A proper marinade can turn a plain cut of meat into an epic symphony of taste. This is a pretty simple marinade that can teach you the basics, and it tastes pretty good to boot. I've only tried it on chicken, but I imagine it would work on any poultry, or possibly even pork. As always, if you're handling raw poultry...CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF.
- 1 tbsp vinegar (cider, balsamic, or red wine)
- 3 tbsp dried herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, or cilantro)
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (you can substitute grapeseed or similar)
- 1 tsp coarse salt (Kosher or sea salt works well)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 4-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, around 6oz. each
Put the herbs, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large freezer bag. Seal the bag and toss thoroughly to mix. Add the vinegar and oil, seal and toss again. Place your cuts of meat into the bag and seal securely. Toss the mixture and ensure a thorough coating. Place the sealed bag in your refrigerator. This is the actual marinating step, and it's important that you do it in the refrigerator as that will inhibit bacteria growth (and prevent you from getting sick). The length of time needed to marinate depends on the meat, and the following list is a good standard for any marinade:
- Chicken is ready after about 2 hours.
- Seafood shouldn't go longer than 1 hour.
- Pork can go up to 4 hours.
- Beef can (and should, for maximum taste) go up to 24 hours.
Once the meat is done marinating, it's time to cook. We're going to assume you're doing chicken (as per the title of this post), so preheat your oven to 375F. Line your favorite baking pan with foil (trust me, this is extremely helpful at cleanup time). Remove the breasts from the marinade and place on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. In other words, the chicken should be white all the way through. if it's pink/grey or spongy and slimy, it's not done. Once the meat is out, let it sit for ~5 minutes (seriously, this can help enhance the flavor). I like to serve with brown rice and asparagus.
DO NOT reuse the marinade. You need to throw away the bag once you've got the meat on the baking sheet. This is especially true for poultry, because salmonella.
Feast well, friends.