For dredged chicken: Stir together the flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper in a shallow dish (such as a pie pan). Using tongs, dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture on both sides, shaking away any excess flour. Place on a cutting board or large plate.
For non-dredged chicken: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then place on a cutting board or large plate and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Cook the chicken: Heat a large skillet (stainless steel, aluminum, or enameled cast iroover medium-high to high heat. Add just enough clarified butter or oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the chicken. Don’t touch it after it hits the pan. Let the chicken sear in one place for around 1-3 minutes, until brown and crispy. If you try to flip the chicken and it’s sticking, that’s ok. It means it’s not ready to turn yet. As soon as the side is properly seared, it will detach.
Flip and sear the chicken on the other side for a couple more minutes until browned on the surface and cooked through (165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer). Transfer the chicken to a clean plate and tent lightly with foil to keep it warm while preparing the sauce.
Prepare the sauce: Pour off any excess fat (there might not be any here, but you’ll run into this with fattier cuts of meat), but don’t touch the brown bits on the pan. Place the pan back on the heat and turn it down to medium.
Add the aromatics: Add the shallots, using a firm spatula or wooden spoon to stir them around for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Keep an eye on the brown bits to make sure they’re not getting to dark (you want caramelized, not burned), adjusting the heat or removing the pan from the heat as needed.
Deglaze the pan: Add the wine to the pan. It will sizzle and steam, but shouldn’t totally evaporate (if it does, add a couple tablespoons of water). Immediately use your spatula to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, incorporating them into the shallots and liquid. Let the liquid simmer and reduce by about half.
Add the stock: Add the chicken stock and any optional add-ins. Simmer until it’s reduced to about 1/3 of the original amount.
Finish the sauce: Once the sauce is reduced, add button or cream to finish the sauce (or a 50/50 split). This will add depth, richness, and a glossy shine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. If the sauce tastes too strong (over-reduced), add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin it out. If you added a spring of thyme, remove before serving. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Optionally garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley.
All of the ingredients and quantities listed here should be considered guides. You can get as creative as you like with a pan sauce, using various cuts of meat, liquids, and seasonings. See my full post for examples as well as a few specific combinations to get you started. I typically use a cabernet or chardonnay for pan sauces. If you don’t want to use alcohol to deglaze the pan, I recommend using an acidic liquid like vinegar (apple cider, red/white wine vinegar, etc).