Thursday, December 22, 2016

Baked Chicken Breasts

Growing up my mom always cooked chicken to a crisp.  I honestly didn't know that chicken was supposed to be a juicy until I started cooking for myself.  Still, boneless, skinless chicken breasts have a tendency to dry out pretty quickly.  I have been searching for ways to prevent this from happening.  Turns out, brining is key.  This recipe turns out moist, well seasoned chicken breasts every time.  I bake up a few breasts, and keep it in the fridge for additions to salad, or for a quick bite of protein. 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded to an even thickness)
1/4 c. kosher salt
1 quart warm water
1 Tbsp. melted butter or olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika

Pour warm water and salt into a quart size resealable plastic bag.  Place chicken into bag, place in to refrigerator, allow to brine for 15 minutes or up to six hours (the longer it brines, the saltier your chicken will be, so keep that in mind).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Remove chicken from brine and pat dry.  Place chicken in a single layer in a large baking dish.  Brush both sides with melted butter or olive oil.

In a separate bowl, combine the 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.  Rub the mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center (should be 170 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken).

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes (resting is also essential to keeping the chicken moist).

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