Judy prepared a wonderful dish last evening in which she used a cooking technique called “Brining”. The brining solution she used was simply a mixture of water and salt.
When chicken or other meat is put into a brine solution, a two-way transfer begins. Juices from the protein are pulled out into the brine, while the brine (along with any added flavorings) is pulled into the protein. The end goal is to equalize the level of salt between brine and flesh.
As that's happening, other changes begin to occur. The salt changes the character of the proteins in the meat, breaking them down and loosening their grip on each other. In a way, it causes them to somewhat gel, and makes it harder for moisture to escape when the chicken is cooked. Sugars that are absorbed into the flesh hold on to water which helps keep the meat even more moist when cooked.
The Apricot and Rosemary sauce was sweet and tangy. The Brown Rice side dish brought everything together in a delicious medley of flavor.
From our kitchen to yours. Enjoy the adventure.
|Chicken Breasts with Apricots and Rosemary|
8 cups fresh tap water
4 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 pound Chicken Breasts, 4 breasts, boneless and skinless
1 Tbsp Peanut Oil
4 oz Shallots, peeled and sliced
1 small Sweet Red Pepper, seeded and diced
3 Apricots, ripe and fresh, pitted and quartered
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Rosemary, minced
1 cup Chicken broth, fat-free, low-sodium
¼ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
Whisk together Water and Salt to create a Brine. Place Chicken Breasts and Brine in a large bowl, pan or zip-lock bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 12 hours.
Heat Oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Remove breasts from Brining solution, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Place Breasts in the skillet, being sure not to crowd them, and brown well on both sides, turning once, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
Add shallots to the skillet and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
Add Bell Pepper, Apricots, Garlic, and Rosemary to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until aromatic, about 3 minutes.
Raise heat to medium-high and add Broth. Scrape up any browned bits in the skillet. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
Return the Breasts and any accumulated liquid to the skillet, with the heat on medium, and cook until the inner temperature of the Breasts reaches 165°F, about 5 minutes.
Season with pepper before serving.
Yields 4 servings. PointsPlus value per serving is 6. Prep time is about 20 minutes. Cooking time is about 22 minutes. Level of difficulty is Easy.
We served the dish with ½ cup of Brown Rice. Add 3 PointsPlus per serving.
Weight Watchers and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.
Recipes shown may not be exactly the same as those found on any website. Judy and I tend to "tweak" each recipe we feature, to some degree, incorporating our own unique tastes and ideas. PointsPlus values, however, are accurate.
Photo by Barry Baruh