Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daring Kitchen - Brining

Blog-checking lines:  Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

Hilary has brined food before, and as a technique, it's not particularly difficult - dissolve some salt in water, add some spices, submerge the food to be brined and let it sit for awhile and cook as you normally would.  So the real challenge for me this month was to cook a chicken.  Once upon a time I was a vegetarian, and while I enjoy meat now, I'm still not very good with handling it raw, or in any physically identifiable form.  Hilary is often required to cut up my chicken before serving it to me if we are having thighs or drumsticks.  A nice slice of breast meat that I can't tell at a glance where it came from?  No problem!

So to challenge myself to cook a whole, raw chicken, seemed slightly insurmountable.  What has always happened in the past when I have been faced with no option but to cook something like this, there was simply no way that I could eat it afterwards.  But that didn't happen this time!  Hilary helped with getting the bird ready for the brine, but I ran with things from there.  I even made stuffing and stuffed the bird myself (with my bare hands!  no spoons!)

Zipper locked bags* work great for brining.  

The chicken did not brown up as well as I would have liked, but I think that is because I didn't start it off in a very hot oven before lowering the temperature.  It didn't look very appetizing, but it still tasted great (even the skin)

The chicken was super-moist and tasty.  Hilary found it a bit too salty, but she had a drumstick.  I found the (non-identifiable!) breast meat to seasoned just right.  I will confess that I had to have Hilary carve and serve.  If I had done it and the knife had come even close to hitting a bone, I would have had to order in pizza.

Overall, it was a great challenge, and while I still have meat issues, I cooked a whole, from raw, chicken (mostly) by myself!  

* We use the no-name ones, which work just as well, so no need to call out a major brand by name when I don't even use it.
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