I love chicken, it is such a yummy food, and very easy to prepare. It is a food that all the family enjoy and in my house it is a rare treat to get agreement on a meal that pleases everyone. Most friends like chicken too, so if I’m having people to dinner it is usually a good option.
I am really paranoid about preparing chicken, all my friends will vouch for this! Chicken has to be prepared well and cooked really well. Unlike steak chicken cannot have any blood running out of it, the juices must be clear.
Many years ago one night travelling home from work I bought a ready made chicken meal and was violently ill for the next month. Believe me it is no fun sitting in the bathroom on the throne during the wee hours of the morning with severe stomach cramps. That is certainly a time you wish you still lived at home and had someone looking after you rather than living with flatmates who could sleep through any catastrophe. Hence my paranoia with preparing and cooking chicken.
When I am shopping I look for the chicken meat that is on special or wait until it is on special as the price can vary a lot. Often there may be two whole chickens on special so I will put one in the freezer for another meal. If buying chicken breasts again I wait until they are on special and then buy a few and freeze some. Chicken Drumsticks are usually very well priced and kids love them.
Use a clean washable surface or chopping board that can be scrubbed after the food is prepared. Always clean the knives with hot soapy water once you have finished with them and clean the bench and chopping board with hot soapy water too. Any plates or dishes that have had raw chicken need to be cleaned and never use the same dirty plate for cooked food following raw chicken. Don’t forget to wash your hands once you have handled raw chicken before moving onto any other food preparation.
I like to use a whole chicken for roasting and pieces such as drumsticks (legs), thighs or chicken breasts for cooking other dishes.
If using chicken breasts some recipes leave the skin on and some require it to be removed. To remove skin lift up the edge of the skin between the skin and the meat and slide the knife in and gently remove the skin from the breast.
I use a roasting bag when cooking a whole chicken, it helps keep the flavours in and stops the chicken from going dry during cooking. It also makes cleaning up so much easier and stops the oven from getting so dirty.
I like to rub butter onto the skin and then put a flavour or seasoning onto the skin.
Suggestions for seasoning:
1. Peel a clove of garlic, cut the garlic and rub onto the skin.
2. Sprinkle some fresh chopped herbs and press onto the skin.
3. Use dry herbs and press into skin.
4. Sprinkle a Cajun seasoning and press into skin.
Stuffing chicken: There are many recipes for stuffings for chicken and you can buy chickens that are already stuffed for easy cooking. If cooking dinner for the family I don’t bother stuffing the chicken. I tend to stuff it if people are coming for dinner.
1 whole chicken (size 16)
1 large oven roasting bag
1 Tablespoon of flour
Butter and Seasoning for skin.
Heat oven to 180°, oven rack should be in the middle of the oven.
Place flour in the roasting bag and shake flour until it coats the bag. Tip out excess flour. Remove chicken from the wrapper and rinse under the cold tap, pat dry with a paper towel. Rub butter over the skin and season. I sprinkled Cajun seasoning on this chicken.
Place chicken in oven bag and tie (peel the tie off the end of the bag). Cut two or three small holes in the top of the bag near the tied end. Place in oven dish and put into oven. Cook according to instructions on the chicken, my chicken was size 16 and takes 1 ½ to 1¾ hours. Put a knife or skewer into the chicken, the juices should run clear. Remove from bag slice chicken and serve.
I add a variety of vegetables to my risotto, this recipe has onion, carrot and spinach but it will depend on what I have on hand as to what I add to the recipe. To make a good risotto you need to stay with the dish and stir while cooking.
1 Tablespoon olive oil.
500 grams chicken diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium onion chopped
2 large carrots diced
2 cups Arborio rice
3 tablespoons white wine (optional)
1 litre chicken stock (hot, either heat up in a pot or microwaved)
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
2 large handfuls spinach, washed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese.
Heat oil in pan, add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently to cook chicken evenly. When chicken is completely white add the onion and carrot and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes then add the wine,(if using any otherwise move to the chicken stock). Stir and cook until the wine evaporates. Add a soup ladleful of chicken stock stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue to add a ladleful at a time, continuing to stir until all the stock has been absorbed. When adding the last spoonful of stock, add the mixed herbs and spinach and stir constantly. After 20 to 30 minutes the rice should be creamy and soft. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and add the butter and parmesan cheese. Leave for 2-3 minutes then serve.
Next week some more chicken recipes.