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Chicken with flavour.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm new to this site and not sure if I am going about things properly.  Anyway, here goes - I wonder if any of the experienced chefs out there can help me.  I am trying to get the ultimate flavour from a chicken roulade dish that I do.

I use free range chicken.  My stuffing contains brown mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, onion, bacon, garlic, mixed herbs (sage, thyme and parsley)salt and black pepper.  I serve it with a white wine sauce infused with mushroom, shallots and sage. It all tastes fine EXCEPT I feel that the chicken meat is still boring old chicken meat.  I was thinking of perhaps putting a rub on the meat, or using a marinade for several hours before I make the roulades.  Before I do, maybe someone can tell me a simpler way of getting that elusive flavour from the meat itself.

Any help would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 19

Brining is an option.

 

Use thigh meat instead of breast.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi Phatch,  Thanks for the suggestion.  I have never done anything like that before.  Will it not make the meat excessively salty? 

post #4 of 19

While you can do a strong brine for curing there are also weaker brines for plumping of the moisture and flavor of meats. I don't have a recipe/ratio guide off hand but brining chicken has been discussed here a bunch. Try out the search function and here's a link to get you started with a search on "brining chicken"

http://www.cheftalk.com/search.php?search=brining+chicken

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 19

You can brine or marinate chicken all you want, if it doesn't have much flavor to start with, you'll be left with the brine or the marinade's flavor. If your free range chicken doesn't have much flavor, try to source a better one. I started buying chicken at the Farmer's Market not long ago, and it's very flavorful, not like anything I can get at the supermarket, not the Free Range, not the Organic, not the organic free range, etc...

 

I believe it's worth the search.

 

Otherwise, maybe chicken is not the right meat? Try veal? Pork?

 

I agree with Phil that chicken thighs will give you the most flavor.

post #6 of 19

Another idea.

 

When you prep the chicken and strip off fat chunks and skin, save them. Render them down for their fat (schmalz). Do the initial browning of the chicken in the schmalz to reinforce the chicken flavors.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Another idea.

 

When you prep the chicken and strip off fat chunks and skin, save them. Render them down for their fat (schmalz). Do the initial browning of the chicken in the schmalz to reinforce the chicken flavors.


 

 

 

   Ahhhh...nice.  Thanks Phatch

 

 

 

   Freebie, 

 

    Are you cutting the meat off of a whole chicken or buying individual breasts?  What size bird?  

 

    What temp are you cooking the breasts to?  My initial thought is that you may be overcooking the chicken.  Even if it's just a slight amount chicken can quickly become stripped of flavor by overcooking.

 

    let us know how your progress is...

 

    dan

 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your help.  I must be honest and say that I don't like the idea of brining however the rendering of the fat for browning is a great idea, thanks.  I will also source a more "free range" chicken from a market other than a supermarket.  I am using individual breasts, approx 120g each skinned. I brown them on med heat with butter and then pop in oven at 400* for 15mins. 

 

Just a thought - If I were to incorporate any other ingredient in the stuffing that might permeate through the meat while resting in the fridge before cooking, would anything like that help?

post #9 of 19

I use approx 600 free range no hormone birds per week.(Murrays Brand from Fallsburg NY.) I can tell you breast meat has no flavor,its what you infuse in it.

We lightly marinate in a salt spice sugar solution overnight. Then we butterfly and pound the   breast.sprinkle it with s&p and any other herb or spice we want to use.  stuff and roll it in greased parchment paper and put in fridge till service. You may want to sprinkle a bit of parm, or asiago ,or romano cheese on the inside of breast as this gives flavor to it.( Watch salt when using cheese or bacon.) Good luck, also 400** is a bit to high.


Edited by chefedb - 5/16/10 at 7:08am

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 19

If you put lipstick on a pig it's still a pig, or in this case it's still a chicken.  Boneless skinless chicken breasts are very bland by nature.  It sounds like you have a lot of flavors in your dish already which should compliment the chicken nicely.  If you're looking for more complex flavor then use a different meat like pork or veal, or even rendered duck breast.

 

Another option is to search and find a good source for chicken.  If I have to buy boneless skinless chicken breasts I have found that Murray's taste the most flavorful to me rather than the organic.  I don't always have the option to go to the farmer's market.

 

Another thing you might consider is proper seasoning.  Do you use plenty of salt/pepper on your chicken breast before you sear it?  Quite often lack of flavor means lack of salt.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Great advice Ed, Thanks.  Will do similar. I am assuming that my timings are ok as you don't mention that.  I will reduce the heat. 

 

Thanks Koukouvagia, I have already found a source for "real" oldfashioned chickens since my last posting. 

post #12 of 19

Start checking at 30-35 minutes as the stuffing contains moisture which the heat turns to steam, and helps cook the  inside faster. When you remove from oven let set for 5-10 minutes before you slice. And before you put in oven let the roulade get at room temp.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi Ed,  I only had the roulades in the oven for 15mins 'cos they had been browned in a pan first and also they were flattened.  The filling had also been started in a pan beforehand.  Iwould only have put them in for 30 mins approx if I had not flattened them.  Am I doing something wrong here?

post #14 of 19

Freebs, along the lines of what Ed suggested, you can make a "tea" of herbs and spices, in a 1/2 cup of water & 2T olive oil brought to simmer and left to cool; you can add 2-3T of salt to the warm solution to dissolve then dilute with 6-8 cups of cold water and "brine" your chicken.

 

To get infusion you only need to have the "brine" solution more salty than the water inside the chicken.. so a "brine" needn't be strong like your were making pickles. Also, you can then leave it overnight and don't need to be concerned about getting an over-salted chicken.

 

The infusion gives the breast meat a subtle flavor, and the very small amount of salt encourages the cells to retain their moisture and so will leave the meat with moisture.

post #15 of 19

I must be missing something. Between your filling and your sauce I don't think you're going to up the flavor much more. I mean, we're talking chicken breasts, after all; the least flavorfull poultry available.

 

If all those mushrooms etc. don't do it, it's not gonna happen. Not unless, as Koukouvagia suggests, you go with a different meat altogether. Veal or pork would be better choices, among easily available meats. But even gamebird breasts would provide more inherent flavor.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #16 of 19

Agreed with all advice above.  Thighs my choice too.

 

Are you seaoning the chicken enough?  May be something as simple as not enough S&P.  Could try browning them of in bacon fat  or lard for more flavour.  And if you are lucky enough to have some - duck fat.

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #17 of 19

Freebiefreebs,  

 

I live in the UK, I only buy largish free range Cornfed chickens with lots of yellow fat on them,  I dislike organic chickens - (very strange tough as old boots,  birds).

 

The thigh meat on these cornfed chickens are amazing, as is the rest of the meat.

 

Tescos and Waitrose have them, but as you are in Ireland do not know if you have those shops there, otherwise Farmers Markets is another choice,  good luck!! 

post #18 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warba View Post

Freebs, along the lines of what Ed suggested, you can make a "tea" of herbs and spices, in a 1/2 cup of water & 2T olive oil brought to simmer and left to cool; you can add 2-3T of salt to the warm solution to dissolve then dilute with 6-8 cups of cold water and "brine" your chicken.

 

To get infusion you only need to have the "brine" solution more salty than the water inside the chicken.. so a "brine" needn't be strong like your were making pickles. Also, you can then leave it overnight and don't need to be concerned about getting an over-salted chicken.

 

The infusion gives the breast meat a subtle flavor, and the very small amount of salt encourages the cells to retain their moisture and so will leave the meat with moisture.

Thanks for the explanation

 

So if you used reduced chicken stock brine wouldn't that infuse some flavour into a sad breast?...could be a good use for the salty powder stock
 

"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans."
Allen Saunders, 1957.
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"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans."
Allen Saunders, 1957.
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post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks all, for each posting of advice.  I never thought I would get such results!

 

Warba - thanks for the detailed explanation - I will do it.  I am assuming that your "T" is a tablespoon!!

 

I have used genuine free range chicken straight off the farm, taken the breasts off myself and have been pleased with the results.  I am still going to give the brining a go though.

 

Trouble is, my husband is getting fed up with chicken so I have to wait a reasonable time between experiments!!

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