Best ways to prepare slabs of chicken?
March 31, 2008 1:24 AM   Subscribe

I've been trying to make chicken dishes that don't rely on the usual pasta or rice+sauce+chicken combination. I have not been successful. I'm looking for chicken recipes and techniques that rely less on pasta and rice, and more on imparting flavor to the chicken itself.

The main problem I've run into is that the boneless, skinless chicken breasts I typically use dry out very easily, and really need something to give them flavor. As an example, I recently coated some chicken in rosemary (and salt\pepper, etc.), browned it in a pan, and baked it. This was very bland. With pasta\rice focussed dishes, the sauce and carb provide a lot of the flavor, with the chicken providing more texture.

I actually have decent recipes for lemon chicken, and for spicy chicken, so I'm mostly interested in more of the savory type recipes.

Some things I'd like to see in particular (just to give you more info):
  • Basic recipes and tecniques that can be modified or built upon according to whim
  • Vegetables integrated as part of the dish, rather than as a side
  • Relatively few ingredients (5-7 ish)
  • Neat combinations of spices
Book and website recommendations are also welcome.
posted by !Jim to Food & Drink (50 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've been eating cold chicken breasts (previously pan-fried and oven-cooked) with just salsa verde lately. It's surprisingly satisfying.

I've found that a good way to keep chicken breasts from drying out is to first brown each side on a pan, then drop about a tablespoon of sherry or other cooking wine onto it and stick it in the oven at 325 °F for twenty minutes. It ends up being very juicy and good enough to eat without dressing.
posted by ignignokt at 1:51 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Must you use boneless skinless breasts? Bone-in thighs are a much more flavorful cut for many applications, and retain their moisture better. Buying them skin-on gives you more options, and saves you a bit of cash too (they're easily shucked, really).
posted by mumkin at 2:02 AM on March 31, 2008

I was surprised at the difference in taste I found when I switched to organic, free-range chicken. Whereas cheap, factory-reared chicken is indeed very bland and unexciting, the free-range meat - at least in my local area - has a very full 'chickeny' flavour. I'd also second mumkin on using the thighs.

My own favourite dish is a thai green chicken curry.
Get some good ready-made green curry paste (Mae Ploy is the brand I use - try a chinese store if you're near a city, or else look online). Fry the cubed chicken in a little oil until it loses its pinkness, add some roughly chopped mushrooms, bell peppers, green beans and pea aubergines (if you can get them), or whatever you like, along with a couple of spoons of the curry paste - you can add more later if you need to. Continue frying for a couple of minutes and then add a can of coconut milk (the creamy white variety made from the flesh of the coconut). Add a dozen kaffir leaves and some thai basil leaves (again, if you can get them) and let the whole thing cook gently for 15-20 mins. Serve with thai rice (or failing that, basmati). Oh, and remove the lime leaves before eating.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:12 AM on March 31, 2008 [4 favorites]

Try the garlic lime chicken on this page:

When I make it I use all olive oil (instead of butter) and cut down the salt a bit.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:24 AM on March 31, 2008

Chicken breast stuffed with haggis = 'Flying Scotsman'. A good combination, but I recommend basting well or serving with a mild sauce (very plain tomato is good) to ensure it's not dry.
posted by Phanx at 2:44 AM on March 31, 2008

Very easy Chicken Tikka -

Mix some fat free plain natural yogurt with chili powder and a little salt & olive oil. Cube your chicken breasts and add to the mixture, leave in fridge overnight. Skewer the chicken pieces and cook for 10mins in a hot oven, then turn them over and cook for a further 10 mins. Serve with tomato & lemon juice, wrapped in flour tortillas if desired.

Comes out moist, tender and delicately spiced!
posted by kenchie at 3:00 AM on March 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

General advice: buy a bottle of Catalina salad dressing and coat your chicken with it before you freeze it. This will prevent the chicken from losing its moisture.

Recipe: cut up some veggies--I use mushrooms, red and green onions, and green peppers--and fry them in a pan with cooking oil. Cut up the chicken and throw it in the pan. Coat everything with Catalina. Pour the veggies/chicken over a piece of toast. Optional: grate some mozza cheese and sprinkle it on top of the toast before you pour on the veggies/chicken. Once you pour everything on, the heat from the veggies/chicken will melt the cheese.
posted by smorange at 3:24 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: This is what I have been making lately

Make a marinade out of 1/2 a cup of balsamic vinegar, a 1/4 cup of olive oil and the juice of one lime or 1/4 cup of white wine. Maybe chuck in a couple of mashed garlic cloves, throw the chicken breasts in and leave for 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken breasts, season and pan fry for 7-8 minutes each side, adding the reserved marinade to the pan for the last couple of minutes of cooking. The sauce should thicken.

The chicken breasts are excellent sliced and added to an avocado salad, or over a simple salad of tomato and basil, maybe with some shaved parmesan and the pan juices dribbled over.

Added bonus is that the left over cooked chicken breasts freeze quite well if you reserve enough of the pan juices to coat them in.

Oh and nthing buying free-range or organic chicken if you can afford it. It really does make all the difference.
posted by arha at 4:00 AM on March 31, 2008 [4 favorites]

I have tried this soy sauce and sprite marinade and can attest that it is divine.
After marinating I cooked the chicken by creating little aluminum foil packets:
- Create a squarish "basket" using aluminum foil, big enough to hold your chicken breast and about 2 inches high.
- Line bottom with chopped asparagus, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes (this is what I used, obviously you can go nuts with veg)
- Bake at 200 celsius for 15-20 minutes or until chicken juice runs clear.
- Enjoy and be amazed at the deliciousness and low carb wonder!

I also recommend bone in thighs for longer cooking "fall of the bone" type goodness. For example, chicken adobo. Although traditionally served with rice, you can't deny that it's the chicken doing all the work.
posted by like_neon at 4:17 AM on March 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

Cookout season is upon us! Grill your chicken for a whole new world of flava. Charcoal imparts tons of flavor and tasty charred bits. Propane is a good substitute.

Marinate your chicken overnight. It's easy and will soak all the way through the meat. Instead of a recipe, here's some basics for a good BBQ marinade:

It should consist of roughly equal amounts acid and oil. Acid is essential to a marinade; it penetrates muscle fibers and tenderizes the meat. Common acids would be vinegar or citrus juice. The oil will balance it out and add richness. The marinade should be fairly salty. Soy sauce makes an extra flavorful substitute for plain NaCl. Some alcohol or a little brown sugar for sweetness. Then start adding flavorings: Garlic, minced onion, hot sauce, paprika, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, whatever suits your fancy. Don't be afraid to use a lot.

Arrange the breasts with their thick ends facing the center of the fire. Cook with the grill lid closed until they are nice and golden brown looking, basting with marinade along the way. Then flip them and brush some BBQ sauce on the cooked side. Close the grill for about ten minutes, then flip and coat the other side. Cook for another five and you're done.

Your BBQ sauce should be something sweeter and thicker than your marinade. Bottled sauces are convenient and pretty damn good, but nothing compares to homemade. I can send you a recipe if you're interested.

This chicken will definitely stand alone, so you can serve whatever carbs you like as a side dish. As a southern man, I would recommend potato salad, hush puppies, and coleslaw. Roast seasoned potatoes, couscous, bread, rice, or pasta would all work. I cooked chicken this way last weekend and my guests and I ate at least a pound of it each!
posted by scose at 4:31 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: These days, I eat my chicken organic, on a bed of precooked (in olive oil) minced onions mixed with mashed garlic (and maybe with a hot pepper or a half one - depends on its strength), in a pyrex cooker. I put some cut tomatoes inside (i add one or two garlics inside too) and around the beast, I put some potatoes cut in medium sized pieces on top of it all, I pour some olive oil on the chicken. And then, into the oven for a little more than one hour at 400°F.
posted by nicolin at 4:57 AM on March 31, 2008

Grilling skinless breasts over open flame is the best way to bring out their flavor without drying them out. High heat and short cooking times means that it will be juicier than broiling or baking, and juicier means more taste.

I've been using Prudhome's "Poultry Magic" to rub down the breasts before slapping them on the BBQ. This is because I'm lazy - all of the "Meat Magics" are just fancy seasoned salt, which you can make to your own taste.

Alton Brown's recipe is as basic (and as good) as they come:

2tsp kosher salt
2tsp powdered cayenne pepper (or the chili powder of your choice.)
2tsp garlic powder
1tsp Hungarian paprika

You can use this as a base for further explorations, like in this Bobby Flay recipe: Spanish Spice Rubbed Chicken.

(Yeah, Alton and Bobby, Food Network chefs. They're paid to show the typical American who flunked Home Ec 101 how to make a tasty meal with tools they already have in the kitchen and with ingredients they can find at the local supermarket. Anthony Bourdain can bite my anti-elitist ass.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:01 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Chicken ecnhiladas (the linked recipes is only one of many variations on the theme; tacos are another option.
posted by TedW at 5:30 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: If you have bone-in skin-on breasts or thighs then you can just throw them in a casserole dish with onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, red wine, salt, pepper and herbs and voila, coq-au-vin.

For boneless skinless breasts, an easy and delicious thing to do is pan-fry them in white wine and mushroom. Heat the pan and lightly brown the breasts, then remove them. Soften some chopped onions and garlic, then add lots of thinly sliced mushrooms. Add the breasts back in and slosh in some white wine. Add salt, pepper and herbs, cover and cook for another 20-25 minutes. Five minutes before the end, remove the lid to allow the juices to concentrate.

Shallots also work well with this. Rosemary is a great herb to add.
posted by unSane at 5:32 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: My go-to chicken recipe:

Grind dried rosemary. Add garlic powder, tiny bit of chili powder, salt and pepper.
Combine spice mix with olive oil.
Rub spice/olive oil mix underneath chicken skin.
Remove skin.

The olive oil ensures that the chicken is super-moist, and you can alter the spice combination according to whim. Delicious and hard to screw up.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 5:35 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here's the marinade I use:

1 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp garlic powder (real garlic would be better, of course; I'm usually too lazy to get my act together on that)
1 Tbsp Gulden's spicy brown mustard (I've used mustard powderas well, but I've enjoyed this more)
1 tsp black pepper

I usually stab the chicken breasts with a fork many times to create a few extra channels for the marinade.

I see scose suggests a 1:1 acid-oil mix; when I was googling about trying to make this the first time I saw 3:1 oil:acid listed. I don't imagine anywhere between those will make too much of a difference, based on my limited experience.
posted by stevis23 at 5:49 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: Marinade chicken thighs/breasts in natural yoghurt and about a teaspoon of ground five spice and a tablespoon of soy source over night. Grill/broil/Webber 'till burnt bits start appearing about the edges of the chicken. Fantastically juicy- serve with a bit of lemon juice and a garden salad.
posted by mattoxic at 5:55 AM on March 31, 2008

Lately I've been coating my breasts with breadcrumbs, using one of the following to get them to stick:
beaten eggs
wholegrain mustard and lemon juice (to form a paste)
dijon mustard and lemon juice (to form a paste)

Then I put in a lightly greased (spray oil) oven dish at around 250C for about 20 -30 minutes. The coating seems to stop it getting dried out.

Sometimes I put parmesan cheese in the breadcrumbs and/or a little melted butter.

Another thing that my son likes, but my daughter hates, so we don't eat it anymore, is same breasts in same lightly greased (spray oil) oven dish covered with a mixture of tomato paste, wholegrain mustard and a little worstershire sauce (just a little, or you'll regret it) and again around 250C for about 20 -30 minutes.
posted by b33j at 6:16 AM on March 31, 2008

Oh and thighs are much tastier and juicier (but neither of my kids will eat them - curses), and the crumbing thing works really well with dried chillied flakes in the breadcrumbs.
posted by b33j at 6:17 AM on March 31, 2008

Whole baked chicken:

Rinse and rub down a whole, cleaned chicken with butter on a paper towel (or olive oil), salt both sides, put in the oven at 275 and cook 1.5 hours, until juices run clean and leg pulls easily away from the rest of the body. This is my husband's all-time favorite meal and it's a snap to make. Serve with whatever kind of vegetables you want.

My favorite chicken dish is from the Betty Crocker cookbook — marinate breast in equal parts olive oil and lemon juice (I use about .25 cups), with about 2 tbls of cumin (whole or ground) mixed in, for anywhere from half an hour to overnight. Then, cook in over at 275 until juices run clear (half an hour or so).

In the meantime, take two avocados and two tomatoes and one onion. Dice everything up. Add some salt, chopped garlic, cilantro, lemon or lime juice, and I also add some chopped, pickled jalepeños for kick. Chill mixture in fridge until chicken is done, then serve salad on top of chicken.

The cumin makes this dish most awesome. This is also very easy to make.
posted by Brittanie at 6:23 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: Wait, you browned them and baked them? Either-or.

Another method of cooking that you may find appealing is poaching. Bring seasoned liquid to a boil, reduce to simmer, put chicken in, cook until done. You can poach them in wine, chicken broth, or water, with any herbs or spices you wish.

Also, roasting a whole chicken is dead easy and produces very flavorful meat.
posted by desuetude at 7:13 AM on March 31, 2008

Tandoori paste mixed with nonfat yogurt; marinate the chicken for an hour (or overnight if you have the time). Bake or grill it the next day. You will not need anything else for flavor.

A recipe to make your own:
(I haven't tried that recipe, so can't vouch for it -- I always just buy paste in a jar from my local Indian store)
You can also find tons online:
posted by sa3z at 7:37 AM on March 31, 2008

Chicken breast, mango, pineaplle, red bell pepper, all cut into bite-sized bits.
marinade the chicken pieces in jerk sauce, then throw them in a hot skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the rest of the stuff. Cook in the skillet until the chicken is done, and the fruits and veggies are hot. Serve over rice or pasta. Or alone. Good with shredded Monterey Jack on top.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:48 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if the Jerk sauce is a little too spicy, I add in a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:51 AM on March 31, 2008

How about just a chicken salad?

Chicken Salad

2 cups boneless skinless chicken, cooked and chopped
¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup celery, chopped
¼ cup granny smith apple, chopped
¼ cup seedless grapes, halved
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped onion

Combine yogurt and mayonnaise in medium sized bowl. Add chicken, celery, apple, grapes, raisins, walnuts and onion. Stir to coat with yogurt mixture. Serve salad cold.

OR, one of my favorites:

Chicken Puffs

3 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
¼ teaspoon each, salt and pepper
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 8 ounce can crescent rolls
Chicken gravy (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Blend cream cheese and butter till smooth. Add next 5 ingredients and mix well. Separate rolls into 4 rectangles. Seal perforations. Spoon ½ cup chicken mixture onto center of each rectangle, pull 4 corners of dough to center of mixture; seal. Brush tops with butter. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Remove and serve with chicken gravy (optional).
posted by Sassyfras at 8:16 AM on March 31, 2008

mmm. Adding 5 spice chicken, herbal/emperor chicken and salt-baked chicken to your list of suggestions. Asian stuff. There are recipes online that tell you how to make them from scratch, or - if you don't want to do that - there are packets of premixed spices that you can buy at Asian stores (they usually include instructions on how to cook the chicken with the premix). Umm. Premixes like these or these.

I've actually never cooked those particular chicken dishes from scratch; I've used premix packets. Can't remember the premix brands I used though. Anyway, I found herbal chicken recipes here, and here (this blog post reporting on the latter recipe with step-by-step photos). And recipes for salt-baked chicken, and five spice chicken. (Actually, if you have time, you could just browse for more interesting Asian chicken recipes..)
posted by aielen at 8:24 AM on March 31, 2008

To ensure tasty and easily cooked chicken breasts, the best techniques I've found are to trim and prepare the chicken breast and then brine it before cooking. Here is a primer on brining. Here is a another link about brining.

Brining improves the flavor and post-cooking moistness more than any marinade or other treatment that I have tried. You can always marinate the chicken afterwards. Also, you can add other seasonings/flavors to the brine to incorporate different flavors according to your recipe or whim.

Before brining, I always trim the thicker end of the chicken breast to make the chicken breast the same thickness throughout. Essentially you are aiming to make the chicken breast the same thickness for it's entire length. Then I've learned to place the chicken breast between two moistened pieces of saran wrap and then pound it lightly to make it a little thinner. This will ensure that your chicken breast cooks quickly, and more importantly, evenly.
posted by battlecj at 8:31 AM on March 31, 2008

My standard "I don't really want to cook" meal used to be* to take a frozen chicken breast, coat it with chili powder and a dash of salt, and toss it in a very hot cast iron skillet along with one onion chopped up. After three or four minutes over the heat, I moved it to the broiler for ten minutes to finish. The very high heat and fast cooking does a good job of keeping the chicken very tender and juicy, and the chili powder and salt is simple, but does wonderful things with the chicken and slightly burnt onions. While it was in the oven, I would empty a can of garbanzos into the blender (sans liquid) with olive oil, lemon juice, a tiny bit of cumin, and salt, and turn it on to make hummus. Chop a tomato and some lettuce to go along with it. I always had a bowl of pita dough in the fridge, and would roll one out to toss in the oven after the chicken came out, but store bought is good too.

*I no longer eat this because now I live somewhere where buying chicken means spending an afternoon plucking.
posted by Nothing at 8:41 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Chicken in Apple and Whisky sauce.
It's unbelievably good.
posted by rocket88 at 8:42 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: I usually cut the meat into chunks before i cook it, for a higher seasoned-edge to not-seasoned middle ratio. Doesn't dry out so much if you cook it speedily...

Then I pan-cook it in a little bit of butter/oil and...

- Soy sauce + merlot
- chicken stock
- Seasoned salt
- Chicken Fajita seasoning
- Cumin and salsa
- Italian dressing
- Italian dressing + soy sauce
- a bit of a packet of Ranch dressing mix
- a bit of a packet of Hollandaise mix
- Curry
- Cajun roux mix
- A bit of jelly, like orange or raspberry
- Garlic
- Lemon pepper
- Pumpkin pie seasoning

Sometimes I give it a light coating of flour, crushed nuts or breadcrumbs. Most of the above also can be marinades.

Another thing my family really likes is butterflied breasts containing goodies. Ricotta cheese and spinach / marinated artichoke hearts is a favorite...
posted by Gianna at 8:46 AM on March 31, 2008 [3 favorites]

Simple roast chicken is the best way to get big chickeny flavor. Thomas Keller's recipe is surprisingly straight forward. If you want veggies, toss some carrots, potatoes, turnips, rutabega, etc, in some olive oil and salt and put them into the roasting pan, stirring once or twice during cooking.
posted by slogger at 8:52 AM on March 31, 2008

KISS. A regular old whole chicken, rub a little olive oil on it, sprinkle with some Old Bay or seasoned salt, cook until just barely done (use a meat thermometer). It will be delicious.

Cooking temperatures are critically important. Buy an oven thermometer to make sure your oven temperature settings are close. If they are off, and most stoves are, it can make things way more difficult and unpredictable than they need to be.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 8:58 AM on March 31, 2008

look to different cooking methods completely. Skinless chicken breasts are so lean, they get rubbery in high heat - there's no fat to add moisture to the cooking meat. Brining (or simply salting heavily half an hour before cooking and then rinsing) helps a lot, since it forces water back into the muscle. Marinades can help, though what they're usually doing is just making acid break down the fibers (don't mistake the mushiness that comes with marinating chicken breasts with tenderness).

I think chicken breast is really good for cooking quickly in small pieces, either chunked up (for a stirfry, or in a sauce as for curry etc) or pounded very thin so it only needs a couple minutes over high heat and you're getting your browning and cooking done all at once (as for chicken parmesan). Just get it into a shape that will cook *quickly*, and everything you make will be fine. Trying to bake (or even braise or poach) a whole breast nearly always results in a lump of dried out blech, since it takes so long to cook through to the center.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:15 AM on March 31, 2008

The easiest way I know of to add flavor to flavorless anything is to make an Indian curry out of it. This requires a little initial investment in the form of spices but you can make endless combinations of dishes using them. They keep forever and you need to use very little of them. Try if you can to buy them at an Indian grocery store or an online Indian supply store because I've found that the spices you get in little bottles at supermarkets are very expensive by weight and have very little flavor. To start with the essentials are cayenne, cumin and coriander powder. Later on you can expand your reportoire to include turmeric, garam masala, cloves, cardamom etc. Cube your chicken up (if you can, use chicken thighs -- far more flavorful). Also cubing the meat is essential -- part of your problem could be that you're not dicing the chicken and not much of your flavorings is getting into the chicken. Fry a diced onion in a couple tablespoons of oil in a big pot or dutch oven. Now comes the fun part -- add a tbsp or so of each of the cayenne, cumin and coriander powders. If you have turmeric add a bit of that too, maybe a couple peppercorns, cloves or cardamom pods. Fry the spices with the onions. This is essential so that they lose that raw taste. Add the chicken and fry that for a bit and then add a can or so of crushed tomatoes. Let everything come to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and put a lid on the pot. Go do something else for half an hour -- come back to glorious curry. It really is ridiculously simple once you've got all the spices at hand.
posted by peacheater at 9:15 AM on March 31, 2008

coq au vin is a favorite of mine,1977,FOOD_9936_29816,00.html
(there's simpler recipes out there)

italian dressing then on the grill

oil or egg, coat with romano shakey cheese then broil or grill

i get the cold rotisserie chickens when they're cheap, pull the meat off, cook with onions, corn peas bell peppers and broth (a little flour to thicken) and serve over biscuits. kinda like an inside-out pot pie.

onions, eggplant, chicken, tomatoes in that order, about 10 mins between, in a big pan with good olive oil, lots of oregano and a little salt.
posted by KenManiac at 9:27 AM on March 31, 2008

Please try this recipe. You won't be disappointed. I've done it under the broiler, but it's much better on the grill. The ingredients are all marinade, and since it's pureed, there's little chopping. So easy, so good!

Jay's Jerk Chicken

6 green onions, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a blender, combine all ingredients (except chicken!). Mix for about 15 seconds.
Place the chicken in a medium bowl, and coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
Preheat grill for high heat.
Lightly oil grill grate. Cook chicken on the prepared grill 6 to 8 minutes, until juices run clear.
posted by peep at 9:27 AM on March 31, 2008

Stir-fry with bell peppers and mushrooms in olive oil with a dash of sesame oil. Wrap it up in a flour tortilla.
posted by neuron at 9:32 AM on March 31, 2008

Try making some mole poblano. Every Mexican family has their own recipe that is jealously guarded and I would be drummed out of my family if I gave up ours. Here is a google link to "mole poblano recipe"
posted by buggzzee23 at 10:05 AM on March 31, 2008

Easiest, most flavorful boneless chicken breasts you'll ever have:

Fill a pot with chicken broth (if you don't have enough broth, you can do 50/50 water/broth)

Throw in a handful of fresh herbs (whatever you've got, just don't be shy. Buying that poultry mix works well, but straight rosemary is good, as are lots of others, but basil might not be so good. You can also add cloves or pepper corns or whatever else.)

Throw in the chicken

Bring to a boil for 1 minute

Cover and shut off heat

Let stand for 15 minutes (you'll probably want to check the internal temperature the first time)

Enjoy. It tastes much better than it sounds. Tender and flavorable. As a bonus, if you are particularly fond of a batch, you can strain the cooking liquid, freeze it, and reuse.
posted by lionelhutz5 at 10:46 AM on March 31, 2008

Thanks for the nice links, battlecj. Anyone who cooks chicken should learn how to brine. Every two weeks or so my favorite grocery has a big discount on 2lb. (give or take) packs of boneless-skinless chicken breasts. I trim off the ends and small parts and brine everything for two or three hours. Then I pour off the brine, put the trimmings in a small container for stir fry latter on, and cook what I want. Brining acts as a preservative and the remainder seems to do OK in the fridge for maybe 4 or 5 days. Anything I’m not likely to use by then goes in the freezer.
posted by Huplescat at 10:47 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Flatten the breasts, marinate in Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic, Rosemary, Olive oil, and a dash of lemon juice.

Bake in a pan @ 350, making sure to flip them about halfway through to make sure that one side isn't too dry. Flip them again after taking them out of the oven to soak up more juices as they cool...
posted by schyler523 at 11:40 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Mrs P tells me it's all much simpler: add bacon.
posted by Phanx at 1:36 PM on March 31, 2008

One of my fail-safe recipes is stir-frying chopped up chicken breasts with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and onions (I usually caramelize the onions separately and add after). You can serve it with rice or noodles, or just on it's own. Quick, easy and delicious!
posted by Happycat79 at 1:37 PM on March 31, 2008

Response by poster: Great answers all-around guys, it'll be good for Metafilter to have a good chicken recipes thread. Best answers are ones that sound good for dinner this week.
posted by !Jim at 2:38 PM on March 31, 2008

I enjoy both strong and subtle flavours, but one thing I really like is to dry cook chicken in a frying pan.

Using my surgical stainless steel frying pan, which I love like a family member (well, not entirely), I get it very hot, slap the chicken breasts into the pan and put the lid on. These chicken breasts go in dry, no oil or anything.

Seems odd, but after a short while the moisture coming out which is trapped by the lid begins to recirculate. You'd think this would all burn but it doesn't, and the chicken gets an orange / brown colouring on the bottom, and the juices that have been released are now a liquid in the bottom of the pan. I then stir the residue from the chicken and these juices together, add maybe a pinch of salt, and it forms a slightly tangy sauce. Essentially I end up with chicken in chicken sauce.

Done right, the chicken has a slightly crunchy texture - not from burning or drying, but from the muscle fibers being properly cooked right through.

Also, the secret ingredient in a roasted chicken - smear it with oyster sauce, roast for 1 hour at 180C. It makes the skin tasty, crunchy and brown, and gives a nice flavour to the meat.
posted by tomble at 5:22 PM on March 31, 2008

Moroccan marinade:

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients, add pepper if you want it. Cover chicken breasts in marinade, refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cook as usual. Yum! Also works really well for chicken and vegie skewers, and you will probably always have the ingredients handy.
posted by indienial at 3:50 AM on April 1, 2008

I recently made a recipe from RecipeZaar (Moraccan chicken with apricots, chickpeas, honey, onion, tomatoes in a crockpot) that turned out great. Here is the link to the recipe--this is good with spiced couscous, but rice and garlic mashed potatoes would also be good sides for this.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 3:09 PM on April 5, 2008

Not sure what happened to my link, but here is the address:
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 3:12 PM on April 5, 2008

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