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Monday, June 1, 2015

Quick Roasted Chicken Breasts

For the past few years I've been making oven roasted chicken breasts whenever I need cooked chicken for a recipe. Up until about a month ago I used a low and slow method for roasting that left the chicken a little dry. I diced the chicken or shredded it for recipes, including for chicken salad, and I sliced it to make chicken melt sliders and sometimes I would even serve it whole with some mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Then a few weeks ago I found a recipe for these amazing roasted chicken breasts. I hadn't realized how wrong my methods had been! I had never brined chicken breasts. A whole chicken, sure, but not plain, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I've never trusted the chicken to be fully cooked after only 20 minutes. Even with the meat thermometer I'm never completely sure it's done.

I decided to have faith and give this recipe a try and I was overjoyed with the results! This is without a doubt the juiciest chicken I've ever cooked. Even with the 15 minute brining time it still takes less than an hour to get it to the table. It's delicious all by itself and also works great in other recipes. It's my new go-to method for cooking chicken for sure.

Quick Roasted Chicken Breasts

Source: Gimme Some Oven

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups water
1-2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter
1 Tbsp all purpose seasoning (or seasonings of your choice, Italian seasoning is one of my favorites)

Begin by placing the chicken in a large mixing bowl or a gallon size zip top plastic bag. In a 2-cup measuring cup combine the water and salt and mix until the salt dissolves. Pour the water in the bowl or bag with the chicken and set aside for 15 minutes or up to 6 hours.

This is called BRINING and it helps the chicken hold its moisture when you cook it. If you're in a hurry you can go with the minimum of 15 minutes. It really doesn't need more than that but if you want really moist, tender, and flavorful chicken you can go for up to 6 hours.

When you're finished brining the chicken preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside. Lay out some paper towels and pat each chicken breast dry before placing it in the baking dish.

Brush both sides of each chicken breast with olive oil or melted butter. This will also help the chicken stay moist and will help the seasonings stick to the surface. Melted butter gives a better flavor, especially if it's salted butter, but olive oil works just as well and is probably better for you.

Season both sides of each chicken breast with all purpose seasoning or seasoning of your choice (remember to salt the chicken if your seasoning mixture does not contain salt) and roast in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. If, like me, you don't trust the chicken will be fully cooked in such a short time you can use your thermometer to check it. I was skeptical but it's done just fine all three times that I've used this method.

Once the chicken is cooked remove it from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

You can eat this as is or use it for another recipe but be sure to let it cool completely before you put it in the fridge. It's great with mashed potatoes!

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