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Jan 30, 2005 04:01 PM

Brining disaster!? Bouchon recipe

  • t

I made the brine from the Bouchon cookbook (p325) for a roast chicken. The recipe calls for 12 bay leaves, which i thought sounded a little excessive, but that's why they ask for, so i threw it in. This morning, I peeked in at the brine and the chicken, and I got a whiff of something distinctly medicinal, almost menthol. I haven't roasted it yet, and I don't know if it's worth roasting something if the brine has ruined it. could it be all those bay leaves? is this a typo? maybe they really meant 2 bay leaves! Has anyone tried this brine?

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  1. I haven't used this recipe, but I am wondering if you might have used bay leaves that are not labeled as "Turkish" bay leaves, or "imported" bay leaves. "Turkish" bay leaves have a milder, rounder flavor than California bay leaves, or leaves off the bay tree you might have in your yard. I don't think 12 Turkish leaves would have been too much, but 12 of the other type certainly would. The rule of thumb is to cut the amount in half. Even then, the flavor is a bit different, more medicinal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jeremy Newel

      thanks jeremy,
      the bay leaves i used were actually labeled turkish. i'm going to give the chicken a try anyway, despite the bizarre odor. i may just be very paranoid.

      1. re: thejulia

        Let us know how it turns out.

        Bay leaves do have a very strong smell. I put fresh or frozen leaves in the cavity of cleaned fish before roasting or grilling, even though I sometimes I get a headache smelling them while prepping. But when cooked, the fish tastes great, and the strong smell is gone.

        1. re: bacchante

          hi all, i posted above but i think it got lost. thanks for all the input and info. it turns out that despite the medicinal/menthol odor, the brine recipe was right on and the chicken was absolutely moist and delicious. lots of great juice as well. total success and highly recommended. (note that i don't really think it was necessary to put that many bay leaves in to still come up with such a great brine, but the main point is that it definitely did not hurt the results).

    2. Were your bay leaves fresh. I have found that fresh vs. dried makes a monumental difference.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nancy S.

        the bay leaves i used were dry. what difference have you found in between dry and fresh?

      2. Go for it....I've found that if the brine doesn't seem "over the top," then the final product has no flavor!

        1. a
          Amin (London Foodie)

          Julia, here is some info which may be of interest
          to you:

          Bayleaf: 'Taiz Patta'(Asian)This herb from the bay
          laurel tree, is used a lot in cooking, looks like
          the Asian curry leaves, however it is said that one
          must not put in more than one bay leaf as too much of
          it slows down the heart. It was thought to denote
          virginity in Roman times & in the latter years
          signified victory.

          1. Hope all turns out well.

            It's possible that the 12 is a misprint, and should of been 1-2?

            (Seen more then a few errors in cookbooks lately... and it's sad!)

            1 Reply
            1. re: SizzlingJoe

              I bet you're right. So many errors in this book, although I love it. For example, so many recipes do not include salt or appropriate salting technique. This doesn't make sense, given that this book is otherwise so meticulous about technique.