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Old 11-04-2004, 03:53 PM   #1
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Help me troubleshoot this recipe

I am putting this post in the general questions area because it could fit into a number of different areas plus this one seems to get the most traffic.

I am hoping you guys can help me figure out what I did wrong. I made my baked chicken and leek risotto for dinner the other night. I have made this dish about four or five times in the past and it has always come out great. Well the other night it came out good, but the chicken was a little dry. I did a few things a little different this time around, but none of them should have resulted in dry chicken as far as I can tell. I will post the recipe at the end, but here is what I did different...

The recipe called for browning the chicken in oil. I usually use olive oil to do this, but this time I had some bacon fat leftover that I wanted to get rid of so I figured I would use that. I also did put in a touch of olive oil just for good measure.

I also brined the chicken, but usually my brine is just water and salt. This time I added sugar as well. I never measure my brine so I can't say exactly how much salt and sugar I used, but I can say that I used less sugar than salt. The chicken was in the brine for 2 hours (my usual for breasts).

I used more chicken then the recipe called for. The recipe calls for one breast. I had three that I wanted to use so I doubled the recipe, but used three breasts instead of two.

The last thing I did differently was that the recipe says to put a casserole in the oven while preheating, then brown the chicken in a skillet and then move it to the casserole. Well I just got a dutch oven so I figured I would just brown the chicken in that and then move the whole thing to the oven.

I do not think any of these things would result in dry chicken, and actually the brine should have made it more moist, but something went wrong. Does anyone have any ideas? Usually the chicken in this dish is super moist.

Thanks everyone. I am sure that if anyone will know the answer it will be someone here :)

OK here is the recipe:

Baked Chicken and Leek Risotto

½ tablespoon oil
½ leek, sliced thin
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 cup short grain rice
1/8 cup white wine
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh thyme


1. Preheat oven to 300 and put a casserole dish with lid in oven to warm. Heat oil in saucepan over med heat. Add leeks and cook till soft.

2. Add chicken and cook, stirring for 2-3 min or until it gets some color. Add rice and stir to coat well. Cook another minute.

3. Add wine and stock and bring to boil. Pour into casserole dish and cover. Cook in oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway thru. Remove from oven and stir in parmesan cheese and thyme.

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Old 11-04-2004, 04:02 PM   #2
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*ponders* Lemme check my copy of McGee when I get home. He has a section in his book "On Food & Cooking: The Art and Science of the Kitchen" on poultry and I believe he discussed reasons behind dry meat. I'll take a look and see what I can find when I get home.
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Old 11-04-2004, 04:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Weeks!
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Old 11-04-2004, 04:49 PM   #4
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Could be the chicken.
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Old 11-04-2004, 05:04 PM   #5
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too much chicken, not enough brine??
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Old 11-04-2004, 05:08 PM   #6
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I was wondering if it could just be the chicken itself. It looked like really good stuff though, but I do know that looks can be deceiving.

There was plenty of brine. I had them completely submerged with another 5 or 6 inches on top.
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Old 11-04-2004, 05:39 PM   #7
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GB, did you cook longer than usual? Or did you leave the dish uncovered in the oven? Those would be my two checks.
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Old 11-04-2004, 06:14 PM   #8
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Believe it or not I have never used a brine for my chicken. I should try it though. Do you do this only when the chicken has the skin and bone? Does it make the chicken taste salty? What percentage you you use water to salt?

Sorry, I know this is a basic for most people, but I never learned this process from anybody or any recipe.
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Old 11-04-2004, 06:35 PM   #9
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GB - I'm thinking it was not transferring the chicken from a skillet, but using the already well heated dutch oven that you browned it in? The pot was too hot? Was the whole dish drier than usual, or just the chicken? Did you maybe pre-cook the chicken a little longer?
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Old 11-04-2004, 06:47 PM   #10
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I know that this response will not be very helpful..but I dont think that you did anything wrong..I see no reason at all not to use the same pot for browning and cooking..infact I do it all the time...why wash 2 pots when you can wash 1?!

So if you did nothing wrong..what could the reason be for dry brined chicken?? We may never know! :roll:
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