Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brined Chicken and Pasta

Ok, I tried it again, after reading a friend of mine TKW guest posting on another blog I tried to plan a meal ahead.  The advise she gave was to plan at least three meals a week... doesn't sound too hard, a lot of people I know suggest that you plan every stinkin' meal, breakfast lunch and dinner at least a month at a time then using some series of post-its they somehow follow through on this twisted plan.  Me I am not up to planning a month at a time, in fact the last few meals that I have tried to plan were less than wonderful... but 3 meals a week should be doable.  So Sunday as I was making Cider Braised Pork Chops (Blog to follow on this winner by the way) I put together a Brine for some chicken that I had in the freezer.  not to make the same mistakes as I did before I thawed the chicken breasts under cool running water for a while until they were mostly thawed before I started.

Then I made the brine, in a saucepan I put:
2 quarts of water
1/2 cup of salt
1/2 an onion coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 sticks of thyme (use whatever aromatic you like)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
I heated it all up then put it in a large bowl and added 2 trays of ice cubes (I know not very scientific... you just want it cooler than room temperature when you add the chicken)  then put your bone in skin on chicken breasts (or whatever parts you prefer) into the brine to soak, at least overnight, I hear that this can soak for a couple of days in the refrigerator with no ill effects.  I don't completely understand the chemical process that takes place here but the chicken naturally pulls the salty flavored water in and you get a piece of chicken that is MOIST and flavored to the bone.

When it is time to cook heat up about 1/4 cup of olive oil in an oven safe pan and brown the chicken for about 10 minutes (turning a couple of times) when the outside is done to your liking add about two cups of chicken broth, two cloves of Garlic and a couple of sticks of Thyme.  Cover and put into a 350 degree oven while you cook for another 20 minutes. While that is roasting cook your pasta.  This is served with Orzo (one of my favorites) follow the package instructions, when the orzo is ready drain the pasta like you always do then pour it right into the pan with your chicken and let it set for about 5 minutes.

That 5 minutes is a good time to get the kiddo's plates ready once they are set you are ready to go, I pull the chicken out and bone it real fast then slice it up before I serve.  You see how it looks, you can serve this comforting dish however you like it best.


  1. Oh yeah! I love brined chicken, yours looks delicious.
    I try to plan meals and when I do it is actually very helpful but I just can't seem to keep it going, so well done!

  2. Brining makes such a difference, don't you think? Can't wait to see you at From the Monkey Bars this week!

  3. I have never tried brined chicken before, but I've heard that it makes such a difference! I have a hard time planning meals out for the week. We often end up eating the same thing, night after night! Thank you for sharing, my friend. Have a week of laughter and love!

  4. The chicken looks moist and delicious. I don't understand the science behind brining but it works. Now, where to brine the 20 pound turkey?


  5. I have GOT to try brining, Bryan. Saw Tyler Florence do it with chicken on his show and it looked marvelous.
    And so does yours!

  6. Orzo is one of my favorites too!