Two-step method for ensuring moist roasted chicken


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Posted Online: April 16, 2013, 12:49 pm
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The curse of roasted chicken — especially when you are working with parts rather than a whole bird — is how easily is dries out. A few too many minutes in the oven can be all it takes to go from juicy to chewy.

So we decided to create a roasted chicken recipe that all but guarantees moist, tender results, even if we get distracted a bit during cooking. We wanted a recipe that was both convenient and forgiving.

So we did two things. First, we opted for bone-in thighs with the skin removed. Thighs by definition are moist and tender, and particularly are good at resisting overcooking. Bone-in cuts tends to have more flavor and more moisture, but you certainly could use boneless thighs. Just reduce the cooking time slightly.

Step two is a salt water bath. Not only does brining the chicken help keep it moist in the dry heat of a roast, it also is a good opportunity to add flavor. We season it with black pepper, thyme, rosemary, savory and garlic, but you could use whatever combination of fresh or dried herbs and seasonings you prefer.

Following the brine, we coat the chicken with chopped walnuts and coarse panko breadcrumbs. The result is chicken that is lightly crunchy on the outside, but moist and tender at the center.

Herb-brined walnut-crusted chicken thighs
Start to finish: 45 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 8
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup water
1 cup ice
2 cups apple juice
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh savory
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Zest of half an orange

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the salt, pepper and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir in the apple juice.
Bruise the thyme, rosemary and savory by placing them a cutting board and hitting them with the back side of a chef's knife or a meat mallet. In a zip-close plastic bag, combine the liquid mixture with the bruised herbs and the garlic. Add the chicken thighs to the bag and squish around to cover in the brine. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 450 F.
Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Use paper towels to pat the chicken thighs dry, then arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the walnuts and breadcrumbs. In another small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, coriander and orange zest. Brush the mayonnaise mixture over the surface of each chicken thigh. Pat some of the walnut mixture evenly over the top of each thigh.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and 170 F at the center.

Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories; 120 calories from fat (55 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 17 g protein; 360 mg sodium.

















 



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  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.






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