I accidentally discovered the perfect way to bake or roast chicken breasts when we lost power a half hour after I'd put about 8 pounds of marinated chicken breasts in the oven. As soon as the power went out I solemnly declared to all and sundry, "Don't open the oven door!" An hour later, after John got home from work and we sat down to eat, the chicken breasts were cooked to perfection: still nice and hot, tender, juicy, just the slightest hint of pink in the center, juices running clear as crystal--in short, perfect!
I've been making them this way once a week ever since, and I've come up with a mix and match list of ingredients to vary the theme each time. You can mix and match your own marinades and let me know what your family likes best.
I just start pouring stuff in the blender (except for the flavorful texture items) until I get an aroma I like. I'm not afraid to just start mixing (following some mysterious instinct I guess). It always seems to come out pretty good.
Fats: For a large family size pack of breasts I use anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup fat.
tahini (sesame paste)
Acid: Also about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of acid.
buttermilk (the enzymes in the buttermilk tenderize the meat like any of the other acids)
sugar (brown or white)
crushed red pepper
pepper (red, black, green or white)
Flavorful texture: to be added to the roasting pan after the marinade has been blended and poured over the breasts
sun dried tomatoes
pineapple (rings, chunks or crushed)
Mix the marinade ingredients in the blender and pour over chicken, turning pieces to coat. When you're ready, place breasts and marinade in baking pan with any other ingredients you like, cover, and bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the door shut for another hour. Should be perfect!
Some of the combinations we've enjoyed are orange, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and green onion; balsamic, olive oil, pomegranate syrup, garlic and rosemary; and soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper. This week I'm going to try lemon, butter, and tarragon with capers. Give it a try and let me know what you come up with!