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Safe way to brown chicken and hold?


MaryIsobel
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If I want to do a braise for company, browining the chicken before braising it with liquid half way up the sides so the skin will stay crispy? Can't find a definitive answer and I don't want to poison my guests. Ideally, I would like to get the chicken skin really crispy, which will make a mess of my stove top, then hold it (and clean the kitchen) then start the braise a couple of hours before dinner. Is it feasible?

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26 minutes ago, MaryIsobel said:

If I want to do a braise for company, browining the chicken before braising it with liquid half way up the sides so the skin will stay crispy? Can't find a definitive answer and I don't want to poison my guests. Ideally, I would like to get the chicken skin really crispy, which will make a mess of my stove top, then hold it (and clean the kitchen) then start the braise a couple of hours before dinner. Is it feasible?

 

Yes, try the NY Times recipe for braised crispy duck.  It uses liquid half way up the sides so that skin stays crispy.  However I wouldn't let the chicken sit at room temperature all evening.

 

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Possibly, it's not really possible to do what you're wanting to do. Chicken skin (or any natural protein, really) won't stay crisp that long, even if you try to win by making it "really crispy."

 

It's a better bet to braise the chicken first, then drain off the braising liquid (you could de-fat it and use it as the base for a sauce) and pat the skin dry. At this point, you could hold it for a while. Then put the chicken skin-side up on racks and brush it with chicken fat or butter or oil. Stick it in a really hot (425°F or higher) to reheat and crisp the skin.

 

ETA: just read Jo's post. The NYT (I think this is the recipe) might have solved the problem, but I kind of doubt it. The key will be how long the hold is. For some reason, Bittman's luck is consistently better than mine, regardless of the recipe. 

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Eat more chicken skin.

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29 minutes ago, Dave the Cook said:

Possibly, it's not really possible to do what you're wanting to do. Chicken skin (or any natural protein, really) won't stay crisp that long, even if you try to win by making it "really crispy."

 

It's a better bet to braise the chicken first, then drain off the braising liquid (you could de-fat it and use it as the base for a sauce) and pat the skin dry. At this point, you could hold it for a while. Then put the chicken skin-side up on racks and brush it with chicken fat or butter or oil. Stick it in a really hot (425°F or higher) to reheat and crisp the skin.

 

ETA: just read Jo's post. The NYT (I think this is the recipe) might have solved the problem, but I kind of doubt it. The key will be how long the hold is. For some reason, Bittman's luck is consistently better than mine, regardless of the recipe. 

 

Yes, that's the recipe.  I've made it twice with good results.  But once the duck is browned I try not to hold it long before braising.

 

Dinner10142021.jpg&key=05f697950604d100b

 

 

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Thanks, I was just hoping that my guests would not be privy to my greasy kitchen! The way our space is set up, most people gravitate to the kitchen as much as I dry to dissuade them!

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3 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Yes, try the NY Times recipe for braised crispy duck.  It uses liquid half way up the sides so that skin stays crispy.  However I wouldn't let the chicken sit at room temperature all evening.

 

Oh I definitely wasn't thinking of keeping it at room temp.

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I don't know how this would work without crisping the skin after the fact. Or without figuring out a process in a combi-oven or c-vap oven. Cooking crisp skin in a 100% humid environment (braising) uncrisps the skin. 

 

Does the Times recipe have you do a pseudo-braise ... with the lid off?

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1 hour ago, paulraphael said:

I don't know how this would work without crisping the skin after the fact. Or without figuring out a process in a combi-oven or c-vap oven. Cooking crisp skin in a 100% humid environment (braising) uncrisps the skin. 

 

Does the Times recipe have you do a pseudo-braise ... with the lid off?

 

Who said that's a pseudo-braise?  Not Tom...

 

Quote

Second, I like to braise uncovered. 

 

https://www.finecooking.com/article/braising-meat-so-its-meltingly-tender

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I'm cpnfused We are taught to brown meat as a first step in a braise. It does not become a crisp skin or stay that way in my braises. Sounds more like the OP wants to broil or torch the skin prior to service. Don't see the mess or time issue there. Perhaos a question framing issue. 

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How many guests and what chicken part are you planning?  I've been braising more than most recently in preparation for a family gathering when my pops upcoming surgery happens mid/early April. Could be a 7-14 day visit with many in and out of the home. (I'm the only one that cooks). Dad eats horribly when I'm not there. I do leave as many prepped freezer meals that will fit. I need caution/crime scene tape across the kitchen opening. (nice tight horseshoe triangle but not for more than one)

 

I treat all proteins differently when braising. Different cuts, different animals--skin on/bone in or not. Chicken cooks fast. 

 

On the same game plan as Colicchio, another from SeriousEats. I suppose one could argue a braise is covered, or most often un-covered the last hour. Though sitting in rendered juices and uncovered to brown/crisp at the same time is also a braise?. In an oven. Not stovetop.

 

I do think success is knowing your oven and your braising pots. The best advice is 100% place your cuts or large cuts as tight together as possible in a heavy pot, like enameled cast iron. Stuff them tight as they will shrink. They will quickly render moisture so not too much added liquid. 

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Can we not be honest? The chicken skin is not going to stay crispy. It doesn't even like to stay crispy when it's rosted. Unless you take the skin off and make a chip. 

 

Flabby chicken skin is delicious too! With moist meat and luscious braising liquid, come on, that's greAt! 

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26 minutes ago, AAQuesada said:

Can we not be honest? The chicken skin is not going to stay crispy. It doesn't even like to stay crispy when it's rosted. Unless you take the skin off and make a chip. 

 

Flabby chicken skin is delicious too! With moist meat and luscious braising liquid, come on, that's greAt! 

 

I can't speak for flabby chicken, but for me the Bittman crisp-braised duck legs recipe results in crispy duck skin, and lovely aromatic vegetables and sauce.  (Not to mention an abundance of ever-welcome duck fat.)

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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Chicken holds so much water in my experience, especially the thighs. 

But your question was how to safely 'hold' pre-browned chicken to braise later, closer to mealtime. I'm surprised it makes such a mess on your stovetop. A foil barrier or a higher sided pot like a dutch oven helps with that. I no longer brown meat. I brown at the end of a braise uncovered in my oven at a higher heat the last 1/2 hour 45 min. I'm guessing you just want that chore of browning out of the way. If that is the case, line the browned chicken parts onto a wire rake lined sheet pan, single layer, and into the fridge. Uncovered. 

 

Issues some have is no fridge space. My high shelf holds nuts, seeds, dried fruit. One down is a bottle rack that holds seltzer bottles that can be removed. 

 

Crispy skin is dry skin. Why I give time in the fridge uncovered with a dry brine rub. I never, or would consider, pre-browning a whole chicken and still get very crispy skin by giving it some time uncovered in the fridge. 6-8 hours or overnight. A bit of softened compound butter under the skin even better. 

 

2 hours is a long braise for chicken but your recipe might be using a lower temp.

 

 

Edited by Annie_H (log)
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I wonder if a light dredge in a 50/50 combination of AP flour and rice flour might help retain the crispness of the skin. We use that combination with fried chicken (as well as onion rings and artichoke hearts), and while the texture is not that of just-roasted crisp chicken skin, it does stay quite crunchy, even when refrigerated overnight. 

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It was my plan to make the chicken "bouillbase" from America's test kitchen. Ihttps://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=595998740954316

I have made it before, and we liked it, but since our home is "open plan" (never again) I am always conscious of the mess I make making dinner when we have guests. I have decided to go a different route, since my plan didn't seem feasible.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/23/2022 at 9:57 PM, weinoo said:

I happen to think braising can be accomplished, to different effect, by covered, partially covered, or uncovered.

 

The Modernist Cuisine guys have written some interesting analysis of this. 

 

TL;DR: lots of people braise with the lid off these days, which basically conflates braising and stewing. And yes, the results will be different from a traditional braise (in their opinion not often for the better):

 

Sealing the pot with a lid is crucial for several

reasons. First, radiant energy from the lid browns

the top and sides of the meat. This process gives

the meat an appealing color and creates Maillard

flavor compounds that dissolve in the juices below.

Without a lid, those aromatic chemicals escape in

the air. Although their loss makes your kitchen

smell wonderful, it deprives the sauce of some of

its best aromas and flavors!

 

Second, the lid keeps the air in the pot humid.

As a result, the food heats faster and dries out less.

Third, high humidity helps to dissolve chewy

collagen and to convert it to succulent gelatin. The

gelatinizing process is critical for tenderizing

tough, collagen-rich cuts of meat-the so-called

"braising cuts."

 

...

 

Simply adding more liquid to cover the food is no substitute

for covering the pot. Although the extra

liquid prevents the meat from drying out, it

fundamentally changes pot-roasting into a

process more akin to stewing.

 

...

 

One of the more common forms of failure in

braising is meat that turns out less tender and

succulent than hoped. Evaporation is again

usually the culprit here. Most meats contain more

than enough water to dissolve the tough collagen

inside them into tender, succulent gelatin. If too

much of that natural liquid wicks to the surface

and vaporizes, however, the meat dries out, and

less of the collagen dissolves.

 

To avoid such disappointing results, cooks tend

to overcompensate by adding so much liquid to

the braising pot that the meat is all but submerged.

Drowning the meat certainly solves the

collagen problem, but it also transforms braising

into stewing.

 

To be clear: stews can be delicious. But stewed

foods taste nothing like braised foods. The reason

the two techniques produce such a large difference

in flavors is that the pool ofliquid surrounding a

stew shunts the flavor-generating reactions in a

different direction than the bit ofliquid used for

braising does. A different set of aromas prevails

as a result.

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15 minutes ago, paulraphael said:

The Modernist Cuisine guys

 

Yeah - they're annoying.

16 minutes ago, paulraphael said:

in their opinion

 

Their opinion about pizza often sucks, so why should this be any different?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Leaving aside playground taunts against the most thorough culinary research project ever ...

 

Their takeaway, which is scientifically credible, is that braising produces different flavors from stewing. And modern uncovered braising techniques are essentially stewing.

 

Which flavors you prefer are up to you. The interesting part is understanding the differences.

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