Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Brining

After being sick for a little over two weeks I can not tell you how happy I am to have meals in the freezer and easy recipes on hand. When you have kids the best thing you can do for your family is to plan ahead. I believe my husband and kids have survived on homemade chili and chicken most of the week. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures - this week I have a cooking tip. 

I have several customers tell me about how they brine their turkey for Thanksgiving. I recently made a pork loin roast with a salt and brown sugar brine. Both are delicious.

This week I decided to bake some boneless skinless chicken breasts. I have tried to get the temperature right so that they aren't dry but are fully cooked. Let me just say - this is super tough to do. But that all changed when I took out 4 pieces of boneless skinless breast and brined them overnight in a 1/2 cup of sea salt, a gallon of water in a large bowl. The next day I made them for dinner for my family. I butterflied 2 of them, rubbed pesto all over them, and then rolled them up. The other 2 I did not butterfly, I just rubbed pesto all over the outside. I wasn't sure if cutting them would affect the purpose of the brine. I am pleased to announce that even the butterflied chicken turned out delicious and very moist. I baked the chicken breast uncovered in a glass dish at 400 degrees for about 20 - 25 mins. I wanted to check if they were done without taking them out and cutting them up because they didn't brown a lot . I grabbed my meat thermometer and checked to see if it registered 170 degrees for the internal temp. I think I am going to be investing in a new thermometer very soon. It was close enough so I took them out and covered the dish with tinfoil. I let them sit, fully covered for about 15 more minutes. I know that with pork and beef - if you cover them after you take them out of a hot oven they will cook a little bit longer. I decided to give it a try with the chicken. It worked great! Even my husband and kids commented on how moist the chicken was. They ate on these for about 3 days and even warming them up didn't dry them out. I am definitely sold on brining.

Please share if there is anything special you brine or your thoughts on trying to cook your chicken breast this way.

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