So what can you do with freezer burnt chicken? Let's rehydrate them in broth then make Mexican shredded chicken for a variety of uses like enchiladas or burritos.
Introduction and My Rating
I'm so guilty. I'm sure nobody out there has ever had a full bag of freezer burnt skinless boneless chicken breast. But in the unlikely event this would happen to your stupid brother (my brothers are smarter than this), let's see if we can do something with this.
I found a bag of those wholesale club chicken breast in the back of the garage refrigerator freezer we replaced last week. So this poor meat is dehydrated, tough, and tasteless. In other words, it is already a hockey puck.
So I need to add moisture, texture, and taste—a job ideal for Mexican. I love to have shredded chicken for burritos and enchiladas, so on with the rescue.
A high 3 or low 4 will do here. Amazingly good, especially considering I would have tossed them. Now it is up to you if you want to go through the work and expense to do this. I think it is marginal.
❄️Freezer Burnt Chicken
" Freezer burnt" meat is just dehydrated. It has to do with the water in the meat, freezing, and escaping the cells. With the water, the taste also goes, and the texture changes.
Most methods of cooking will also pull water out of the cells. So just cooking it as usual never gives good results.
You could try to "cut off" the burnt area, but the "good" area is also damaged. Not a good plan. The meat too far gone for brining to work, so just cooking in liquid (braising without the searing part) is the only reasonable plan. I took it as a personal challenge.
- Simmer in chicken broth with some spices and onion for an hour. Bring it to a boil in a large dutch oven then move to a preheated 300-degree oven with a tight lid. I did not trim any fat since it can help moisturize things.
- Shred by hand so I could feel the texture and get rid of any tough areas. There were none.
- After re-hydration and shredding, spice it up well to cover any taste issues. I don't think there was any.
Honestly, the texture is off slightly, but most people won't notice, especially if used in a casserole. Mexican dishes with all that cheese, great sauces, etc. are great at hiding that mild shortfall.
So here are some useful recipes.
Preheat oven to 300°.
Add onion, two cans chicken broth, 1 tablespoon crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Mix well, add chicken and bring to boil. Cover with lid and move to the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and move breast to a plate to cool for 15 minutes. Discard the liquid except for 1 cup. Then shred by hand. Move broth to a separate container.
Add chicken and all part two ingredients back into the Dutch oven and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the fluid is evaporated. Remove from heat and use in burritos, enchiladas, etc.
Freezer Burnt Chicken Breasts Rescue - Shredded Mexican
- 4-5 thawed freezer burnt skinless boneless chicken breast - do as many as you want
- 28 oz chicken broth
- 2 onions - chopped medium
- 1 tablespoon garlic - crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup broth - from step one
- onion - most of the onion from step one
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Chop onions.
- Add onion, two cans chicken broth, 1 tablespoon crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Mix well, add chicken and bring to boil. Cover with lid and move to the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and move breast to a plate to cool for 15 minutes. Discard the liquid except for 1 cup. Then shred by hand. Move broth to a separate container.
- Add chicken and all part two ingredients back into the Dutch oven and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the fluid is evaporated. Remove from heat and use in burritos, enchiladas, etc.
- It is fine to trim back the worst parts.
- Do as many breasts as you want as long as they are covered by broth.
- Once rehydrated, you can change and spicing and use another way.
- Be sure to hand shred so you can sort out any parts with bad texture.
- OK to refrigerate for 2-3 days but do not refreeze.
- Some breasts are just too far gone for this to work well.
Originally published July 19, 2010. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.