Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Braised Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 a small onion, roughly chopped
salt, if needed

Salt the chicken then brown it in a little oil in a medium pot. Mix together the broth, garlic, basil, oregano, onion, thyme and pepper. Pour it into the pot with the chicken. Bring it to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook till tender. About 30-45 minutes.


So, originally I was going to include this recipe in my calzone post that I'm doing tonight, but I use it so often that I figured I would post it on it's own. That way it is easier to refer to when I eventually get a job and start posting work night meals. I really like braised chicken, it is hard to mess up. Since it is simmered in broth you don't really need to worry about it drying out and even boneless, skinless breasts have good flavor when they are done this way. I almost never eat them as is, I usually cut them up or shred them and mix them in with other stuff like rice, pasta, casseroles, sandwiches, etc. But don't let that stop you if you want to just tear into one, they are fine on their own (but you should spoon some of the broth over them, just to be on the safe side.). And a side dish or two would be appropriate. Heh.

You can use any chicken part you want, but skin gets really soggy when braised so I don't recommend it. The cloves of smashed garlic can be easily turned into a paste, which is also very useful for a mellow garlic flavor in things. Also the leftover broth is a good base for soups, stews, or for cooking rice in (you can chill it to get off any fat you don't want). It can also be frozen and kept for a long time. You don't need to use the Italian spices, replace the basil with cumin, add some chili powder and it's mexican. And so on.

Ok then, here we go. The chicken should be browned. Once again I am working with frozen chicken since despite all my free time I never manage to remember to pull it out to defrost properly. Browning frozen chicken in my medium pot doesn't work well so I just salted it, drizzled a little olive oil over it and tossed it under the broiler for a couple minutes. Worked fine. It's best to do it in the pot though, because then you get the fond. Also when you brown it in the pot you can season the chicken beforehand and it will stick, helping flavor later. Don't be shy with the spices when you do that, some will come off in the liquid. Now you want to mix everything else together. I don't have pictures of that because, like I said earlier, this was originally going to be part of another post. But I think you guys can do it without me showing you step by step. Heh. Now pour it into the pot with the chicken. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover it and let it cook till the chicken is tender, usually around 30 minutes or so. Mine will take a little longer since it was frozen. But that's it. Now you have a bunch of chicken to do with as you will. You can keep it in the fridge for a couple days or freeze it and keep it longer. I like to cut it into chunks and put it in rice pilaf during the last 5 minutes of cooking or you can slice it thin and make some sandwiches. Mix it into a red or white sauce and put it in pasta. Shred it, mix it with some cumin and green chilies and make enchiladas. Put it on pizza, top a salad with it, mix it in with a casserole. It doesn't get much more versatile than this.


The Brutal Gourmet said...

You have totally got me hooked on this method. I had never braised chicken breasts until you mentioned it, and now I have done so many things with these. You should get a good pan for this sort of thing. Something like this. Hmm... I should get one of them too. Onto my wish list it goes!

Bob said...

Nice. Yeah, they are good stuff. I love that I can make a whole bunch and use it over the course of the week for quick meals.


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