Thursday, January 24, 2013

Brined Chicken with Crispy Cornmeal Crust

Brined Chicken with Crispy Cornmeal Crust

I love trying recipes I find on random boxes and canisters in my kitchen cupboards. Sometimes they are the best recipes.  It makes sense that recipes on the sides of boxes are great because they showcase how great the products are.  My box of kosher salt is at eye level in my cupboard right by the stove so I have been eyeing the chicken brine recipe on the box for quite awhile.  The Morton recipe recommends brining the chicken and then roasting the chicken with butter, garlic powder, and black pepper. Sounded good to me.  I asked my husband about trying the brined chicken recipe and he said the brine sounded like a good idea but he wondered if the chicken would have a crust like fried chicken.  Enter Aunt Jemima.  I was making corn bread with my Aunt Jemima Corn Meal the other day and right next to the cornbread recipe on the canister, I found a recipe for a crispy cornmeal crust for chicken.  This week, split chicken breasts were on sale for $0.99 per pound so I put the two recipes together and the results were really good.  The chicken breasts I had were over one pound a piece so I cut them in half as best I could despite the bone being in the way.  I increased the brining time (over 3 hours... thinking it might make the meat more flavorful) and I increased the cooking time to nearly one hour because my chicken pieces were so huge and because I live at high altitude (over 5,000 feet).  I probably could have cooked them for a shorter duration but I am paranoid like that with chicken.  I loved the chicken. I especially enjoyed the leftovers cold for my brown bag lunches at work.

On my Aunt Jemima Cornmeal canister, a recipe for Crispy Herbed Chicken (link is here)
On my box of Morton Kosher salt, Brined and Roasted Chicken Pieces link here

Brined Chicken with Crispy Cornmeal Crust (adapted from two recipes above)

Ingredients for Brine
3/4 cup Morton® Coarse Kosher Salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks) [I used HUGE chicken breast with rib meat... closer to 5 pounds and I cut the breast in half]
To Brine:
In a gallon-size sealable plastic bag, dissolve the Morton® Kosher Salt and sugar in 1 quart of cool water. Add chicken pieces, then seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for about 1 hour (I let the chicken sit in the brine for over 3 hours). Remove chicken from the brine; rinse well under cool water. Pat dry with paper towel.

Ingredients for Crust (I doubled all these ingredients since I had so much chicken)

  • 1/2 cup Quaker or Aunt Jemima White Corn Meal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (I used garlic powder and a few pinches of salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine corn meal, flour, grated cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Pour milk into small bowl. Dip chicken pieces into milk; coat with dry corn meal mixture.
  4. Place chicken on a rack in a 15 x 10-inch pan; brush with melted butter.
  5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 170° F in white meat (i.e. breast or wing) and 180° F in dark meat (drumstick or back). 

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