When to Avoid Browning for Fluffy Chicken

When thinking about what to prepare for dinner, the question often is “What do I want to cook?” “But it can also be” How do I want to c...


When thinking about what to prepare for dinner, the question often is “What do I want to cook?” “But it can also be” How do I want to cook it? “

Sometimes you want to towel dry, scrub with salt, and tan each piece of chicken, savoring the sizzle, before adding liquid. Other times you prefer to take it slow, skipping the browning completely and stacking everything in a pot, then simmer, spraying your face all over it as it bubbles.

Skipping browning isn’t a shortcut, but rather another route to delicious results. Think about chicken soup: Because the chicken is not browned, it is spoon tender with a delicate flavor. It is the same chicken mafé, chicken tinga, gay khao man and so many other classic dishes. When lean chicken is seared over high, dry heat, its juices can evaporate and make the meat dry. So, while a golden chicken can be beautiful and complex, a pale chicken is juicy with a pure chicken flavor. It’s simple, in a good way.

Whether or not to sauté the browning depends on the cut of chicken and the ingredients that go with it. Chicken with bone and skin is a great candidate: the fat, cartilage, and bone are tasty enough to turn water into broth. Boneless, skinless chicken will make meat that is chewy, but needs a little flavor. Simmering in chicken broth or fiery ingredients can help, as in this recipe for quick braised chicken and greens. Brazing boneless thighs and stocked dark leafy greens makes the dish cozy, but the pickled peppers add a bittersweet personality.

Even minced meat doesn’t always need to brown. In many meatball soups, such as canh and sopa de albóndigas, you can immerse the meatballs directly into the broth, where they cook gently and eventually become chewy. (If you’re worried the meatballs might break, refrigerate them for 10 to 15 minutes to firm them up before cooking.)

Choosing not to sear is also convenient: no splashing on your stove, counters and yourself. No flipping or stuck bit fighting. The heat is lower, but the cooking is not slower. The cooking experience is smoother and the meat is more tender. It’s chicken in a pot, as sweet as it gets.

Receipts: Quick Braised Chicken With Green Vegetables | Spaghetti and Chicken Meat Soup

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