February 10, 2012
Are You Really Getting the Most Out of That Chicken?
We all probably use chicken more than any other animal in the house for cooking. Why? I would say it is a few of reasons:
1.) Chicken has such a neutral flavor that it can be prepared in any style and fits into most cultures cuisine.
2.) Chicken is still one of the cheapest meats in the grocery store to buy.
3.) Almost everyone is familiar with a chicken. All of us have most likely had a chicken dish that we grew up eating. For me, it was liver and truffle pate (just kidding, it was fried chicken).
The question is. Are you using the chicken to its fullest potential? Here are a couple of tips that can assist with your cuisine regarding the chicken.
There is a reason that the breast of the chicken is the most expensive. It is in the highest demand. Ever used the thighs? I personally use chicken thighs more than any other part of the chicken. The thigh is cheaper, more flavorful, and is impossible to dry out (unless you are a very good-bad cook). You can now easily buy thighs in the same fashion as the breast in grocery store (boneless-skinless). Chicken thighs, as far as nutritional value compared to breasts, are pretty well matched.
**1cup skinless breast=231 calories & 8% fat vs 1 skinless bone in thigh = 109 calories 9% fat
Another great opportunity is taking advantage of a left over whole roast chicken. It is very easy use the leftover bones of your roasted chicken (not the ones you were chewing on) and make a gallon of stock from it. All you really need is rough chopped celery, carrot, and onions to make a basic chicken stock with a roast chicken (many of the spices and seasonings are on the chicken already). Simply cover the bones and vegetables with water and simmer for 2-3 hours, strain, and cool. You can freeze your stock in a Tupperware container and use whenever you like. This will taste better than any of the chicken stocks that your grocery store carries and is fresh without preservatives.
Next time you decide to make your favorite chicken dish at home whether it is a chicken parmesan on spaghetti or crystallized ginger & orange curry braised chicken on a cardamom rice, try it with thighs and you might be surprised.