Monday, November 14, 2011

Tea-ing up with the Daring Cooks

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

We occasionally make a tea-smoked duck that we just love. However, we decided to try something new to us and made a roast chicken breast that had been brined in tea.

In a word, Holy Cow. It was go-o-o-d. The monkey kept saying that this was one of the best chicken dishes he’s had. I’ll take that as a compliment.

The chicken had a delicate tea flavor – you could tell it was there, but it wasn’t overpowering. And it was perfectly juicy. The great thing is that it was very simple – the only hitch being that with anything brined you have to plan a couple of hours in advance.

tea_chicken 001

Of course I didn’t exactly measure the ingredients, but here’s how it went down  - please adjust to suit your taste:

Tea-Brined Chicken

1 chicken breast, bone-in

approx. 6 cups boiling water
2 tea bags – we used smoked Osmanthus, which is much milder than a lapsang souchong. Any black tea would do, really. So would an herbal tea, though that would result in a totally different dish..
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 small bay leaf

In a large non-reactive bowl, steep the tea in the boiling water for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and herbs and let it cool to room temperature. Taste the brine – it should be just slightly salty, not overpoweringly so, or you’ll end up with unpleasantly salty chicken.

Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator so the meat has a chance to warm a bit while the oven heats.

Heat the oven to 425 F.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry. Place the chicken on a rack and roast until the meat registers 150 F. This will take about half an hour. Cover and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing to serve.

here’s an interior shot of that precious, juicy bird. There aren’t any more photos as we were busy tucking in!

tea_chicken 005

Thank you Sarah for introducing us to the idea of cooking with tea. We’ll most definitely do it again – and I am still planning to make lentils cooked in tea, as soon as time permits. For that recipe and many other wonderful tea dishes, check out what the other daring cooks created this month.



  1. You never cease to amaze me with your cooking creations. It looks delicious!
    I couldn't make it this month, felt sorry about it.

  2. Lovely job! I bet a tea brine would be awesome!!

  3. That chicken looks so moist! What a cool idea to make a tea brine. I must try it out.

  4. Your chicken looks SO juicy! I'm going to have to try this.

  5. Yum, I think this would be such a great idea for a Thanksgiving turkey. We often smoke a turkey breast in our family for the big meal and the thought of a tea based brine sounds fabulous!

  6. This looks delicious! What a great recipe. I made a tea-brined turkey breast for the challenge.

  7. Wonderful idea! I have never brined anything - let alone with tea. I am so glad you took part this month - thank you!

  8. tea brine! wow!
    and that bird looks super juicy, can't wait to try it out