21 NOVEMBER 2011
Our cousins across the pond have been using brine for more than just preserving for yonkers – pick up an old American cookery book and you’ll find no end of its mention.
Contrary to what you might think, placing chicken or turkey (or portions thereof) into a heavily salted and sugared solution actually makes the meat more moist and the skin ends up crispier (just dry it in the fridge for a while or with paper towels after brining it).
To make a basic brine, use 1 litre of water, 60g of fine table salt and 25g of caster sugar. Stir to dissolve, place the liquid in a non-reactive container (a Tupperware tub for example) and then submerge your meat pieces and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. You can, should you wish, add flavours to your brine – warm the brine through with peppercorns, bay leaves, chilli, herbs etc before using and then chill completely before adding your meat.
There is quite a lot of science behind the process, but the proof is in the pudding, not the explaining – so next time you’re roasting off some chicken legs for dinner, give the brining technique a whirl.