Succulent Chicken Breasts [Dairy free, Gluten free, Grains free, Low Carb, Paleo, Sugar free]
Chicken breasts have always been trendy…I recall vividly from many, many years ago, my mum preparing chicken breasts in the similar manner as this recipe, then the years when my sister perfected her hand-me-down version of Mozambican Piri Piri chicken similarly. Their methods stuck with me I guess, and, I find that I gravitate to these all the time. I find it difficult to accept when many complain that chicken breasts are boring, dull and dry.
I love the versatility of this method, which may be seasoned and spiced with dried or fresh herbs and a mixture of spices that suits individual palates. I prepare batches of chicken breast three times a week for Son 1 who has now acknowledged the need to eat healthier and in the process has shed over 13kgs in 8 weeks – with a combination eating plan and training routine devised by his 15 year old self! He goes through the motions of spicy, then a blend of Anglo-Indian fusion with adjustments in the amount of masalas and dried herbs to take the spice blend to delectably juicy and tantalising levels of scrumptious chicken breasts – nothing boring and dull about this, especially for a fussy eater boy-teen 🙂
The base ingredients that ensure succulence in these chicken breasts are extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice and finely grated lemon rind, these, and, the method of over night marinating in the seasoning and spice blend ensures that the marinade is absorbed into the fleshy chicken breasts. I often freeze batches of chicken breasts marinated for Son 1, then he defrosts them to room temperature and grills or roasts them to perfection. I find that tenderising the thicker chicken breasts first, with a kitchen mallet works well to ensure even and quicker cooking. This recipe provides for the seasoning that my son enjoys and may be adjusted to suit yours. I’ve used 700g of chicken breasts for the amounts of seasoning recommended. Adjusting down or up as the increments of chicken and seasoning blends dictates, works well.
Selectively low carbohydrate and appealing to chicken lovers, the boneless fleshy variety works well. Evenly tenderised or cut, and once marinated, they need minimal cooking time on the grill, maximum of 3-4 minutes per side and about 15 minutes in a preheated oven. This makes for effortless cooking, and preparation of veggies and a salad while the chicken cooks, makes for an easy peasy nutritious and scrumptious meal, every time!
700g boneless chicken breasts, skin off or on, washed and trimmed
4-6 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a fresh lemon
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 tsp garlic paste or minced garlic
1½ tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tsp dried sweet basil leaves
½tsp dried origanum
½ tsp freshly milled black pepper OR lemon pepper
2 tsp mixed masala (combination of chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, fennel powder, tumeric powder)
Himalayan or Sea salt to taste
Dried mixed herbs, dried or fresh mint, dried thyme, red chilli flakes, smoked paprika, peri-peri powder, mustard powder, onion powder – herbs and seasoning as desired. I sometimes add in home made barbecue sauce or tomato sauce for taste variety.
- You may keep the small chicken breasts whole or if they are large, then tenderise each one with by placing each one between kitchen plastic wrap, and using a kitchen mallet, pound each one until they’re even thickness.
- In a glass dish, add in the liquid ingredients and the lemon rind and whisk them well. Then add in the seasonings and spices and combine them evenly with the the olive oil mixture.
- I use the oven dish that I cook the chicken in, to marinate the chicken breasts overnight, covered with clingwrap. You may choose to use jiffy bags or similar. For the oven-proofed dish, add the chicken breasts spaciously, then pour over the marinate, rub it into the chicken well, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours. For the bag, add all the ingredients for the marinade, give it a thorough shake and add in the chicken breasts. Tie or zip the bag and marinate for the same period as above.
- When ready to cook, either grill the breasts on an electric or stove top griller for 3-4 minutes on each side, or preheat a conventional oven at 200º celsius and bake / cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, allow the oven-cooked chicken breasts to sit for a few minutes before serving, then serve with a crisp, fresh salad and / or vegetables as desired.