"Chicken Sybil” the Multiple Personality Chicken
& Alanna's Signature Chicken Recipe

We all remember the book Sybil, right? I call this recipe "Chicken Sybil" because it's the 'multiple personality' chicken, it can be made so very many different ways, all wonderful. It's so easy to make, the chicken turns out moist and juicy in the center, slightly crispy at the edges. The sauce is so variable, it starts with a creamy-mustard sauce then adds on-hand ingredients. I think you'll love Chicken Sybil, it's the "one way" I make chicken again and again, yet it never turns out the same twice.

Kitchen Parade readers love Chicken Sybil! The recipe was first published in 2007, it's such a favorite, I'm republishing it again in 2014. Enjoy!

Chicken Sybil


SO MANY COMPLIMENTS!
"This sounds silly ... but ... [this recipe] changed my life!!" ~ Angela
"Chicken Sybil is pure genius." ~ Roberta
"I loved Chicken Sybil." ~ Colleen
"... absolutely delicious, elegant, and so easy." ~ Barbara
"My husband ... is so excited every time I make it. " ~ Dee
"This is my husband's new fave." ~ Cathy
"... to die for..." ~ Barbara
"... such a nice dinner. Delicious, company worthy sauce." ~ Julie
"It was delicious!" ~ LindaRuthC


(Y-chromosomed readers: Skip straight to the recipe. This first bit requires X chromosomes for full comprehension.) Can a closet breed shoes at a rate challenging gravid guppies?

Think pumps and sling-backs and slides and mules and slip-ons and peep toes and lace-ups and ankle straps and monk straps along with flats, loafers, oxfords, kilties, tassels that sit beside ballerina shoes, Mary Janes and moccasins and high heels, tippy-toe heels, strappy heels, stilettos and kitten heels, dancing shoes, airport-friendly shoes, Saturday-morning errand shoes and clogs and crocks and platforms and wedges and espadrilles and that’s before the racks of thongs and sandals and flip flops, ankle boots, snowboots, dressboots, cowboy boots, steel toes and sneakers, high tops, boat shoes, golf shoes, running shoes, walking shoes, hiking boots and beach shoes. And lest we forget, the comfy house slipper. Whew.

What does it say that we women recognize so many shoe designs, even without owning a pair? Can we list as many authors, composers or poets? What’s so important about shoes that our brains catalog them?

So goes Chicken Sybil, the quick supper with multiple personalities and a variation for every occasion. It may be the most flexible, easy and delicious chicken supper, ever.

ALANNA’S TIPS: Individually frozen chicken breasts are a supper-saver at five o’clock. Just submerse the packages in cold water – yes, cold, it’s counter-intuitive but it works – for 30 minutes. How does chicken safely cook so quickly? It's because the meat is pounded quite thin. Because 'quite thin' is imprecise, the first time you make this, after the specified cooking times, slit into the thickest part of the breast with the tip of a sharp knife and spread a bit. If the center is still pink, cook awhile longer. Chicken Sybil cooks fast so have a salad and vegetable ready before starting.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

QUICK SUPPER:
CHICKEN SYBIL

Multiple-personality chicken
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 20 minutes
Serves 4 (easily adjusts to 1 or 2 servings)
    CHICKEN
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about ¼ pound each
  • Salt & pepper
    OPTIONAL VARIATIONS
  • Handful of capers, sliced mushrooms, diced tomato, green onion, frozen peas, cooked bacon or your choice
    SAUCE
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cream or sour cream or fat-free half ‘n’ half
  • 2 tablespoons good mustard
    OPTIONAL SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate (my favorite) or maple syrup, marmalade, tomato paste, salsa (pictured), barbecue sauce or your choice

CHICKEN Melt the butter in a large skillet on MEDIUM HIGH. (You may need two skillets to cook four servings at once.) Between two sheets of waxed paper, pound the chicken breasts with a rolling pin until about a half-inch thick. Season one side with salt and pepper, transfer to the skillet seasoned-side down (the meat should sizzle), then season the top side. Reduce the heat to MEDIUM, cook for 4 minutes on one side, then 3 – 4 minutes on the other side. Transfer to warm plates and cover with foil.

OPTIONAL VARIATIONS Add variation ingredients (if any) to skillet, stir 1 – 2 minutes until warm.

SAUCE & OPTIONAL SAUCE INGREDIENTS Add sauce and optional sauce ingredients (if any) to hot skillet, stirring to incorporate bits of chicken left in pan. Let thicken slightly. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve and enjoy!

GET CREATIVE! Be creative with the variations. I’ve made this 20 times in a year, never once, twice, just by scrounging in the fridge beforehand. One summer, I taught a class where each of us cooked our own skillets of Chicken Sybil with a variety of ingredients. Favorite Optional Variations and Optional Sauce Ingredients included sun-dried tomatoes, frozen peas, fresh mushrooms, black bean sauce and fresh basil, also garlic and rhubarb jam. What variations have you tried? Leave a comment to inspire others!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 178 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 82mg Cholesterol; 18g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS: WW Old Points 4 & WW PointsPlus 4

More Quick 'n' Easy Chicken Recipes

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Fast Roast Chicken Rainbow Chicken Easy Margarita Chicken

More "Concept" Recipes to Make Again and Again, One Recipe, Many Variations

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Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup Winter Stew


Chicken Sybil -- love love love this name, and the concept! My favorite recipes are those that can go with any outfit....
 
Alanna, I agree with Lydia -- great recipe name and terrific concept! And your timing couldn't be better. Steve defrosted some chicken breasts instead of some leftover ham, and we need to cook them tonight. When I left for work this morning, I was still wondering what to do with them, and now I have my answer!

:-) Genie
 
Alanna,
I like! copied to paper and posted on fridge. Thanks.
 
I love recipes like this! Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" is great at providing the basic recipe and then a dozen variations.
 
I love the name too... it is perfect!
Great post.
 
This sounds silly to write, and probably astounding to read, but I have to say that you have changed my life!! In a really good way! Thank you!!

I am a vegetarian and have been for most of my adult life. My husband and our young toddler are meat eaters. Whereas my husband had been content to eat meatless dinners most nights, we felt it was important when [the baby] came along to have meat much more often. I had been struggling to find meat recipes that would please both of them, with minimal luck, and then along comes Chicken Sybil. I have to tell you that both of them love it! I have prepared it at least once a week since it was featured in the Webster-Kirkwood Times, and each time they both clean their plates! I have varied it using the various optional ingredients that you suggested, and every time it has been a success. I have branched out as well with my own variations, such as some of the Penzey Spices blends (my husband's favorite is the Ozark Seasonings blend followed by the Bicentennial Rub), and feel so confident now in being able to prepare a delicious, quick, and healthy chicken dinner that has limitless possibilities. Thank you so so much for this.
 
Angela ~

I'm sooo glad that Chicken Sybil's making such a big difference in your life. It's my favorite recipe in almost five years of writing Kitchen Parade, a combination of speed, easy to cook for one or two, easy adaptability, healthfulness - and complete deliciousness!

Thanks so much for taking the time to write, truly.
 
Wow-we have the same Christmas china! I have those same plates and I love them. Now I'll have to try the chicken recipe!

:)
Nancy
 
What took me so long to discover your blog! This is just the way I like to cook. Chicken Sibyl is pure genius. Have you tried it with mango chutney?
 
I loved Chicken Sybil...but I can never just follow a recipe, so I sprinkled the chicken breasts with Cajun Shake (our favorite spice blend of all time). For the sauce, I carmelized sweet onions first, sprinkled them with Cajun Shake, then added a splash of cream sherry, allowing that to cook down, then followed by the remainder of the ingredients. Once I even added asparagus tips at the end, just long enough to cook to crisp-tender. Everyone at our table was happy! But asked that next time, I make more!

Thank you for Kitchen Parade and for sharing all of your recipes and thoughts. It's my daily retreat!
 
You Guys ~ If I weren't blushing, I'd be in tears. Actually, I am in tears, your such kind comments. THANK YOU!
 
I've been craving pork chops lately and wanted to make a sauce similar to that used in Chicken Sybil (which I always want to call Chicken Sylvia). I wanted the sauce to have an "apple" taste. So, I used apple cider instead of chicken broth, dijon, heavy cream and a splash of maple syrup. I let the cider cook down a little before adding the other ingredients.. Fantastic! I sear-roasted the chops and removed them to a plate while I made the sauce. If I'd been thinking, I would have added the juices that accumulated on the plate to the sauce.

Next time I think I'll use a little more cider and let it cook down, plus add the juices from the pork chops.

It's an idea I wouldn't have come up with if not for reading Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture. Thanks!
 
Great recipe! good taste, easy to make. But your humor is lacking. stick to what you're good at
 
sounds great .going try it.but will say wasnt a nice comment about the humor remark ...keep it all coming
 
Love your recipes! Must admit that I just discovered Cooking for one or two. The recipes are not only tasty but very calorie wise and easy for a person to use. I spend 5 months a year in New Mexico and Kitchen Parade is on the lips of all my friends. They love your style and your tips although most have been cooking far longer than you have been alive. Thank you so much, and the gals and guys in the RV park thank you also. Cecilea
 
I just made this for the first time with maple syrup and shallots -- it was absolutely delicious, elegant, and so easy. Thank you!
 
I have made this recipe from your Kitchen Parade website for about a year and it is one of my favorite ways to do chicken. My husband simply loves it and is so excited every time I make it. Thanks for the delicious and oh-so-easy recipe, Alanna. I love your website with all those great recipes and I also enjoy your Veggie Venture page...keep up the good work :)
 
Dee ~ What sweet words to start off the new year! Many thanks for taking the time to write, your encouragement means the world! Happy New Year to you!
 
My new son-in-law had never cooked, but loved being assigned the job of pounding the chicken breasts. Our favorite is to add some capers and sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce before serving.
 
I have a question that my daughters have asked of me. I have assumed that when a recipe calls for "chicken breast" it means the whole breast, both sides. My daughters say it means a halve and that people have gone to referring to the halves as the breast. Which is right?
 
Aiii yai yai - I feel like the Car Talk Guys, negotiating between spouses! You may all be right. Technically I think you are right, that the "breast" does indeed include both sides of the, what is it called, the sternum? the clavicle? But in common parlance, just as women have two breasts, so do chickens. Hope this helps!
 
I've been cooking your recipes for years and they always turn out so delicious! This is my husband's new fave. Thanks for sharing.
 
My favorite kind of recipe - easy and adaptable! So glad I found it. I want to try it with a little pesto added.
 
made the cybil chicken... to die for...
 
This made such a nice dinner. Delicious, company worthy sauce. Went with diced red pepper,sour cream and orange marmalade. Thank you so much.
 
I recently made this using a few mushrooms, one leek, and a few cherry tomatoes as the optional variations. It enabled me to get rid of odds and ends. I was going to use low fat sour cream for the sauce, but I did not have enough so I used fat free half and half. It was delicious! I plan to make this over and over. The mushrooms and tomatoes were better in it than the leek. However, it was first rate.
 
I made Chicken Sybil recently with a few mushrooms, one leek, and a few cherry tomatoes as the add ins. I used fat free half and half in the sauce. It was wonderful! A real hit and only 4 PointsPlus. I plan to use sour cream in the sauce next time which will make it 5 PointsPlus. (I ran it through recipe buildinger on the Weight Watchers site both ways.)
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna