How to cook a chicken breast so that it's not tough as old boots?

(43 Posts)

I'm 41 years old and consider myself a fairly good cook. But I cannot for the life of me cook a single chicken breast and have it taste of anything other than rubber. Tonight dh and I are having musakhan ( sumac chicken) with flat breads. Ours will be tasty because the chicken is plastered in an onion and sumac paste. I've cooked baked potatoes and roast chicken breast for the dcs and their dinner was virtually in edible the chicken was so chewy. I put it in a dish with a bit of water and covered it in tin foil in the hope of keeping it moist.
So is there a way of cooking just one chicken breast or do I need to roll it in bacon forever?

WaveorCheer Mon 14-Apr-14 17:39:55

Have you got a slow cooker? Slow cooked chicken breast is moist and tender and fabulous!

BarbaraPalmer Mon 14-Apr-14 17:41:44

does it have to be breast? I think you get juicer, more flavoursome meat on the thigh, even if you're using the skinless and boneless ones.

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Mon 14-Apr-14 17:44:32

I poach them ready to be used in salads during the week. Bung in a pan with some peppercorns, bay leaf, salt, carrot, celery and onion. Cover with cold water, bring to a simmer and let them cook for 25 minutes or so.

No slow cooker. I've used thighs on and off but the kids are fussy about the colour of the meat and it drives me mad trying to get enough meat off the bones for a whole meal for them.

Will try poaching. Do you find they stay tender like that? I guess poaching is what I was attempting to do with the water in the roasting dish today.

Canus Mon 14-Apr-14 17:47:57

Put it it/them in a Pyrex dish, and cover with water. Roast the hell out of them.

Probably more broiled than roasted, but very edible, and good for chucking into curries etc. if you have leftovers.

minniem Mon 14-Apr-14 17:52:02

Ok don't laugh but seriously try the Maggi seasoned papyrus sheets. You wrap them round the breasts and dry fry them.

I was at my sister's home for dinner and remarked on how juicy the chicken and the above is what she used.

I've used them a few times now and I'm a convert.

BertieBotts Mon 14-Apr-14 17:53:25

Chicken breast can be dry. Try frying or grilling instead of roasting it?

BertieBotts Mon 14-Apr-14 17:53:56

How long did you cook them for?

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Mon 14-Apr-14 17:58:35

They come out pretty tender and not dry. I poach whole chickens in the same way which is delicious plus the added bonus of a big vat of chicken stock which I then use to cook rice in.

yellowdinosauragain Mon 14-Apr-14 18:00:13

Flatten them, then spread pesto / curry paste / lemon juice / garlic / fresh herbs / boursin /tomatoes and basil / whatever you like onto it before rolling up into a sausage shape wrapped in cling film and cook in a pan of boiling water for 20 mins. Keeps the moisture in and is delicious.

Get one of those Maggi bags with the herbs. Lovely squashy juicy chicken smile

Don't cover the dish in foil - put the breast in its own foil parcel in the dish with whatever seasonings you want. We usually have garlic, butter and a lemon wedge. I find just covering the dish doesn't hold enough moisture, so fine for thighs and drumsticks, not good for breasts on their own.

Thanks all. So will try maggi bags and making a mini foil parcel. Incidentally our sumac chicken was tough too so maybe I had crap beasts - sainsburys organic though so should have been ok

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 15-Apr-14 17:25:36

I wrap the breast in loose foil with a touch of olive oil or lemon juice and cook for 20 mins or less.

Tell me about sumac paste please!

JamNan Tue 15-Apr-14 19:09:01

The secret with chicken breasts is they need to be cooked quickly on a fairly high heat - they dry out and become rubbery because there is hardly any fat, especially if they are skinless. I'm guessing you're using boneless breasts? Rub them with olive oil, herbs and grill 4-5 mins each side.

You could cut them up into chunks and fry them for 10 mins max. I sometimes cook them in the oven in a tin foil parcel with soy sauce, minced garlic and spring onion 20 mins and leave them to rest for 10 mins still in their juicy parcel.

You can steam them too and then leave them to cool and use in a salad.

Sumac paste sounds interesting OP
My DH does a lovely yoghurty tandoori paste marinade for chicken breasts.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 15-Apr-14 19:21:28

Jam-recipe please!smile

addictedtosugar Tue 15-Apr-14 19:27:45

Don't cook them for as long.
Chicken breasts usually take MUCH less time than the packet says.
And yes, they need some fat in there as well.

JamNan Tue 15-Apr-14 19:29:50

He's gone up the pub. I'll ask him later for the recipe and post it.

member Tue 15-Apr-14 19:29:57

I put them in roatong bags so they cook in their own juices & rest for 10 mins in the bag so the muscle fibres relax again.

I sprinkle them with spices and a touch of olive oil and do them in the George foreman - never dry or chewy - perfect slightly crispy outside with juicy moist inside. If you don't have a GF, then I'd grill or fry them.

QuietJackRabbit Tue 15-Apr-14 20:28:19

Have you tried marinating them in something acidic like a lemon or yoghurt based marinade? I find it makes chicken breast so tender that I end up triple checking it's actually cooked. It also stays moist.

Thanks all.
The sumac paste wasn't as tasty as I was expecting tbh. It was a nadia Sawalha recipe. Basically you cook loads of onions for 25 mins until they are really soft and caramelised and then mix the dried sumac in. Marinate the chicken with it. Then later smear half the oniony mixture over flatbreads and put the chicken on top. Cover with the rest of the mixture and roast in the oven.
To be fair to Nadia the recipe is for chicken pieces not breasts but the flatbreads were on the verge of burnt and very crispy before the chicken was cooked and the chicken was tough. Sumac flavour was very meh. It smelled divine so I was disappointed.

JamNan Wed 16-Apr-14 08:44:53

TANDOORI CHICKEN
For the marinade
knob of ginger grated
2 mashed garlic cloves
300 ml yoghurt
2-3 tsp of tandoori masala powder we use this one

Marinate chicken breasts (overnight if poss)
Grill for about 8 mins turning once

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