Photo by Sam Cox, Flickr commons
Discover the secret to making a tender flavorful chicken breasts that will steal the show. Chicken breasts do not have to be a dry bland cut of meat. The secret is this amazingly simple gourmet marinade. When you marinade the chicken breasts for 3 to 24 hours they will always turn out fantastic.
This simple brine brings a wide range of wonderful benefits to all kinds of meat whether it be chicken, beef, pork or fish. Many chefs feel that it allows the cook to have more control of the seasoning, tenderness, and richness of flavor of the meat. Once you try this brine marinade for yourself you may join the rest of us and never look back.
When you combine the sweet slightly salty richness from the marinade with the wonderful bacon flavors, you end up with some of the most delicious and tender chicken breasts that you have ever enjoyed. A big bonus is that this brine marinade is very simple and easy to prepare and will only take a few minutes. You may also want to keep this brine marinade handy to try out with other meat dishes. You will be amazed how much it can enhance the flavors and seasoning and tenderize the meat at the same time.
Brine recipe is adapted from a recipe in Michael Ruhlman’s book, Ratio.Serves: 8 to 10 piecesIngredients
- ~~ For the brine ~~
- 20 oz (2-1/2 cups) water
- 1 oz kosher salt
- a squeeze of lemon (optional)
- a handful of your choice of herbs (optional)
- one medium onion, sliced (optional)
- garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
- ~~ For the chicken ~~
- 2-1/2 to 3 pounds (about 8 to 10 pieces) boneless chicken breasts
- 24 slices of bacon (preferably, nitrite-free)
- To prepare the brine, measure out the water and salt, according to how much you need. This brine recipe is for approximately 3 pounds of chicken, and depending on the size, it’s about 8 to 10 breasts.
- If using, sauté your onion, garlic, lemon, and herbs with a little bit of oil in a saucepan large enough to hold your brine water.
- When the aromatics are soft and translucent, add the salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
- Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat immediately and simmer for another 10 minutes until salt is dissolved.
- Take the pan off from the heat and set aside. Chill in refrigerator until the brine solution is cool.
- When it is cool (or cold), pour the brine solution in a freezer / storage bag, add the chicken breasts and marinate for 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- To cook the chicken breasts, take each breast out of the brine and wrap each one with 3 slices of bacon, overlapping the seams so that the bacon does not unravel. Make sure the tuck the bacon underneath the chicken breasts to secure them.
- Transfer to a pan but do not overcrowd it. If you have to, cook them in batches.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip the breasts over and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Total baking time should be 35 to 45 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.