With increasing technological advances in the kitchen, revisions of standard tools are more widely available for use at home. One of these advances is silicone bakeware. Typically used for baked goods such as cakes and muffins, they can also be used in savory cooking and are becoming a common receptacle for making casseroles and meatloaves. The dishes also work well for braising or roasting chicken in the oven, reducing clean-up time and cooking the food evenly and thoroughly.
Characteristics of Silicone Cookware
Silicone cookware is constructed of a manmade material consisting of the elements silicon and oxygen. It has a soft, rubber-like texture and is molded into typical bakeware shapes, such as pans or muffin tins. It is heat-resistant to 500 degrees F, making it perfect for baking, but not broiling, food items. The material is food-safe, can be used in the microwave, and requires little to no butter or oil to coat the interior surface, because it is non-stick.
Silicone bakeware is particularly useful for items that may typically react with metal pans. For example, marinading chicken in metal is typically not recommended, but can occur in silicone. The nonreactive quality means that the silicone does not absorb flavors or smells of foods baked in it. It can be thrown in a dishwasher, but is easily cleaned of any stuck-on food without the use of a dishwasher. Food can be marinaded in the bakeware, then covered with plastic wrap and frozen in the same container for later use, with as much air pressed out as possible.
Baking Chicken in Silicone Bakeware
Prepare chicken dishes in silicone bakeware as you would if cooking it in a regular glass, ceramic or metal baking dish. If your recipe calls for greasing the pan, omit this step, as the silicone is a non-stick surface. Place the chicken in the center of the dish and arrange any added vegetables or ingredients around the chicken. Insert the dish into a preheated oven at 350 degrees F; cook for about 2 hours for a whole chicken, 30 minutes for bone-in breasts, 20 minutes for boneless breasts and 40 minutes for legs or thighs. Check to see if the bird is done by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; remove the dish from the oven only when the meat thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees F.
You can use silicone bakeware to cook chicken in a microwave. This results in a shorter cooking time than baking in the oven. Set to high heat if cooking pieces and heat for 4 to 10 minutes for 1 to 4 pieces and 15 to 18 minutes for 7 to 8 minutes. Turn the power to 50 percent if cooking a quarter, half or whole chicken. Check to see if the chicken is done by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; cook until the interior temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165 degrees F. If cooking in a microwave that does not have a turntable, turn the dish around halfway through the cooking process.
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