How to cook chicken breast to make it flavorful and juicy (and 11 recipes for maximum enjoyment)
Chicken breasts are convenient to prepare, inexpensive, versatile and low in fat. They are very popular with those looking to eat light or on a diet, but the (almost) absence of fat makes them bland and dry. Fortunately the latter can be arranged, as there are ways to cook chicken breast to make it flavorful and juicy.
The first thing to consider is the choice and preparation of the piece. As we always recommend, the ideal is to opt for fresh, good-quality breasts and, if possible, free-range chicken. We can do it ourselves or ask the poultry farmer to debone them, remove the skin and cut in half. Before cooking, leave to cool 40-45 minutes out of the fridge.
One of our preferred techniques for making chicken breasts juicy is to prepare a quick brine with a liter of water and 75 grams of salt. The breasts are dipped in the brine for 30 minutes, long enough for them to hydrate and flavor at the same time. Then we provide all the flavor we want using the herbs and spices that we like the most: paprika, garlic powder, oregano, mustard, etc. We finish the breasts in the oven.
Another option is to confit the chicken breast at 65 ºC for 40 minutes. It is recommended to use extra virgin olive oil, which will give it a lot of flavor, and add a few grains of black pepper, a bay leaf, a branch of rosemary or other herbs. The oil can be reused to confit again. Although optional, to add an extra touch of flavor, the breast can be marked on a hot plate before laminating and serving.
Super juicy baked chicken breast, pre-soaked in brine
This touch of griddle that makes chicken breasts so good adds extra fat, texture and a delicious caramelization point. Taking it easy is key to making them tasty, so goodbye to the rush. A trick to enhance all of the above is to lightly coat the chicken breast in grated Parmesan. In contact with the griddle, the cheese melts and remains crisp, forming a tasty layer that maintains the juiciness of the chicken inside.
They can also be cooked in salted water and glazed with a mixture of soy sauce, honey and lemon. Chicken breasts are juicy and these ingredients absorb the flavor, without adding a single drop of oil. Accompanied by white rice you get a very complete and easy to prepare single dish. Other options are grilled vegetables, salad, or even a creamy mashed potato.
Lemon spicy chicken breasts
Marinating is one of the most useful cooking techniques to enhance the flavor of food and change its texture. A basic marinade is made by mixing salt, oil, an acidic liquid, herbs and spices. With it the chicken is smeared and it only remains to wait for the magic to take place. The marinade softens the texture of the breasts and improves their flavor. No need to bundle up with a complex mix of herbs and spices: garlic, lemon, salt, oil and parsley are enough to multiply by 10 the flavor and juiciness of a chicken breast.
Finally, when there is no time to marinate or you don't want to wait for any other reason, the chicken breast can be cooked first over a light fire in a pan. Simply mark on both sides and then add water, cover the pan and finish cooking, creating humidity inside. The contribution of flavor reaches the end, when the meat is marine with a sauce, like the one we have used in this our recipe for spicy lemon chicken breasts, when removing from the fire.