Kenji’s Secret for the Juiciest Chicken Breast | NYT Cooking
Home » Kenji’s Secret for the Juiciest Chicken Breast | NYT Cooking

Kenji’s Secret for the Juiciest Chicken Breast | NYT Cooking

If you give a kid a mortar and pestle And a bunch of garlic it might take him About 20 minutes to do but they will get Into a paste for You and they will like It hey friend this is Kenji Lopez Alton Today I'm going to show you why you Should be slathering Mayo on your meat Uh specifically how Mayo can help you Grill your meats or roast your Meats a Little bit more evenly get a little Better color on them and also Incorporate flavors in a way that sort Of preserves those flavors without Burning Them I'm going to demonstrate a with Some chimmy Cherry marinated chicken Breast so we're going to start out Making a pretty classic Argentinian Sauce made with dried oregano got Boiling water I'm going to get about a Half2 cup of this we're going to add a Big pinch of salt to it so this water is Called the Sala it's the you know salt Water essentially um and this is what we Use to Rehydrate that dried oregano so it's Almost like you know making a Tea so we're going to let that sit and Rehydrate that's going to take about 30 Minutes in the meantime I'm going to Make a little paste of of garlic and Salt a lot of people think of chimmy Cher as sort of like a pesto but with

Different flavors you know a pesto is Sort of an emulsified mixture uh of oil And herbs and garlic made in a mortar And pestle whereas a chimy cherry is Typically made with dried herbs and more Water and vinegar so that said I do like To start the base of my chimy cherry of The wet ingredients of my chimy cherry In a mortar and pestle because I think It pulls out more flavor from the garlic If you don't want to do this by the way You can use that technique of sort of Hand chopping a little bit and using the Side of your knife to sort of make a Paste against your cutting board if you Have a mortar and pestle it's going to Make that job just a little bit Easier so salt to act as an abrasive Here so I'm going to get that garlic Into sort of almost paste form so I'm Going to add olive oil I'm going to add About a tablespoon here first and I'm Going to go in this kind of circular Motion to emulsify It and I'll add a little bit another Tablespoon I'm going to add This to my hydrating Oregano okay and then we're just going To let this mixture chill out maybe Another 20 minutes or so and we will Come back and finish off the sauce then And then I'll show you how to turn it Into a marinade for Chicken okay so it's been about half an

Hour the oregano has rehydrated I think The recipe actually technically says you Should add the fresh herbs in there also During that half hour rest time I didn't Do that but I'm going to add it Now Fresh herbs going in red wine vinegar Black pepper for seasoning and Salt so this version of a chimmy Cher is Sort of the more I mean what I would Consider sort of the more traditional Version Um little more Salt great on grilled Meats obviously a Little bit less oily than than you might Sort of see uh some more modern versions Of it you can always add extra olive oil Sometimes I like to make it this way and Then add like a little bit of a drizzle Of olive oil on the the top just for Some more flavor really it's you know It's completely up to you all right so At this point now we're going to set Aside some of this as a sauce for our Chicken for later um and we're also Going to turn some of it into a marinade Now what I'm doing is I'm taking Mayo Here and to that I'm going to add some Of my chimy cherry if you've ever done This thing where you buy like a bottle Of like teriyaki sauce and you try and Marinate chicken in it and then you put It on the grill and it just burns Because it's so sugary if you cut that

Teriyaki sauce with mayonnaise first It'll prevent it from burning it'll get The flavor to sort of distribute nicely And evenly over the chicken I was quite Skeptical of this at first as Well virtually any meat that I'm going To be adding a marinade to I will cut it With mayo these Days all right so I got four chicken Cutlets here we're going to add some of Our marinade our Mayon get in there with Our hands slathered on all sides if you Were to say make a marinade with just Oil it would kind of run off and drip Off the chicken whereas mayonnaise is Emulsified so it's thicker and so it Adheres to the skin of the chicken so Really it gets all the flavors from that Marinade to stick exactly where it's Supposed to be so you get a lot more Flavor in there in the end let it sit at Least 4 hours up to 24 hours you can Probably even go longer in the fridge But 4 to 24 hours ideally is what we're Looking for um so we will be back in a Little bit to do That all right so our chicken has been Resting about 30 minutes I can pretend That it's been like 4 to 24 hours it's Really only been 30 minutes so this Method by the way I think I mentioned That it works really well for grilling Which it does it works well for like Roasting whole Meats like a whole

Roasted chicken or a whole roasted Turkey slathered in mayo is excellent it Also works well for pan searing Mayo has A lot of fat in it already um so we Don't really need to add any excess Oil We're going to get our chicken right in You can do this in a non-stick skillet You can do it in a stainless pan if you Want I'm using cast iron just because It's the sort of biggest pan we had here And I want to fit all these in a single Layer you want to let make sure that Cast iron preheats nicely because the Heat conductivity is actually relatively Low so will build up sort of hot and Cold spots if you try and heat it too Fast I'll flip these a couple times if I Were to just marinate the chicken just In the plain chimy cherry and try and Cook it on here it wouldn't have really Stuck to the chicken but because the Mayonnaise is more viscous and because It has those egg proteins that help Everything firmly stay in place get this Really nice sort of crusty coating on The chicken that Browns nicely keeps all The flavors in place even without Tasting it so you can see where all the Herbs and everything are stuck on there We're going to gently move the chicken Around the pan a little bit there are Some sort of chefs or cooks or cookbooks That will tell you put your meat in the Pan and just don't touch it after that I

Think you should move your meat around As much as you want it'll help evenly Cook it unless you're sort of really Jabbing it with a fork or really Grabbing it roughly with a pair of tongs You're not going to harm the meat you Know meat is not like a a soap bubble it Can handle some movement I'm aiming for Around 150° in the center um a lot of People say cook your chicken to 165 um 165 is a safe temperature uh 150° or Lower can also be safe as long as you Sort of bring it up there slowly and Then let the chicken rest for about 5 Minutes or so after you're done cooking It it's going to be just as safe and a Whole lot juicier than if you take it All the way to 165 a little bit longer another reason Why you should always trust the Thermometer and the visual cues in a Recipe instead of the timing you know The timing in recipes is always kind of A rough estimate because everybody has Different equipment uh everybody has a Different burner a good recipe should Always have visual cues it'll have Temperatures built in 140 149 I'm going To call it here so I'll P them onto the Cutting board one last swirl through That pan just to collect a little bit More Flavor all right ideally I would let Them rest about 5 minutes or so so that

The temperature can sort of come up and Equalize what's going on inside here Right now is that sort of the outer Layers of it are beyond the temperature Where you want the chicken to be while The very center is a little bit under The temperature that you want it to be At higher temperatures the juices tend To be less viscous so what happens is if You cut it open right now those areas That are hotter all of the sort of more Liquid juices uh will start to seep out So if you if you try cutting open a Steak or a chicken breast straight off The grill or straight out of the pan you End up losing a lot more juice if you Let the temperature sort of more Equalize inside the juices thicken up a Little more they stay more in place so That when you bite them uh they taste Juicier so I let Meats rest a little bit Just to sort of make sure that they stay Nice and [Music] Juicy So let's see what we got here though got A little bit more of my Jimmy Cherry I enjoy dining Alone by the [Music] Way it tastes very good I I always feel Silly at these parts ooh ah like um it's Um it tastes tastes really good I mean The crust is there all those flavors of The chimy Cherry are on the surface of

The chicken I think where they show Their best flavor they've browned to the Point where they've really developed Their flavor but they didn't burn which Is sort of the magic of mayo it'll do That to virtually any sauce you can Think of put it on your chicken or your Beef or your whatever and Grill it and You'll find it's like magic and then of Course we had some of that extra cherry On the side left over to put on Top all in all a flavorful piece of Chicken you can find the article about Marinating Meats in mayonnaise you can Find this particular ular recipe and you Can find the recipe for the chimy chery In fact you can find all of my nyt Cooking recipes along with all the other Great recipes on nyt cooking at nyt [Music] [Music] Cooking

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