Need Tips on how to make tasty and juicy baked chicken
I tend to think that chicken breast fillets are too dry, so I am wondering if boneless and skinless thigh meat would be a good start for baked chicken. Also, what herbs and spices can I use as a marinade to make it taste wonderful. I am planning on serving it with baked macaroni and cheese, and vegetables. What can I do to make it just fall apart with a fork and be just juicy and bursting with flavor?
My favorite baked chicken is NOT low fat, but is ridiculously easy and the ultimate comfort food. Place a cut up chicken in a Pyrex pan and season liberally with the combination of spices below or Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic. Dot chicken with a stick or so of butter and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350, basting chicken every 15 minutes or so if needed. Served with butter beans and white rice, it's heaven on a plate.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
My lower-fat alternative uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a pocket cut in each, stuffed with goat cheese. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, basil, and a bit of white pepper. I usually glisten the breasts with olive oil and throw a little pat of butter on each for extra moisture, then throw in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 350. Yum!
My favorite baked chicken is Marcella Hazan's recipe. It's also one of the simplest. Take a nice fat roaster and rinse it thoroughly. Whack 4-5 cloves of garlic (in the skin) with the flat of a knife and toss them inside. Take 2-3 lemons and make them juicy by rolling them around on the counter, pressing hard.
Poke them several times with a fork and stuff them in th chicken. Use dental floss to tie the legs together, sealing up the cavity. Dust the outside all over w/salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic powder.
Roast it on a poultry rack at 325, the first 1/2 hour upside down. It'll take about 3 hours, depending on the size. The chicken comes out golden crispy on the outside and incredibly juicy and flavorsome inside. The gravy or stock made from the lemon-garlic drippings is fabulous. Or, you can just drizzle the juices over the sliced meat. O-O-O-h, Wilbur!
there are any number of things you can do. I agree that baked chicken breast are boring but so are plain chicken thighs so there is no relief just by changing cuts of meat.
Brine your chicken first. Take some water & salt & marinate the chicken overnight. If you want to add some flavors throw in some white wine, rosemary, & garlic or apple brandy/cider & cinnamon. I have had great success w/ jams or jellies. You know all that stuff you get in those gift baskets that you will never eat? Just melt it in the microwave & pour it over the chicken into a resealable bag & let sit for several hours. Grease the dish well & dump the entire thing into it. Then bake as normal. Peaches, pears, even orange marmalade work well. If doing something like that I would rethink the mac & cheese & make a rice pilaf or something that you could use to absorb the jam/jelly sauce but that is up to you.
If you can find peach or mango salsa marinate the chicken in that then bake w/ the salsa & top w/ shredded provolone or swiss cheese (skip the mac & cheese & serve rice pilaf to absorb the salsa)
I would get a bottle of Paul Newman's Oil & Vineager dressing and put the chicken and dressing together in a covered plastic bowl in the fridge for at least 8 hours if not overnight. Then pull the chicken out of the dressing and bake it at 325 until you get an internal temp of 155, if you are cooking breasts. go to 175 if you are cooking dark meat. Pull the chicken and let it sit for 10 minutes covered with foil. Should be ready at that point. You might want to put whatever spices you like on the chicken before it goes in the oven.