Do you remember the last time you’ve grilled chicken breasts? No? Oh don’t get worried, your memory is just fine! You are in a good company – many people simply avoid grilling chicken breasts. Why? Well, for one simple reason – it often comes out dry as a desert!
In a whole chicken the breast is the leanest part, very low fat, and when grilling it dries almost instantly. So, since shortening cooking time isn’t an option here (unlike beef, chicken must always be “well done” – that’s a food safety matter), another obvious idea is to “push” extra liquids into the meat. Yes, you may use an injector, and by all means, if you’re in a hurry, do use it, indeed! However, there is a much simpler and basic way – brining!
Very often my recipes are quite complex, but sometimes I like to go back to the “keep it simple” approach, and this is one of those times. Hens, simply halved, rubbed with olive oil and spices and grilled – quick score when you don’t want to get into complications.
Despite its simplicity, this dish has a history of thousands of years. Pilaf, or palov, osh-palov, biryani, pulão… It has known countless variations in India, Balkan, Caucasian, central and south Asian countries, and it’s basis is rice, cooked in a seasoned broth. The usual meat of choice is lamb, but here’s a version of the same dish, but with chicken.
So, the chicken breasts… One of the cheapest cuts you can get, and one might think, quite simple to cook. But here’s the catch – this cut is one of the leanest ones as well, so, to keep it succulent and tender, you will find all kinds of marinating, brining and wrapping techniques suggested in the recipes. No, I am not saying these methods won’t work… On a contrary, they will, and you’ll most probably love the results, but… what if I told you there’s a way to grill an ultimately juicy and tender chicken breast completely fuss-free and ridiculously simple? Do I have your attention now? Good! Let’s go!
Today I want to share something very special. Usually, buckwheat is found in the organic foods sections of the supermarkets and not really popular among those who are not after pure organic and healthy food lifestyle. However for me, born and raised in the long gone Soviet Union, buckwheat is a taste of childhood, no less than that. Back then, unlike many other foods, buckwheat was freely available in the stores, and that made it one of the pillars of russian cuisine. The dish I am about to show you had no name other than “buckwheat with meat”… But I’ve taken it a bit further, upgraded it to the next level, if you like, and took the liberty to compare it with another dish I really like – persian pilaf, as, mind you, the preparation steps are almost identical. Hence, here I am, giving you the “buckwheat pilaf”, a dish which is about to change all you’ve known about buckwheat till now!
This is one of the most tasty versions of stuffed chicken breasts I’ve tried. There is something in the combination of the chicken breast meat with cheese and bacon, that takes this dish one extra level higher. What’s even better – it is one of the simplest dishes as well!
Well yeah, I’m a wee bit Scotch fan. Actually, there’s not even a single Irish or American whiskey in my bar – only Scotch single malts and couple of blends, like Ballantine’s and Johnny Walker. So for me pouring a shot or two of my favorite amber liquid into a sauce or a marinade was nothing but a matter of time. My first attempt was to add it to a brine, and what’s more natural to be brined than chicken breasts? Right!