Friday, June 17, 2011
Brined and Baked Chicken
Every time we eat a store bought rotisserie or baked chicken my husband and I would be amazed how the inside is juicy and tasty without any visible masala or obvious marinade flavors. Trying to find out how the hotels get prawns and chicken to taste good inside and outside was always a challenge until recently I tried brining chicken and am totally in love with the outcome.
I am totally sold on brining poultry and shrimp before cooking now. Read about it here and here. Especially since we all sort to refrigerated / frozen chicken the taste is never like in a restaurant. But after trying this method I am sure you will think differently.
I recommend reading the highlighted sites in the previous paragraph to know more about the proces and different combinations. The chemistry of how things work is explained well in these sites. Basically, through osmosis salt and water travels through muscles of the poultry or fish and lodges within making the cooked meat soft and juicy. For a gallon of water the recommended salt is ½ cup but depending on the amount of time you have you can decrease the amount of salt but follow the measurement of 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water. Sugar is added and caramalization while grilling gives a better color. I avoid sugar but it you like , go for it.
The recommended measurement for brining as per the blogs mentioned above are given below.
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1 gallon water
What I did and it worked for me is as follows:
Chicken – 3 breasts bone in
Water – 8 cups
Kosher Salt – ½ C
Dry Red Chillies – 8
Bay Leaf – 1
Garlic cloves with skin – 4
1. In 1 cup of water, boil the red chilies, bay leaf and garlic cloves. While hot, add the salt and mix. Cool and add to the remaining water. You may add ice cubes and cool it down quickly. It is very important to cool the brine before you immerse the chicken.
2. If you have read the sites I have mentioned, it clearly states that warm water stimulates growth of bacteria so make sure you add the chicken only to cool water.
3. Add chicken to the spiced brine and refrigerate for 4 hours
5. Take them out of the water pat dry with tissue paper and rub it with any rub used for grilling or even the masala of your choice.
6. Drizzle oil over it and in a oiled baking pan place them with bone down and bake at 350 D F for 40 – 50 minutes. If you have a thermometer then the internal temperature of chicken should be 170 D
7. I add diced potato, carrots, and celery while baking and squeeze a wedge of lime over.
8. You will have some juices in the pan after the chicken is cooked.
9. To brown the chicken - after it cooks for 40 – 45 minutes change the oven setting to broil and broil on high flipping sides until you have the desired results. Do not overdo cooking time, as it may result in a dry chicken. Even though with brining there is some room for error since the brined chicken is flush with water.
Rubs I use:
Weber's Kickin chicken
You can bake vegetables and yesterday I made some roasted beets.
1. Wash, peel and dice the beets. Make sure the beet is dry of water before you start roasting.
2. Add salt, pepper, thyme and drizzle some olive oil and bake in a pan for 45 minutes or a fork goes through easily. It will cook with the chicken, this way you can stay hand free while everythign just cooks in the oven.
Great to cook over weekends while you can enjoy a movie with you loved ones on the couch.. bliss!