By MH Staff - Posted on 13th January 2014
Poultry is packed with protein but often tastes like chalk. We asked a master chef to share his one-pan strategy for perking up your breasts.
Option 1: Ricotta cheese + chopped chives + minced rosemary and thyme. Option 2: Sautéed spinach (cooled) + feta + pine nuts. Option 3: Chopped garlic + chopped anchovies + chopped parsley.
Boost flavour and add juiciness by tucking stuffing under the skin. 1.] Place a chicken breast on a clean surface. With your fingers, loosen the skin on the wide side of the breast, forming a pocket between the meat and skin. 2.] Scoop a spoonful of filling and tuck it beneath the skin of the chicken, using your fingers to spread the mixture evenly.
Skin-on-bird tastes better. Cook it crispy and juicy with this method. 1.] PREP SMART: For even doneness, let your bone-in, stuffed breast (see “Pick Your Filling”) sit at room temp for 30 minutes before cooking. Pat it dry with a paper towel to prime it for a better sear. 2.] SEAR IT OUT: Preheat the oven to 190°C. On the stove, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron frying pan or a large oven-safe pan on medium. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down. Cook it until the skin browns and crisps, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip it and cook until browned, another 3 to 4 minutes. 3.] NOW ROAST: Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through (70°C on a thermometer), about 20 minutes.
Enhanced: It’s plumped with broth or salty water, says Dr Urvashi Rangan, director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group at Consumer Reports. So you may be paying more for less. No hormones: “There are no hormones registered for use in SA,” says Rick Kleyn, founder of SpesFeed animal nutrition specialists. Growth hormones are illegal, and retailers make you pay more for fancy packaging. Free range: This means chickens have outdoor access. “The free-range term generally isn’t verified,” says Rangan. “The claim doesn’t guarantee that the birds actually went outdoors at all.” No antibiotics: Most birds are routinely given antibiotics to promote growth. Avoid them, and you’ll enjoy chicken that had time to develop flavour, says Theo Weening, global meat buyer for Whole Foods. VEGETARIAN FED: When possible, buy chicken raised on a vegetarian diet, says Weening. Animal by-products sometimes used in feed may speed growth but don’t make the meat taste all that delicious. ORGANIC: These birds eat only organic feed, are free of unneeded drugs, and have ready access to the outdoors. “They have better flavour and texture,” says Alfred Portale, chef at Gotham Bar & Grill.
Chicken breasts can benefit from a salty brine, Rainbow Chickens even state that frozen portions are brined to enhance flavour, but rather buy fresh and DIY it. And feel free to add your favourite spices to the base recipe. Whole birds need to brine overnight, but chicken pieces take just 3 hours. YOU'LL NEED: ½ cup Maldon salt • 3 sprigs thyme • ½ tbsp black peppercorns • 1 bay leaf. METHOD: In a stockpot, boil 2 cups water and salt. Stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat. Add herbs and 6 cups cold water. Stir well.