Ask any home cook, and chances are chicken breasts won’t be their favorite cut of meat. Why? Because it almost always ends up dry and bland. But this doesn’t mean you have to avoid chicken breasts too. With a few tips, you can cook chicken breast that are succulent, juicy, and flavorful. Make sure to use these tips next time you cook!
Chicken breast are actually wonderful cuts of meat. Depending on where you live, it’s quite affordable. It’s also low in fat and extremely versatile. The recipes with chicken breast are endless: you can roast it, grill it, skewer it, stir-fry it, put it in a stew…do we need to say more? Here are a few tips that will prevent a common occurrence for many home cooks: dry and bland meat.
Marinades are a great way to boost flavor, whilst at the same time keeping the meat moist. Because you soak the meat in a liquid, it starts the breakdown process prior to cooking, resulting in tender meat. When using chicken breasts, you only need to marinate for about 30 minutes.
For a quick marinade, combine 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 crushed garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in the marinade and rest in the fridge. After 30 min, they are ready for the grill!
Chicken breast are great to use for a stir-fry. But the strips of meat can often end up dry. One way to prevent this is by velveting the chicken beforehand. Velveting has been used in Chinese cooking for many years, as a way to prevent meat from drying out in a stir-fry. So how do you do it?
Place your chicken breast pieces in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle over baking soda (bicarbonate of soda, NOT baking powder!). Use ¾ tsp baking soda for every 8 oz chicken. Mix well to ensure that all the chicken pieces are coated with the baking soda. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Rinse well, and dry with towel paper. The chicken pieces are now ready for that stir-fry recipe!
Because chicken breasts are a lean type of meat, it tends to dry out pretty quickly. So if you roast whole chicken breasts, you should be careful not to overcook it. This is where the kitchen thermometer is your friend! As soon as your chicken meat registers at 165°F (74°C), it’s cooked and safe to eat. Anything more than that and you will end up with dry breasts.
If you take chicken directly out of the fridge, it’s going to need a longer time in the pan to heat up. And this will result in dried out meat. Leave your chicken on the counter for about 15 minutes and then use it in your dish. Be sure not to leave it out for too long. You want tender meat, you don’t want Salmonella poisoning!
We think with these tips you are ready to explore the endless recipes with chicken breast. What will you be cooking first?