Peggy Lampman's Saturday dinnerFeed: Brined-grilled chicken breasts with blackberry sauce
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
I thawed some skinless, boneless chicken breasts (purchased from another sale!) to grill. I much prefer the taste of chicken when it has been cooked with the skin and bone attached - the extra protein and fat gives the flesh so much additional flavor.
So when cooking "sans" skin and bone, I try to think ahead and made a quick brine. This injects a bit of juiciness into the chicken, especially when grilling. Brining was the "flavor of the month" several years back, but it was overkill. I ate way too many foods that lost their unique flavor and texture when brined. That being said, when grilling lean chicken breast and pork, that sodium-sugar injection keeps the food from drying on the grill.
And the warning bears repeating: I'd rather eat chicken jerky than over-brined chicken. An extra thirty minutes in the brine may yield overly salty chicken with a texture of rubber bands.
Yield: 4 chicken breast halves
Making/Chilling Brine Time: 45 minutes
Brine Time: 30 minutes
Active Time (includes making sauce and grilling breasts): 25 minutes
Cost: Approx. $9 (using ad item ingredients)
1/4 cup of kosher salt
1/4 cup of brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sauce
4 chicken skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves, tenderloins removed
3 cups (10-12 ounces) fresh blackberries, divided
3 tablespoons red wine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sour cream, optional garnish
Fresh mint sprigs, optional garnish
1. If chicken breasts are not of uniform thickness, place breasts on top of waxed paper and place additional waxed paper over chicken breasts. With a meat mallet or hammer, gently pound chicken to 3/4-inch uniform thickness.
2. To make the brine, in a large shallow dish, completely dissolve salt and sugar in 1 cup hot water. When totally dissolved, add 7 cups ice-cold water. Add chicken breasts to cold brine, and brine 40 minutes.
3. To make sauce, in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed sautÃ© pan heat half of berries, sugar and wine over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10-15 minutes or until berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and syrupy; stir occasionally breaking down berries with the back of a spoon. Turn off heat and add remaining blackberries and pepper to sauce. (This yields 1 cup and can be made up to 24 hours in advance.)
4. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from brine and wipe excess moisture from chicken with paper towels. Grill chicken breasts,on a well-oiled grill rack, 5-8 minutes on each side, depending on heat of flame. Spoon blackberry sauce over each breast, garnish with sour cream and mint sprig, if using, and serve.