Chicken breast. It's high protein, inexpensive (relatively), and a standard on plenty of nutrition plans. One problem- dry, dry, DRY! Chicken can be incredibly difficult--especially when dealing with the boneless, skinless chicken breast--to keep things juicy and delicious. One second your chicken is just a little underdone, and less than a minute later, it's practically a brick of sawdust. So what do we do?
Brining is, simply put, letting a meat sit, submerged, in a mixture of salted water with a little bit of sugar and aromatics (if you so choose). The salted water does triple duty: it seasons the meat, it helps hold moisture during the cooking process, and it adds some additional flavor throughout whatever you're cooking!
The base of this is the salt, water, and onion/garlic. Feel free to switch out herbs and spices to suit your taste!
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1" piece ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 tsp peppercorns
Bring 2 cups water, onion, garlic, bay leaf, coriander, salt, and peppercorns to a boil. Remove from heat, pour in 2 cups cold water and add thyme. Once fully cooled, submerge whatever meat you're working with in the brine, and let sit for 8 hours or overnight (ziploc bags work great for this). Proceed with your meat as normal, and prepare to be amazed! (NOTE: to the best of my knowledge, this does not affect cooking time.)
Now why did I say meat and not chicken? Because chicken is just the tip of the iceberg! Tired of dry turkey for Thanksgiving? scale up the recipe and brine the whole bird! This is also a miracle recipe for
pork loin or chops. Try it out and have fun!