Chicken is a versatile dish and there are many ways of cooking it. More often than not, you will not go wrong when you cook it at home. The most tender part of chicken meat is its breast. Now, if you think cooking it is a rocket science, then you are mistaken. It is actually very simple.
There are many different ways of cooking it. The methods are broadly classified under two categories, namely dry heat cooking and moist heat cooking. The methods that fall under dry heat include baking, roasting, grilling, sautéing, and deep frying, whereas methods like microwaving, poaching, baking in parchment, steaming, and slow cooking fall under moist heat cooking.
The basic rule of thumb is that, while using moist heat cooking method, you should use low heat for a longer period of time and when you use dry heat cooking, use high heat and cook for a shorter duration of time. If you cook the meat on high heat while using moist heat cooking method, chances are high that the chicken will dissolve in the liquid, that you are using to cook.
However, if you cook it on high heat for a longer period of time, then it will become very dry and the meat will become very tough to chew. In order to have juicy and moist meat, it is recommended that you brine it before cooking. For brining, place thawed chicken breast in a solution of salt and water for about an hour in the refrigerator before cooking.
Healthy Ways to Cook
A chicken breast with bone weighing about 6 to 8 oz. will require to be roasted for 30 to 40 minutes at 170 °F and grilled for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you use 4 oz. of chicken breast, without the bone, you will need to roast it for 20 to 30 minutes at 160 °F, and 6 to 8 minutes to grill it.
This is one of the healthiest methods of cooking.
- Chicken Breast, 8 pieces
- Onions (sliced), 2 pieces
- Tomato Soup (condensed), 1 cup
- Water, ¾ cup
- Vinegar, 3 tbsp.
- Worcestershire Sauce, 2 tbsp.
- Cinnamon, ¼ tsp.
- Paprika, 1 tsp.
- Black Pepper, ¼ tsp.
- Chili Powder, 1 tsp.
- Cloves, ¼ tsp.
- Mix onion slices, tomato soup, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, and cloves in a sauce pan.
- Bring all the ingredients to a boil. Stir occasionally.
- Arrange the chicken breast pieces in a oven-proof cookware.
- Pour the sauce you just made over the chicken.
- Cover it for about an hour and cook it at 350 °F.
- Check if it is cooked.
- If not, cover again and let it cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.
- If you want the dish to be dry, then remove the cover during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
To cook it in a Crockpot, you can either use chicken broth or normal water.
- Boneless Chicken Breast (split), 3 pieces
- Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 can
- Onion (chopped), 1 piece
- Garlic (minced)
- Cloves, 3
- Mushrooms, 1 can
- White Wine, ¼ cup
- Salt and Pepper as per taste
- Layer the chicken breast at the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Spread salt and pepper on the pieces, as per taste.
- In a sauce pan, combine cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth and wine, and bring it to a rapid boil.
- Then pour the sauce over it.
- Drain the mushrooms and top the chicken pieces with the mushrooms.
- Add garlic and onion. Set the Crockpot on high for about 30 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low (however, do not keep it on 'keep warm' mode) and let it cook for about 7 to 8 hours.
- Stir before serving.
Both the methods of cooking are healthy, as they do not use oil. You can certainly add other spices as well. Both of them will taste good when served with steamed rice or noodles.