Chicken is like Scheherazade’s tales – there are 1,001 ways to prepare it! Whether it be baked, barbecued, braised, boiled, broiled, fricasseed, fried, grilled, poached, sauteed, steamed, stewed, stir fried or stuffed, its mild flavour makes it the perfect foil for a wide variety of herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, and sauces.
People are eating more chicken than ever before. Many health conscious folks are rejecting red meat in their fervent quest for lower fat diets. It’s actually become a status symbol to announce, “Sorry, I only eat fowl and fish.” Of course the extremists brag, “Sorry, I only eat white meat.”
While chicken’s skinless white meat is 33 to 80 per cent leaner than trimmed, cooked beef, its dark meat with the skin intact derives 56 per cent of its calories from fat. If low fat is what you’re after, it’s the white meat chicken breast that should grace your plate. It is also the most versatile to prepare.
San Francisco chicken stir fry
o 3 whole skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 in. chunks
o 2 tbsp. peanut oil
o 2 cloves garlic, minced
o 2 small red peppers, cored, deribbed and cut into 1/2 in. chunks
o 1 yellow onion, cut into eighths
o 1 cup toasted, unsalted cashews
o 2 tbsp. chili paste
o 2 tbsp. soy sauce (can use low sodium)
o 1/2 cup vegetable broth (fresh, canned or cubed)
o 1 tbsp. corn starch mixed with 1 tbsp.warm water (optional)
o 1 bunch green onions, halved lengthwise and sliced diagonally into 1-in. pieces.
Heat oil to very hot in heavy frying pan or wok. Add chicken pieces; stir fry 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove to plate. Place garlic, red peppers, onions and cashews in pan; stir fry for 1 minute. Add chicken back to pan, stir in chili paste, soy sauce, broth, corn starch. Add green onions, stir fry 30 seconds longer. Serve over white rice. Serves 6.
Texas barbecue chicken
Barbecue sauce depends largely on the whim and creativity of the maker. This recipe comes from a cowboy cook who has “barbecued enough to know.” If it is too spicy, hold the pepper. The chicken may also be roasted or broiled. The recipe makes about 2 cups so you may have sauce leftover.
o 1 – 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, trussed and ready for a spit
o olive oil for sauteing
o 1 large onion, grated
o 2 garlic cloves, minced
o 1/4 cup olive oil
o 1 cup vinegar
o 1/2 cup ketchup
o 1 cup water
o 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
o juice of 1 lemon
o 1 tbsp. dry mustard
o 2 tbsp. chili powder
o 1 tsp. cayenne
o 1 tsp. black pepper
o 1 tsp. salt
o 1/4 cup brown sugar
o 2 bay leaves, crushed
Pour oil into a frying pan. When oil is hot, saute onion and garlic until golden. Combine oil, vinegar, 1 cup water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, spices, sugar and bay leaves. Add to mixture. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until flavours are thoroughly blended. Brush on chicken skin, place on barbecue spit. Continue basting chicken at intervals until chicken is finished, about 1 hour or until drumstick is pliable when moved.