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Rosemary marinade is a marinade that can provide a distinctive flavor to a variety of meats, and is often used on chicken and steak. Although it is readily available in grocery stores, many experienced chefs and home cooks prefer to mix their own versions of this herb marinade flavor. Rosemary marinade made from scratch typically consists of olive oil, honey, fresh minced garlic, and black pepper mixed together with chopped rosemary. Some cooks also add soy sauce, lemon juice, or Worcestershire sauce to help bring the rest of the flavors together.
Cooking with herbs often has the best flavor results when the herbs are freshly-picked rather than dried. Rosemary sprigs can usually be bought in stores with larger selections of fresh spices and herbs. The best quality rosemary is a rich sage green color without any discolored spots. Some cooks recommend storing rosemary sprigs in an ice cube tray and steeping them in some chicken or beef stock in preparation for use in the rosemary marinade.
When mixing rosemary with the rest of the marinade ingredients, most recipes instruct the home cook to carefully pull the leaves from the rosemary stem and chop them into much smaller pieces. If the rosemary is for a larger volume of marinade, the leaves can sometimes be pulsed in a food processor as a time-saving technique. Some recipes may also call for the whole rosemary stem to be steeped in the rest of the ingredients for a given time period before removing it and moving on to the meat preparation.
Many cooks like to use this marinade flavor for both its nutritional value and for its refreshing aroma. Rosemary is a good source of calcium, iron, and fiber. Since dried rosemary can sometimes lose noticeable amounts of these key nutrients during the drying process, fresh sprigs are generally recommended to get the best nutrition out of this kind of herb marinade.
A well-mixed herb marinade should often be left to chill in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes before using it for the meat recipe of choice. The length of time the meat should be allowed to soak in the rosemary marinade often depends on the type of meat and the method of cooking. Marinated chicken typically needs only about 30 minutes for the rosemary to give the meat a good flavor; using rosemary marinade for steaks can usually take up to 24 hours of refrigerator time for marinades made from scratch. Other recipes that can include rosemary marinade are often those for salmon, lamb, and pork.