Chicken is delicious, versatile and diet-friendly: no wonder so many of us reach for it. That's right, nearly 70 per cent of Australian households serve chicken meat at least twice per week! Chicken can be fried, baked, minced, boiled, steamed, stuffed, rolled — the list goes on and on. Despite its versatility, some people are daunted by the humble chicken breast. The threat of salmonella makes people overcompensate and it often ends up overcooked, rubbery and dry. And, due to the mango shape of the breast, it's not as easy as throwing it in the pan and you run the risk of it being undercooked on one end and overcooked on the other. There's a benefit to the amount of delicious meat that can be found in one big, juicy breast (some are big enough for two!) that you shouldn't miss out on. So how do you avoid unevenly cooked and potentially dangerous chicken breast?
It involves some elbow grease but it is all worth it. Depending on its use (are you enjoying a simple chicken breast, or are you using it to roll or stuff?), the only thing you need to do is grab your meat mallet and pound away! Pounding the chicken breasts is the key not just to even cooking but a more tender and juicy texture. As the meat flattens out, the fibres stretch and loosen providing that tender texture. It reduces cooking time to retain more moisture and it reduces the risk of under or over cooking due to the even thickness.
If you don't have a meat mallet, no worries! Anything heavy and food safe can be used included pans, empty jars or bottles, cans or rolling pins! Just cover your breast with plastic wrap and go to town. If you want go the extra pile, you can pound flavour into your breast by laying down spices, herbs and oils before covering and pounding. Plus, added bonus, it helps you to relieve all the stress you've collected throughout the day. Stress relief AND delicious, tender chicken? Now that is winner, winner, chicken dinner!
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