What Is a Medallion of Chicken?

Stir fry bowl with chicken medallions
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Chicken medallions, those tender two-bite morsels of breast meat, lend themselves well to different preparation techniques. You can serve them over pasta and rice, skewered and grilled with vegetables, or on their own as a light main course. Proper cutting and preparation of chicken medallions ensure they remain moist and flavorful.

Medallion Specifics

Chicken medallions come from the breast of the bird, but they aren't the whole breast. These cutlets weigh about 2 ounces each and are even in size, usually measuring no more than 2 by 2 inches and 3/4 inch thick. Medallions cook quickly and evenly because of their uniform size, unlike the varying thickness in a full chicken breast. Keep in mind the smaller size when determining serving portions. You may need two or three medallions to equal the meat you'd get in an entire breast.

Cutting Medallions

A whole chicken breast is too uneven and thick to make a medallion without a few initial cuts. Begin by cutting the breast in half lengthwise, angling the cut so both halves are an equal width. Once you have thinner breast filets, you can cut them to medallion size, which requires cutting them in halves or thirds so each measures about 2 inches square. Wash your knife and cutting board in hot, soapy water after cutting raw chicken to avoid cross-contamination.

Preparation Tips

Small medallions cook quickly but they are also prone to drying out. A marinade infuses the chicken medallions with flavor and moisture, which helps prevent drying. Use your favorite marinade or make a simple one by combining 2 parts olive or cooking oil with 4 parts lemon juice, soy sauce or cooking wine. Mix in the seasonings of your choice. Cornstarch forms a thin coating on the medallions that helps seal in juices as they cook, so add about 1 teaspoon of cornstarch for every 6 tablespoons of liquid in the marinade. Selecting a quick, high-heat cooking method, such as stovetop searing or oven roasting, will further help the medallions remain moist.

Cooking Methods

Quick-cooking methods that seal in juices work well for medallions. Sear the medallions by cooking them over medium-high heat until both sides are browned and the meat is cooked through for the quickest option. You can also use a small amount of marinade or water in the pot when you sear so the meat remains moist. Do not use marinade in which the raw chicken soaked -- use fresh marinade. Alternatively, lightly braise medallions by searing only the outside, and then simmering them in 1/2 inch of broth or water for 10 to 15 minutes. Roasting in a hot oven cooks medallions quickly, and they won't dry out like they would during slower roasting. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and then roast the medallions for five minutes per side on the top oven rack. Regardless of the cooking method, use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 F before serving.