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Old 07-30-2005, 02:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Do I HAVE to brown the chicken first?

Hi, All!

New here, not into domestic chores, really stupid in kitchen.

I have a recipe that says I have to brown the chicken first, then bake for 1.5 hours with a coconut milk sauce. Is it really necessary to go to all that trouble and mess to brown it first? Won't the oven be enough to cook it thoroughly?

Would love a quick answer - hoping to make this for tonight!

Thank you!


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Old 07-30-2005, 03:19 PM   #2
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Sorry to say, but yes, you should brown it first. That will seal in the juices and leave you with something tender and flavourful rather than a rubbery piece of chicken.

Good luck! Hope it is tasty!

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Old 07-30-2005, 03:27 PM   #3
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Yuck - that's what I was afraid of. Thank you for the reply!

Any suggestions on how to keep the mess to a minimum? When I brown the chicken, I have the worst mess to clean up all over the stove, counters and floor, and I constantly get burned by the popping grease, even with a splatter screen!
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Old 07-30-2005, 03:30 PM   #4
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The browning adds flavor. If you can brown it in an oven-safe pan then use that pan to cok the dish in the oven, there'll be less mess.

Also, start by drying off the breasts and try using less oil. Just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. That will minimize the popping and spattering. You could also cover the pan while browning.
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Old 07-30-2005, 03:38 PM   #5
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Sounds like a) you could be using too much oil, b) your chicken is wet (especially a problem if you are using defrosted frozen chicken), and c) your heat may be up a bit too high.

You should be able to brown chicken nicely on a medium-high heat, and if you get yourself a pre-seasoned cast iron pan or dutch oven you won't need too much oil as the seasoning makes it non-stick. A cast iron pan will also allow you to finish the cooking in the oven without changing pans....and cast iron pans are dead cheap too :)

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Old 07-30-2005, 03:45 PM   #6
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Very helpful ideas. Big thanks to each of you!
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Old 07-30-2005, 04:38 PM   #7
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brown in a deep caserole (cast iron or some HEAVY metal so it stays hot) the high sides will keep splatter down. and you say the splatter screen is not much help...hmmm.

Yup the browning seals in flavor and tenderness and adds a lot of flavor.
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Old 07-30-2005, 05:15 PM   #8
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I think it all depends on the recipe. I prefer the taste I get from browning it, but some recipes I have do not call for it. If you want to post the recipe we can tell you for sure if it is needed. Chances are though, as the others have already said, it is probably necessary.
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Old 07-31-2005, 09:38 AM   #9
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Wow - everybody is so helpful! Wish I'd found this site long ago!

I did dry off the chicken, and it really helped with the splattering this time. Will definitely do that in the future! But then I left it in the oven too long after baking and it ended up dried out. Sigh . . . very typical for me to screw up anything I make. If only I could afford to hire a cook!

This is a very tasty recipe, but I am so restricted on foods I can have that I have to leave out or substitute most ingredients in most recipes.

Coconut Chicken with Basil
2 T peanut oil (I used coconut oil)
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken legs (I used 12 legs, no thighs)
2 large onions cut in 1/2 wedges (omitted)
4 garlic cloves, thin sliced (omitted)
3 jalapeno chile stem/slice (omitted)
1 T caraway seeds, ground (omitted)
1 T cinnamon, ground
29 oz. coconut milk
2 cups Thai basil leaves, lightly packed, chopped fresh (omitted)
2 cups Opal basil, chopped fresh (omitted)
salt & pepper to taste (omitted)

Preheat oven to 400. In large, nonstick skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Add chicken in batches and brown on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and place in baking dish large enough to accommodate the chicken and coconut milk in one layer.
Using the same skillet with oil and chicken fat remaining, cook onions, garlic, jalapenos, caraway and cinnamon over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add to chicken.
Pour coconut milk into hot skillet and stir, scraping the bottom to remove any browned particles. Add to onions and chicken and mix well.
Bake, uncovered, 1.5 hours. Remove from oven, add basil and mix gently. Season with salt & pepper; serve immediately.
(I skip the 2nd paragraph and just heat the coconut milk and cinnamon together, pour it over the top, bake and serve. It's still really good without all the extra ingredients.)
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Old 07-31-2005, 09:52 AM   #10
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The recipe sounds lovely, Opus88 -
If you're looking for new recipes that would be suitable for your food restrictions, just post a question such as "ISO Chicken recipes without _____ or _____"
As you can see, this forum is full of folks who love to help each other out.
(and we're pretty fun too!)

As for the dried out chicken, we've all been there!

Welcome to our family, opus!

Come visit my foodie blog: www.SockmonkeysKitchen.com
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