Chicken with flavour.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by freebiefreebs, May 10, 2010.

  1. freebiefreebs

    freebiefreebs

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    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.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Brining is an option.

    Use thigh meat instead of breast.
     
  3. freebiefreebs

    freebiefreebs

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

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    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
     
  5. french fries

    french fries

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    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.
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  7. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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       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
     
  8. freebiefreebs

    freebiefreebs

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    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?
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    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.
     
  11. freebiefreebs

    freebiefreebs

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    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. 
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    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.
     
  13. freebiefreebs

    freebiefreebs

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    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?
     
  14. warba

    warba

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    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.
     
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    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.
     
  16. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    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.
     
  17. seaside

    seaside

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    Freebiefreebs,  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif

    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!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
  18. titomike

    titomike

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    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/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
     
  19. freebiefreebs

    freebiefreebs

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    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!!