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Won’t the salty taste of the baking soda cling to the finished product?

Not in the least. I’ve done it many times and since I use no added salt in most of my cooking, I am quite put off by salty foods. Some of the ATK chicken recipes have you rub whole chickens with baking soda without rinsing it off.

Do you recommend any brand of meat mallet?

I see certain chefs used heavy flat based pan.

Fantastic idea. I have an 8" cast iron that would be ideal.

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I have a couple of chicken breasts that are waiting for this treatment & I will let you know how it turns out. I already tried it on a top round & it worked very well. Thank you!

I am also going to change my pan:

Glad you tried it! I was skeptical at first, too.