One of the most versatile foods on the planet, chicken can be roasted, baked, grilled, sautéed, braised, or fried. Whether you’ve never cooked a chicken before, or you’re looking for a new twist on the same old bird, we’ve come up with seven different ways that you can cook your chicken to keep your menu tasty and interesting.
Roasted chicken is one of the tastiest, most satisfying dishes you can make. Not only that, but roasting a chicken is also one of the easiest ways to prepare a delicious family meal. Check out this simple but delicious recipe from Delia Smith’s online recipe guide and you won’t ever go wrong with your roasted bird.
Baked chicken is different from roasted chicken in two ways. Firstly, baked chicken is prepared with chicken parts (i.e., individual drumsticks, thighs, breasts, and wings) whereas roasted chicken is cooked whole. Secondly, baked chicken should be covered in seasoned flour before cooking which we don’t do when roasting a whole joint.
Another distinction between roasting a whole chicken compared to baking the pieces is that with a roasted chicken, you’re looking to elevate the bird as much as possible – using a roasting pan with a rack. That way it’s the hot, dry air of oven that cooks it, producing a beautiful crispy skin while the meat stays juicy. With baked chicken, you cook it at a lower temperature of around 375° (190°C).
Since the chicken is cut up, and the pieces lie flat in a baking dish, the dish is conducting heat directly into the bottom half of the chicken, which is different than air. You get the sizzling fat on the bottom, for one thing, making it wonderfully crackly underneath.
Braising is a great technique for cooking cheaper or less tender cuts of meat, but it’s also a wonderful way to cook chicken. Braised chicken is a warming, soulful dish, and the meat will almost fall off the bone.
A wonderful way to create delicious braised chicken is to marinade the meat overnight in the fridge with salt, pepper olive oil and a mixtures of herbs like rosemary, thyme or marjoram). Brown the chicken in a pan for a few minutes first, then add some aromatic vegetables such as celery, carrots and onions. Then add about a cup of liquid (which can be water, stock or wind), cook until boiling, and then put the whole thing in the oven in an ovenproof dish and allow it to simmer for 45 minutes at a medium temperature.
Whether you’re just poaching chicken breasts or you’re poaching a whole chicken, poaching is an easy and delicious method for cooking chicken and the best way to ensure that the meat is cooked through. Poached chicken is naturally low in fat and always comes out moist and juicy. And as an added bonus, when you’ve poached the chicken, you’re left with a delicious, savoury chicken broth that you can use for making sauces, soups and in all kinds of other recipes.
Poaching chicken ready for a BBQ is also a great way of ensuring that the meat is cooked in the middle with the BBC adding a lovely, crisp and tasty flavouring on the skin.
The key to frying a chicken, and particularly deep frying, is maintaining the oil’s temperature at around 400°F (210°C). Hotter than that and most oils will start to smoke. Fried chicken is a great example of the basic deep-frying technique where items are dipped in a simple batter or seasoned with flour before we cook, which helps to protect and further seal in moisture. Here’s a recipe for buttermilk fried chicken. Try this delicious crispy fried chicken recipe from the Taste of Home website.
Grilled chicken is always a popular dish, especially during the summer months. You can grill an entire cut up chicken, which is great because the breasts cook a lot faster than the thighs or drumsticks. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts are especially popular for the grill. Like braised chicken, it’s a great idea to make a simple marinade to coat the chicken before grilling. You should also pre-heat your grill for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking to it reaches the optimum temperature. Place your marinated chicken pieces on the grill over direct medium heat and grill for about 9 to 10 minutes, flipping the pieces over half way through. You can check the internal temperature by using a cooking thermometer and once cooked, remove from the grill ready to eat hot or cold.
Pan-fried or Sautéed chicken is really a two-stage procedure that involves cooking in a hot pan with a small amount of fat, and finishing it either in the oven or by simmering it in some sort of sauce. This lets flavours develop while also ensuring that the chicken is fully cooked. Boneless chicken breast cutlets are great for this method.
Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher
At Hugh Phillips Gower Butchers, we offer a range of chicken choices from whole Farm Assured chickens through to legs, thighs and breast cuts. We also sell diced chicken which is particularly popular with our customers who are watching their weight. As we are coming into BBQ season, you can also try our Chinese Chicken or Hot and Spicy drumsticks and thighs or our delicious stuffed chicken breasts.
Visit our stall in Swansea Market or order today from our online shop: www.bestonlinebutcher.co.uk.