Authors: Melanie Barnard
365 More Ways to
A JOHN BOSWELL AS SOCIATES BOOK
It’s hard to get too much of a good thing. And there’s not much we cook and eat that’s better than chicken—in terms of taste, nutrition, convenience, and versatility. America’s most popular bird is in more demand than ever these days. A trip through any local supermarket will confirm the fact that chicken, in all its many cuts and sizes, is indeed king (actually queen) of the roost in the meat case.
This reign began over ten years ago, with the climb to popularity that gave birth to the first, immensely successful
365 Ways to Cook Chicken,
a book that continues to claim a loyal audience. But while that dependable book still holds tremendous appeal for its traditional and tasty recipes, our palates and nutritional standards have changed, as has the availability of many ingredients. And for those who have cooked their way through
365 Ways to Cook Chicken
(as many as ten times), the moment seems right to give a new boost to chicken cookery with
365 More Ways to Cook Chicken.
Since none of the recipes here are duplicates, you can view these two cookbooks as companion volumes. Here you’ll find more contemporary trends, with some lighter recipes, a keen eye to less fat, more up-to-date and fresh ingredients, and cuisines, such as northern Italian, Thai, and Mexican, that have more recently entered our culinary repertoire.
With 365 new recipes to choose from, you’ll never get bored. You can still enjoy your favorite source of lean protein with the same pleasure and ease. In case you’re new to chicken cookery, however, or just want to review the benefits of this beautiful bird, here are some important facts to remember.
Chicken can satisfy an important part of today’s healthy dietary recommendations.
We all know by now that we should eat less fat. Chicken, especially the white meat, is one of the lowest fat sources of complete protein available. In fact, according to the National Broiler Council, a 3-ounce portion of cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast contains about 1.5 grams of fat and about 116 calories.
Chicken is versatile.
Only a few years ago, chicken was available only as a whole roaster or fryer, and some markets sold cut-up chickens as a convenience to the customer. Deboning and skinning were tasks left to the cook. Now we can buy not only whole and cut-up chickens, but separate packages of all parts from breasts to wings, from livers to legs. Breasts and thighs may be preboned, or are sold bone-in but skinless. Cooked chicken, either whole from a rotisserie or in single-serve packs of roasted parts, are now commonplace.
Chicken is quick.
Many of the dishes in this book cook in under 30 minutes—a testimony to the quick-cooking properties of chicken. Even a whole roasted bird cooks in about 2 hours and needs no attention at all during most of that time.
Chicken tastes terrific.
Chicken has a neutral yet pleasing flavor that enhances everything from fruits to nuts and vegetables to grains. Meaty, richly flavored dark meat is every bit as satisfying as a steak, while delicate white meat is nearly indistinguishable from pricey veal.
If you are new to the world of chicken cookery, here is a quick glossary of chicken part terminology:
—whole bird weighing
pounds, usually sold without neck or giblets. A whole broiler-fryer usually serves 4 people and yields about 3 cups of diced cooked meat.
• Young roaster
—meaty bird weighing 4
to 7 pounds, sold with neck and giblets
• Cut-up chicken
—whole broiler cut into 8 pieces
• Halves or splits
—broiler cut into 2 equal pieces
—leg quarters (including drumstick, thigh, and wing) and breast quarters (including wing and breast) are usually packaged and sold separately
—includes drumstick and thigh
—portion of leg above knee joint, also available boneless and/or skinless
—lower portion of leg, also available skinless
• Split breast
—available bone-in or boneless and skin-on or skinless
—thinly sliced portions of skinless, boneless breasts or thighs
—whole wing with three sections attached
—first section of wing with tips removed
• Ground chicken
—made from skinless, boneless meat, usually a combination of dark and white meat
• Free-range chicken
—loose term referring to chicken that is fed a variety of feed and allowed to mature in a more old-fashioned farm environment; usually more expensive
• Cornish game hen
—a small bird weighing between 1 and 1 ½ pounds
• Pay attention to the “sell by” date on the package. Chicken can be refrigerated in the original wrapper for about 2 days after the sell date before being cooked or frozen.
• Chicken can be frozen, well-wrapped in freezer paper, for several months. While freezng is safe and there is no loss of nutrients, it is my experience that previously frozen chicken has a less desirable texture than fresh chicken. Thaw chicken in the refrigerator, not on the countertop, where it is likely to foster bacterial growth. Do not refreeze raw chicken.
• After handling raw chicken, thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, and counter or cutting board. Bacteria are destroyed if chicken is well cooked, but they can be transferred to other food via surface contact with raw chicken.
• Cook chicken to the well-done stage. A thermometer should read 180°F. for whole chickens, 170° for bone-in parts, and 160° for boneless pieces. Boneless breast meat should be white throughout and, for bone-in chicken, all juices should run clear when pricked almost to the bone with a knife tip.
• Never leave cooked chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If it is to be transported, do so in an insulated
container that will keep it below 40°F. or above 140° to avoid bacterial growth. Remove stuffing from cooked roast chicken and refrigerate separately.
• Chicken can be cooked in the microwave, but since the cooking is often uneven, I do not recommend it except for thinly sliced cutlets or boneless breasts that can be poached in a liquid.
To help you to select chicken to fit into your diet and lifestyle, here, from the National Broiler Council, is a chart that gives the nutritional breakdown of various chicken parts.
Chicken cooking times vary according to each recipe and cooking method, but here are some general guidelines:
• Whole broiler-fryer
—1 to 1
hours in a 350°F. oven
• Whole roaster—2
hours in a 350° to 400°F. oven
• White meat parts
—25 to 35 minutes in all cooking methods
• Dark meat parts
—30 to 45 minutes in all cooking methods
• Skinless, boneless breasts
—13 to 15 minutes in all cooking methods
• Skinless, boneless thighs
—15 to 18 minutes in all cooking methods
• Thinly sliced breast or thigh fillets
—about 5 minutes in all cooking methods
Welcome to the new world of chicken cookery!
We Americans eat a lot of chicken in a lot of different guises. Some dishes, such as the chicken Purloo of Charleston or the jambalayas of Louisiana, the chicken pot-pies of mid-America or the hot browns of Kentucky, are regional favorites. Even among the classics, there are local variations. Sunday supper roast chicken and gravy will have a different twist (and stuffing) in Oregon than it will in Maine, and there are arguments even within families on how to fry a chicken.
Chicken dishes across America reflect melting-pot eating styles that together comprise American cuisine. Many are adaptations of heritage recipes that have roots in diverse ethnic backgrounds, but others are American originals based on local specialty ingredients or tastes.
Here are just a few of the chicken dishes that call America home. The common denominator (besides chicken) is that all of them are mighty tasty.
CORNFLAKE CRUMB OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 40 to 45 minutes Serves: 4
⅓ cup milk
5 cups cornflakes cereal
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk to blend. In a food processor, crush cereal to make 1½ cups fine crumbs. Place crumbs in a paper bag along with salt, marjoram, and pepper.