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Old 01-15-2013, 03:52 PM   #1
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Don't laugh, but I need help cooking thin sliced chicken on stove

Okay, let me start off with a thank you in advance. First off, my wife and I have been trying to cook thin sliced chicken breast from Tyson in a pan on the stove for almost 2 months now and we just can't get it right.

No, I'm not joking lol. We have looked online and googled and no matter what we do they either turn out way overcooked because of a fear of undercooking them or they end up with some pink in it.

It's is killing us as Chicken on the stove is fast and easy, but we feel like we're about to give up. My wife and I suck at cooking btw and pretty much are noobs.
We're trying to get better at it so we can live a low carb lifestyle compared to just doing a diet for a while!

So I'm going to post what we've been doing and any help from the community will be grateful. I'm pretty embarrassed by having to ask this, i know i shouldn't be, but i am as how hard can it be to cook chicken, but if anyone can help me I know you all can!

Here we go:

The Chicken: Thin sliced trimmed and ready Chicken Breast from Tyson. The net weight is 17.60 oz and there are 4 in a package.

Prep: we thaw them out in the fridge, rinse them and than pound them a little more using a meat pounder. Since I'm on Atkins we don't flour them or anything. We just season with some salt and pepper. The one time we tried to season with some Mrs Dash the chicken ended up being burned all over. Something about spices burning when put in olive oil.

Cooking: We grab a pan and coat the bottom of the entire pan with 100% extra virgin olive oil in the pan and we turn the stove on 5.

our stove top is gas based and our knobs to control the heat go from (Lo, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 Hi) most google searches say medium heat so we assume 5 is medium. So we turn the knob to 5 and We wait for the oil to heat up. We test this by flicking a piece of water in it to see if it starts popping.

When the oil is ready we drop the two pieces of chicken in the olive oil and cook on number 5( on our heat control knob) for 5 minutes. We than cook the other side for 5 minutes as well. We than pull them out of the Pan and let them sit.

When they cool off we tear into them and sure enough parts of it are cooked, but other parts of the chicken have pink in them still.

So the next time we tried cooking we tried 6 minutes each side and it ended up way too tough. The time after that we tried a heat of 4 with 6 minutes each side and it still ended up with some pink. Another time we tried heat of 4 with 5 minutes one side and 4 the other and still had some pink.

We just can't ever get this right and would love some feedback from all of you step by step if possible, if not just any feedback you can give us. for example, how long you cook it on each side, what number heat do you use if you have a stove like us. How do "you" get the perfect piece of pan cooked thin sliced chicken breast when you cook it at home?

Once again, thank you for any help in advance. Ill be keeping an eye on this post to answer any questions you may have to help assist me in getting this right. I don't want to give up!

Thanks
Josh

Last edited by exiledone1; 01-15-2013 at 04:03 PM..
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
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I hate doing chicken on the range, baking is much easier!

That said, I'd say you're 90% there. I tend to begin the heat at medium-high (6-7) to sear the breast (primarily for flavor) and then back it down to low (2-3) and cover it, cooking until the juices run clear (for a breast that was beginning at room temperature and had been rinsed and patted down, that could be as little as 4 minutes per side. For a wet one out of the fridge, I'd do six minutes on the first side and 4-6 on the second).

It is somewhat a process of trial and error, but the results, even in cast iron or stainless steel cookware, should be far from horrible!
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:58 PM   #3
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I would try two things:

1) pound them so they are the same thickness

2) cover your pan with a lid, so you are getting heat all around them

Also, when you say "pink" how pink? Barely pink or cold?
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:59 PM   #4
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Also, don't underestimate letting that poultry rest, in the pan with the lid on but heat source turned off, for an additional 5-ish minutes. That will often give the meat time to thoroughly warm through and if you're on the edge of pink, bring it over.

A meat probe/thermometer jabbed into the thickest part of the meat would also help, as does slicing the breasts before cooking. They are, by their shape, inherently uneven to cook. So I find slicing strips and removing the thinner bits earlier in the cooking cycle is very helpful, rather than trying to do the whole breast and somehow miraculously not overdo the outer edge.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millergirl1976 View Post
I would try two things:

1) pound them so they are the same thickness

2) cover your pan with a lid, so you are getting heat all around them

Also, when you say "pink" how pink? Barely pink or cold?
1. We tend to pound them until they are all about the same thickness. We started doing this last week as we heard it helps them to cook more even. Our last batch was a little bit better.

2. Not a ton of pink. It's usually when we tear the chicken up apart to check for pink we find some pink more in the center of the chicken, sometimes on the side. Usually the majority of it will be perfect except for a few little pink areas

Hope that helps and thanks

Josh
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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Are you trying to fry them like fried chicken?
This can be very difficult to do with especially if they don't have skin.
I would fry them in canola oil. I don't think olive oil is right for frying.
You could cut them up into smaller pieces and they would be much easer to cook. That will really help avoid the dreaded pink!
You also could try cooking them in bacon grease.
Baking is so much better.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Arctic_Mama View Post
Also, don't underestimate letting that poultry rest, in the pan with the lid on but heat source turned off, for an additional 5-ish minutes. That will often give the meat time to thoroughly warm through and if you're on the edge of pink, bring it over.

A meat probe/thermometer jabbed into the thickest part of the meat would also help, as does slicing the breasts before cooking. They are, by their shape, inherently uneven to cook. So I find slicing strips and removing the thinner bits earlier in the cooking cycle is very helpful, rather than trying to do the whole breast and somehow miraculously not overdo the outer edge.
Great idea about the lid and leaving it to rest in the pan. Usually we still have a lot of oil in the pan when the chicken is done as well which is why we always removed it.

Oh...I didn't think about the room tempture chicken before prep. We usually take it out of the fridge, rinse, pound and right into the hot oil. What you say makes a lot of sense.

The theomstat is something we tried before and we noticed that sometimes the chicken will be at the correct temp for being done, but when we open it up we still see some pink. We have just bought today actually a expensive electric one hoping it is more accurate than the one with the guage.

Great ideas and happy for the feedback.

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Old 01-15-2013, 04:14 PM   #8
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The thin slices only need about 3 minutes per side. Any more and they get tough and over cooked.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:15 PM   #9
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Are you trying to fry them like fried chicken?
This can be very difficult to do with especially if they don't have skin.
I would fry them in canola oil. I don't think olive oil is right for frying.
You could cut them up into smaller pieces and they would be much easer to cook. That will really help avoid the dreaded pink!
You also could try cooking them in bacon grease.
Baking is so much better.
We are just trying to cook them on the stove top and we coat the pan with some oil, but were not trying to fry them. Just pan seared I think it's called.

We have tried baking before and that is even worst for us. We have had some bad bad experiences with baking. In the past we cook two normal size chicken breast at 375 for 45 minutes. Flipping it halfway though and they always end up with some pink as well. A few occasions we have ended up with super small chicken breast or super tough. Depending on how we experiment with baking time and temp.

I may start a thread about the baked chicken, but please feel free to share your thoughts on the idea way to bake here. Lol one time we bought some chicken breast stuffed with sausage and we this was only 2 pieces. ended up cooking them for over 2 hours and they were still pink. That was at 375 for 50 minutes.

That's a story for another day, but believe me when I say my wife and me felt like saying forget it haha.

I'm here to learn okay we will try canola oil our next time which should be tomorrow instead of olive oil

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Old 01-15-2013, 04:17 PM   #10
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The thin slices only need about 3 minutes per side. Any more and they get tough and over cooked.
That's what we have read and tried but we always up with pink using 3 minutes on each side. We usually have a little bit of pink at 4 minutes or 5 minutes each side on a temp of 4 heat or 5 heat :/

some good ideas here so far. Thank you everyone

Josh

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Old 01-15-2013, 04:27 PM   #11
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Have you tried poaching them? I just use chicken broth in a pan, boil, decrease the heat and cover them. I let them cook like 20 minutes or so (depending on thickness). They end up tender.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:51 PM   #12
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I don't usually bake with recipes and timers when backing chicken but I will try and tell you what I do.

I like chicken thighs with skin.
Pat dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper
Place on a broiler ban and place it in the middle of oven.
Broil for a few minutes until the skin is brown and blistered.
You really have to keep an eye on them!
Now bake on 350 for about 30 minutes until they are done.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:52 PM   #13
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Have you tried poaching them? I just use chicken broth in a pan, boil, decrease the heat and cover them. I let them cook like 20 minutes or so (depending on thickness). They end up tender.
Never even heard of that till now, but that does sound pretty good

so your saying basically to heat up some chicken broth in the pan first without the chicken and than add the chicken breast into the pan once the broth is brought to a boil and than cook the chicken in the broth for 20 minutes or so with lid covered?


Did I get that right?
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:58 PM   #14
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Put them in the pan with the broth then bring it to a boil. Then turn it down after it starts boiling. It is super easy. And because they are so moist you can cut them with a fork while they are cooking and see the pickness level, if you are unsure.

If you want to add fat to them, when you pull the chicken out, melt some shredded cheese into the broth and make a cheese sauce. Or add some butter. You can add some mushrooms or other veggies to it too.

You can also pour out the remaining liquid, add some oil and just brown them slightly, though it takes away from the moistness.



From a website:
To poach boneless, skinless chicken breasts, place them in a large skillet and add 1-2 cups of water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 9-14 minutes until chicken reaches 160 degrees F. about 15 minutes. You can also poach in the oven. Place chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan. You can add lemon slices, peppercorns, or any other spices or herbs. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and immediately pour over chicken. Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 20-35 minutes, checking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:49 PM   #15
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I'm here to learn okay we will try canola oil our next time which should be tomorrow instead of olive oil
I disagree with this. I *always* pan sear/fry/cook in olive oil and my chicken, pork chops, lamb patties and anything else I cook comes out fine. Canola oil is not a good oil to use; I avoid it.

I agree with the PP who said to start off on a higher heat (maybe 6 or 7) for a couple mintues, flip (it should release easily when ready), sear the second side, flip, and lower the heat (2-3) for the remaining cook time. I rarely use lids, especially with thin cuts of meat, though that might help in your situation. For thicker cuts I do sometimes finish in the oven for a few minutes. Another technique is that you can "baste" the chicken while cooking in the pan with the hot oil. That way the top cooks a bit while the bottom is cooking. What types of pans do you use? High quality cookware can make a big difference, and it doesn't have to be expensive.

ETA: Are the chicken breasts *fully* thawed when you use them? If not that could be why some spots are still pink. Also I'm not sure that you really need to wash them. Patting them dry after thawing should be enough.

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:48 AM   #16
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I have found the best way to cook chicken breast is baking. But the key is olive oil and foil!!

Place frozen chicken breast in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and then put whatever spices you are in the mood for and to match the rest of your meal. I use cajun seasoning; Mrs. Dash makes lots of great flavors; garlic pepper and salt. You get the idea! Anyway, after you have spiced the chicken, cover pan tightly with foil. Bake at 350. I Buy the tenderloins from Costco, I usually bake them about 40 mins. Thick breast, I would probably leave in about 45 mins. to an hour depending on if frozen. The chicken is always super moist because the tight foil allows the chicken to be steamed and the olive oil is infused into the meat.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:12 PM   #17
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Profressional chefs often just brown chicken in a frying pan first, and then put it in the over to cook the rest of the way through. This might allow you more even cooking, and still giving chicken the sear. You might also try cooking it at a lower heat in the pan so that it cooks more evenly.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:20 AM   #18
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I think you're focusing too much on the time and temp. Everyone's stove top heat is different and so is the thickness of chicken.


I always pan fry boneless skinless chicken breasts. I also will cut the chicken into thinner pieces if its too thick for faster and even cooking.

I think medium is a good heat, it assures the outside doesn't burn before the inside cooks. As others have said you can always start at a higher heat to sear both sides if you want then turn it down to medium. Covering it will get it cooked faster too, just make sure you turn it to a lower heat if you cover it. If you take the chicken out and it's still pink you can always return it to the pan to finish cooking it. I think that's happened to everyone before.

The only real way to know if your chicken is done is by cutting it in the center and checking it. Usually if the center is done the outer parts are done. You can check for doness by pushing down on the chicken, if its firm its closer to being done if its still soft it means its not done yet, you can do that with any type of meat or poultry. If you're worried about the spices burning you can always put them on after its been cooking. Also don't be afraid to turn them over a few times on each side for more even cooking, it doesn't hurt to flip them more than once and usually assures that they get done.

Remember practice makes perfect so keep practicing, you will get it right.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:20 PM   #19
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I was thinking more about this thread and I was wondering if you have an instant read thermometer? I always use one to check the temp of meat after cooking. If youd don't have one I highly recommend investing in one. You can get a decent one pretty cheaply, though there are some that are quite expensive. Keep in mind it is usually ok to be a few degrees under if you let the meat rest for a bit before serving, it will usually go up a few degrees, especially for large cuts of meat.

Appearances can be deceiving, and sometimes chicken that still looks pink is perfectly cooked. Hopefully I am allowed to link to a USDA site about this: The Color of Meat and Poultry.

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Old 01-20-2013, 01:35 PM   #20
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What are you trying to make with the thin sliced chicken breasts? How thin are the slices?

Rinse the room temperature chicken breasts and dry them thoroughly so they don't steam and overcook.

I salt and pepper them and dust them with a whiff of baking mix, whatever lc mix I have on hand. Sear them in hot oil until golden on each side, usually about 4-5 minutes or more per side. I set aside and tent them with foil, while I make whatever sauce I am serving with them.

My favorite sauce is a little wine and chicken stock and butter, stirred around to pick up the brown bits, simmered to reduce the sauce, and then add some sauteed mushrooms and onions. Stick the chicken pieces back in and heat thoroughly in the sauce. The chicken is always done and tender by that point, with the resting and the reheating, and it is never overcooked or tough.

I think how you sear and hold them would be somewhat dependent on how you intend to serve them.

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:21 AM   #21
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I think Perdue makes "chicken cutlets" which are boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been sliced across the width giving very thin slices of chicken. These are easy to cook and very quick. I actually cook them in butter because they cook so fast.

You could cut the breasts yourself by using a very sharp knife and holding the breast down with your hand and slicing across being careful not to slice your hand along with the chicken.

One way I like to cook chicken is to slice the breast into "fingers", dry them off, then dip in a 50/50 mixture of melted butter & olive oil then dredge them in Parmesan cheese mixed with a little garlic powder. Bake at 350 until they are well browned.

These are AWESOME and moist and totally Atkins.

Here is a really good article on brining boneless skinless breasts and different methods of cooking them.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:23 PM   #22
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Bring ckn to room temp, start on 6 turn to 4 after the flip (abt 3-4 min), cover with foil, turn pan off after 3 minutes, let stand covered in pan for 10 min. Use good oil, 1 tbs olive w/1 tbs butter is nice. Season ckn with salt before cooking and when you flip, add your other seasonings.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:12 PM   #23
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I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the amazing input! My wife and I will be attempting the chicken again this Tuesday and with all of your advice I'm sure we will win.

As suggested we went and bought an electric thermometer so that should help a lot. We had one of those which was more like a scale and it sucked. Even if we cooked a chicken for 2 hours it would never get to the proper tempeture so we assumed the thermometer we were using was a bad one.

So we spent about $20.00 and got a nice one.

Once again, thank you so much everyone. You all

Josh
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:27 PM   #24
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What are you ultimately doing with the chicken?

(If you're just eating plain boneless/skinless chicken breasts, it would be my advice that you instead learn how to roast whole chickens--still VERY cost effective, 100 times more tasty, you can use the carcass for broth, and overall an excellent cooking skill to have, especially on lowcarb. Once you get the hang of it, esp. with your new thermo, you can roast two at once and have leftovers for other uses. Please look into this, it's really easy when you have the hang of it! And don't worry about trussing--don't let that turn you off doing it, by all means.)
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:04 AM   #25
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I've never cooked chicken on the stove. But I'm going to give it a try after reading all of the advice given above. I'm going to try and make Chicken Lazone (recipe from another thread on this board.

Thanks for all the input.

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:03 PM   #26
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I tend to prefer bone-in chicken if I'm going to be pan-frying or baking.

For thin sliced chicken, I tend to use it for stir-fry.

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Cut onions, mash garlic, prep whatever veg you plan to add (I like broccoli and carrots). Get out any additions you plan to add, like nuts.

Get this ALL prepped before you begin cooking. Stir frying is a quick technique over medium-high heat, so it goes fast.

Heat your pan. Add oil (CO is great for this!). Cook chicken pieces, stirring and moving them around as they cook, until brown. Remove. Add onions and garlic (and maybe a sprinkle of red pepper flakes) and cook until softened. Add other veggies, going from the hardest (carrots, broccoli stems) to the softest (canned bamboo shoots, spinach). Add the chicken back in. Add a bit of liquid if necessary and cover. Lower the heat. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Finish with your favorite stir-fry sauce and a sprinkle of nuts. (you can buy sauces but they tend to have sugar. There are some good recipes for LC sauces out there. I like Thai sauce because it has peanut butter... YUM!)


Another thing with thin sliced chicken would be to slice it into bite-sized pieces, stir fry the chicken pieces until done, then add barbeque sauce or fajita spices.

Basically, I find the easiest way to cook thin chicken is to stir-fry it, either into an Asian-inspired dish with veg and sauce, or just cook the chicken itself then spice it and eat it separately.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:04 PM   #27
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I tend to prefer bone-in chicken if I'm going to be pan-frying or baking.

For thin sliced chicken, I tend to use it for stir-fry.

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Cut onions, mash garlic, prep whatever veg you plan to add (I like broccoli and carrots). Get out any additions you plan to add, like nuts.

Get this ALL prepped before you begin cooking. Stir frying is a quick technique over medium-high heat, so it goes fast.

Heat your pan. Add oil (CO is great for this!). Cook chicken pieces, stirring and moving them around as they cook, until brown. Remove. Add onions and garlic (and maybe a sprinkle of red pepper flakes) and cook until softened. Add other veggies, going from the hardest (carrots, broccoli stems) to the softest (canned bamboo shoots, spinach). Add the chicken back in. Add a bit of liquid if necessary and cover. Lower the heat. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Finish with your favorite stir-fry sauce and a sprinkle of nuts. (you can buy sauces but they tend to have sugar. There are some good recipes for LC sauces out there. I like Thai sauce because it has peanut butter... YUM!)


Another thing with thin sliced chicken would be to slice it into bite-sized pieces, stir fry the chicken pieces until done, then add barbeque sauce or fajita spices.

Basically, I find the easiest way to cook thin chicken is to stir-fry it, either into an Asian-inspired dish with veg and sauce, or just cook the chicken itself then spice it and eat it separately.
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