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Category Archive for: ‘Fowl’
Marinades, Brines and Rubs

Marinades

Marinades are flavor-infusing liquids best suited for tougher cuts of meat. In addition to herbs, condiments, spices, and oils, marinades typically include an acid, like lemon juice, wine, vinegar, even dairy.

Adding sweet ingredients to the marinade can help form appealing caramelized, crispy coatings on grilled meats.  The acids in the lemon juice, wine, vinegar, butter milk, etc will actually cook the protein in the meat by chemical reaction.

Always marinate in the refrigerator. And remember, if you’re basting with a liquid in which raw meat marinated, do not apply it during the last three minutes of grilling.

The good news:

Chicken, turkey and fish will take on marinade flavors much more quickly and effectively than red meats.  Fish only need to marinate for 30 minute to an hour.  Chicken and turkey 2 to 3 hours.  Red meats need at least 24 hours to work at all.  The more acid in the marinade the better and quicker it will work.

The bad news:

Marinades only penetrate the meat 1/8 inch at the most no mater how long you soak them.  Think of marinades as a sauce and don’t waste money on expensive ingredients for your marinades.  If you use sugar the sugar will tend to burn on the surface of the meat.  If you like charred meat, fine.  Don’t use alcohol either.  The alcohol will only cook the surface of the meat sealing it from further penetration of the other flavors.  If you use salt in the marinade then you are actually brining your meat.  See Brines below.


Brines

Brines are salty solutions that help lean meats hold their moisture so they stay juicy and tender during grilling.Brining is a popular method for preparing poultry, particularly turkey, and lean meats, like pork, that tend to dry out on the grill. Sugar, spices, and herbs are sometimes added to the liquid as well.Soak meats in a container large enough to submerge the meat completely without allowing it to float in the solution. Store in the refrigerator.

Before grilling, rinse brined meat to remove excess salt and dry it with paper towels.

Remember high school chemistry? Yeah, me neither.  But I do remember something about osmosis.  But I remember that in osmosis through a semi permeable membrane like the flesh of the meat, water or other liquid will flow from a lower concentration of salt to a higher one, back and forth until the concentrations are equal.  So first water flows out of the meat and salt flows in which starts to break down the proteins in the cells.  Additonal water will flow into the meat as the protein breaks down causing the meat to be more moist.

The brine can also be used as a vehicle to carry other flavors into the meat with the dissolved salt.  Hence the sugar (to balance the salt) and other flavors that will dissolve in water.

Obviously, there’s more going on than simple osmosis. It is true that salt enters the meat (it tastes more salty after brining). But why is it also more juicy? Well, when water flows out of the meat, salt flows in and begins to break down some of the proteins in the cells. In the broken down state, the molecules become more concentrated and the solute levels rise within the meat. This causes additional water to flow into the meat.

How Stuff Works has a short article describing osmotic pressure with a diagram that may be helpful to visualize the water flow.

What has happened is that through brining, we’ve caused a state change in the cells so that they will draw and hold more water than before. As we cook the meat, the heated proteins will begin to draw in tighter and squeeze out water, but, hopefully, enough water will remain to produce a juicy, tender piece of meat.

Always start with a cold brine.  Refrigerate or ice the meat while brining to prevent bacteria from forming.  Brine for 2 hours per pound of meat and cover the meat with a solution of 1/2 cup of salt per gallon of water.  The other stuff like sugar and herbs are just bonus flavors.

Rubs

Rubs are seasoning mixtures rubbed on meats before grilling to add spicy or smoky flavors. The best rubs enhance the flavor of the meat without being overbearing and are often blends of strong and mild spices and herbs. When oil or another wet substance is included, it is called a wet rub. A little moisture helps the rub adhere to the meat.

Rubs are an easy way to infuse the surface of your grilled meats with exciting ethnic flavors–from Cajun to Korean.

Setting aside rubbed meats for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight allows the spices to permeate the meat as much as possible.

Rubs are most effective when used on slow cooking meat as opposed to a fast grilling method.  Slow cooking allows the meat’s juices to blend with the rub while high heat grilling only burns the rub on the surface.

 

Good luck with your flavoring methods.  Here at the Fat Farm we almost always use either McCormik’s lemon/pepper or just plain salt and pepper.  We let the meat speak for it self – jughandle


Chicken Soup Progressive Recipe (stone soup)

This is going to be fun.  I am going to start out with a “how to make a chicken stock” and you all are going to add ingredients to the soup to make the final recipe. Please

Stock

Start with a very large pot, 12 qts if you have it.  We are going to make a lot of soup to freeze for later.

add 2 gal (8 qts) of filtered water.  If you don’t have a pot that large, fill the one you have about 1/2-2/3 full of water

Add at least 1 whole chicken.  Fryer or a roaster.  I’d pick a roaster because they are larger.

Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to a fast simmer for at least 2 hours.

The chicken should fall off the bone.  Remove chicken from pot and reserve, pulling the bones from the carcass and throwing them away.

Continue to reduce the stock.

1.  (jughandle would add) Salt and pepper to taste

2. (Darlene would add) 2 carrots, 2 celery and  1 onion, diced then sauteed in olive oil before adding.  This is known as a  mirepoix of veggies.

 

3. (Mittie would like to add) fresh thyme & tarragon. If you have a herb garden pick a few stems and strip the leaves into the liquid.  If you don’t like stuff floating around in your soup (I really don’t know why), you can do a bouquet garnie which is just a fancy name for wrapping your herbs in a piece of cheese cloth so it can be removed later.

 

4. Thank you Mittie, it is smelling good now.

5. What we should do now is to remove all the solids from the broth

  • first cool the broth to room temp or cool enough to handle
  • then strain out the solids with a strainer or cheese cloth
  • put the strained broth into a large bowl or pot and put into the refrigerator
  • the next morning the chicken fat will be solid on the surface
  • skim or ladle off the fat.
  • You now have a great chicken stock/broth to use in the following recipes
  • you can also freeze in plastic bags or bowls for later use

6. Darlene wants to make a Tortilla soup from the chicken stock. (please click on the link for the recipe)

7. Jughandle wants to make Italian Wedding Soup (please click on the link for the recipe)

 

 

Baked Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Baked Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

click here for print version

INGREDIENTS
1 lb chicken breasts, boneless, cut into 4 oz portions
1 oz olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, cut in half then sliced thin
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, chopped, (not packed in oil)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock (home made if you’ve got it, low sodium if you don’t)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry.Place an ovenproof skillet over moderate heat. Once warm add oil. When the oil is hot, add half the onions to pan and place chicken in the pan with the onions.
Cook chicken for about 8 minutes or until it will release itself easily from the pan then flip to cook the other side. Continue to cook for 4 minutes.  Stir the onions to keep from burning.

Remove the chicken from the skillet. Set aside.

Place remaining onions and tomatoes over the caramelized onions in pan. Allow the onions and tomatoes to sweat in the pan for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat and add wine. With a spoon stir the pan to remove the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This deglazing technique will remove the flavor stuck to the bottom of the pan and release it to the vegetables.

Add chicken back to the skillet. Add stock just until the liquid level reaches halfway up the sides of the chicken. Add oregano and pepper to taste. Cover with tight fitting lid and place in oven. Bake 30 minutes.

Enjoy.

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