I’ve been reading about “brining” meats¹ for a long time, and have always been curious about it – so when I saw a recipe that featured “brined chicken”, I printed it out and presented it to the chief cook and bottle washer of the house, Julian. He was rather taken with it – not so much for the recipe itself, but because the chicken was marinated in the “brine” that Feta Cheese usually sits in in Continental Delicatessens. “What’s more,” this recipe went on to say “if you can’t buy your Feta cheese in its own brine, it’s easy to make the brine yourself”, and then went on to describe how you could dissolve a little bit of Feta in ordinary tap water, etc., etc. and there you are, there’s your Feta cheese brine! Julian went out and bought some Feta cheese, and some chicken. The next day, while I was busy with World of Warcraft, he made up the “brine”, or “slurry”. What he did was not what I think the recipe meant, but the resulting chicken was about the best I’ve eaten for quite some time. Here’s how he did it.
You will need:
And this is what you do:
Crumble the Feta into a large(ish) jug, and mash it up with a fork or similar instrument. Add the water, a little at a time, stirring and mashing as you go – this should create a fairly watery “paste”, or “slurry”. Cut your chicken breast in half lengthwise² and put it into a large zip-lock sandwich bag with a couple of sprigs of rosemary, if using. Carefully pour in all of the Feta brine, or slurry, and squeezing as much air out as you safely can, zip up the bag. Gently massage the chicken, rosemary and brine together for a while, then place the zip-locked bag in the refrigerator for about 8 hours, or overnight.
To cook: prepare and heat your frying pan with a little (a very little!) olive oil. Remove the chicken pieces and rosemary sprigs from the zip-lock bag, and discard the rosemary sprigs. Gently shaking any excess brine or slurry from the chicken pieces, and pan-fry as usual – the chicken will remain moist, tender, and delicious.
Serve with plain steamed rice, but you could serve it with anything from chips and beans, to mashed potatoes and spinach, or any other accompaniment you liked!
It is my considered opinion that this “brine” or “slurry” would probably work well with other meats, especially lamb backstraps, and lamb fillet, and maybe even fish (although I’m only guessing here – I don’t eat fish as I’m allergic to it)
¹ “brining” meats – basically, marinating meat in salt water.
² 200 g of Greek Feta – the brand that Julian used was “Dodoni“, and is available in supermarkets.