Everything tastes like chicken! Or so the saying goes. As connoisseurs of the meat market, we must disagree. Although, as one of the most versatile offerings on the menu, we can see where it’s easy to get confused.
Chicken comes in many different shapes and sizes and appears in probably more dishes worldwide than most other meats. Chickens are relatively easy to farm, also produce eggs and do not cost anything near the price of a cow.
There should not be much going to waste if you aim get the most out of your chicken. Even after roasting a chicken wholly and stripping it of meat, you could use the carcass for a broth.
When it comes to the different cuts, there are a several ways to cook each part, all producing different flavours and textures. Fried wings, slow cooked thighs, grilled leg. This is the reason that chicken tops the bill for most searched recipes.
When you buy your chicken from the butchers, it should come wrapped in a plastic bag so as not to leak any juices. A whole chicken will last three days when refrigerated. If you cut it up, that reduces to two days. Any parts of the chicken you do not plan on using within this time, you should freeze. Chicken will say good for up to two months frozen.
If you are cooking chicken, it should not stay for more than two hours at room temperature, both before or after it has been cooked. Chicken also poses a high risk of spreading bacteria.
Uncooked chicken should be chopped on a separate board from the rest of your food preparation. Always wash hands thoroughly after handing raw chicken, and generally, washing is the bird itself is not necessary. When you wash chicken, you increase the risk of juices splashing around your work area and contaminating surfaces or other foods.
Roasting a whole bird is a nice simple task. You can pop it in a tray or put on a roasting rack for a nice evenly cooked bird. A popular method for roasting a whole bird is to spatchcock or butterfly the chicken. This involves cutting its backbone with a knife or even sharp kitchen scissors. Once chopped, you flip it over and lay it flat with the wings and legs at the edges.
To braise chicken, you pan fry first to brown it off. This method is popular with skinned thigh meat. Once the browned, pop it in a tray or dish and finish off in the oven.
Another popular method of cooking chicken is to shallow or deep fry and is most commonly used with legs. For the shallow fry, you need about an inch of oil in a frying pan or skillet, the oil should be around 175°c (350°f). For the best results a high smoking point oil such as peanut, lard or vegetable should be used.
To deep fry, the chicken needs to be fully submerged. Get the oil to around a minimum of 165°c (330°f) and drop the chicken legs in the pan. Over-crowding the pan will do you no favours, especially if you have chosen to batter the chicken first. The most popular method here, is the American southern fried which involves marinating the chicken in buttermilk for twelve hours before flouring, seasoning and frying.
BBQing and Grilling
Again, popular with the thigh, BBQing and grilling chicken with the skin on produces a succulent and flavoursome finish. The best technique is to cook the chicken skin side down first, then once golden flip it and apply some sauce to the skin. The result, crispy tasty skin and mouth wateringly juicy meat.
For a quick and painless dish, you might consider a stir-fry. Pre-sliced chicken, in a wok, with all your other ingredients and some choice seasoning creates a simple meal in minutes. Be sure to keep all the ingredients moving in the pan for a nice even finish. Best with sliced breast, a stir-fry can form part of a healthy diet.
If its crispy wings you seek, look no further than the air-fryer. Golden brown crispy wings in ten to fifteen minutes make a superb side, or a simple snack. The air-fryer does all the work, and apart from one shake halfway through, is possibly the simplest way to enjoy perfectly cooked chicken wings, every time.
At MLS, all our fresh chicken and poultry are sourced from Al Zain Farms, Oman. The products are freshly made here in Oman and are all hormone and anti-biotic free. With MLS you can buy all your chicken and poultry online, for delivery fresh to your door.
To read more on how best to store meat, you can check our blog A Guide to Preserving Meat, here.