Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Moist Chicken Bake

I love easy recipe. Though most of the time I tend to get carried away, experimenting with labor-intensive recipes from pro-cookbooks or websites, every now and then I like to create something easy for weekday supper. And what is easier than chicken bake. Simple protein, easy to follow recipes that you can bake in the oven and it will be ready in no time. Once you have try this recipe, you will never go back to the box chicken bake at the store.

I have a confession to make. If you are expecting a one step cooking process, then this recipe is a no-no. Then again, we are talking about super moist chicken recipe. And when you want something to be super moist, you have to add moisture. This is when brining comes into place.

You may say, but I am not making a turkey, why the brine? Believe it or not. Poultry needs brining. Especially when you are cooking breast meat. Breast meat tends to have a tendency to dry out in the cooking process as they are lean, which on the other side of the equation is a healthier choice for your heart and waistline. The simple solution is to brine your poultry to avoid dry meat. If you still think it is too much work, ask yourself this: Will you eat a dry piece of turkey breast meat or chicken breast meat? Will you? Will you? 

Brining, no doubt is an added step to your cooking process. However, in the magical world of meat brining, the brining process can be done overnight in your fridge or a cooler box, depending on what you are brining and its size. The simple solution: Brine your meat the night before and stuck it covered in the fridge. When you are ready to cook it the next day, just pull it out, pat it dry with a kitchen towel and it is ready to go.

Recipe for the Brine

3 Tablespoon of Salt (Kosher or Sea Salt preferably but table salt works fine)
3 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 1/4 quartz of ice cold water (about 5 cups)


In a bowl large enough to hold the brine and chicken pieces, combine all ingredients. Whisk till sugar and salt has dissolve completely. Submerge all chicken pieces into the brine. You may need to make enough brine to cover all chicken pieces. As a rule of thumb, the brine solution above is good for half a chicken (about 4lb or 2kg) or 6 pieces of chicken breast.

When you are ready to bake your chicken, a layer of dry seasoning on the chicken will help to amp up the flavor of your dish. Since the chicken is moist and good enough as it is, a sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper will do just fine. However, if you are me, who is constantly looking for small ways to impart great flavors in every meals, a little seasoning goes a long way.

Homemade Poultry Seasoning

1 tablespoon of Lawry Seasoning Salt
3 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of sage
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
zest from one lemon
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)

In a bowl, mix all seasoning ingredients. Rub onto chicken pieces right before baking.

And after all your hard work, this is the result. I prefer using skin on, bone-in chicken pieces as we love the crispy chicken skin from the bake. Don't worry if you are using boneless skinless chicken breast. The seasoning will built a crust around the chicken. It will come out just as good.

The chicken came out super moist and extremely flavorful. By rubbing the seasoning on the chicken pieces, the baking process helps to create a nice char crust on the skin. Give it a try tonight. You will have chicken so good that even the finicky eater will give it a thumbs up.

Super Moist Chicken Bake Recipe (Blue Ribbon Seal)

4lb of chicken pieces (about 2kg) or 8 pieces of chicken breast
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 recipe of Homemade Poultry Seasoning
1 recipe of Brine

1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
2. Pour olive oil onto baking sheet. Spread olive oil evenly onto baking sheet.
3. Dip chicken pieces into lemon juice. Rub seasoning all over chicken. Repeat with the remainder chicken pieces
4. Bake for 30 minutes if using a mix of bone in dark and white chicken meat, skin side up. If you are only using chicken breast meat, bake for 25 minutes.
5. Serve with roasted potatoes, rice or pasta.

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