Chicken

Chicken

By
Tony Chiodo
Contains
8 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781740668873
Photographer
Chris Chen

Of all the meat available to us, I tend to gravitate towards chicken. I search out organic, free-range birds that have pecked and scratched all day long and snoozed underneath the shade of a tree, enjoying the good life.

Meat is a highly developed protein food and of these, I find that poultry is the lightest and easiest to digest. I have days where I crave a small piece of chicken, only to find that it makes me feel great the day after. Chicken is warming and offers strengthening possibilities – and we all know about the healing powers of the almighty chicken soup. I choose chicken when I need a real pick-me-up – after some heavy physical work, or if I’m feeling ill or run down.

Here are my chicken tips:

The most important consideration when cooking with chicken is to choose an organic or biodynamic and free-range bird. Buy a whole bird and have your butcher separate the thighs and breasts. The breasts contain the least amount of fat so require less cooking, otherwise they quickly become dry. The thighs are filled with muscle tissue and sinew, so require a longer, slower cooking time to break down and become tender.

To cook the breasts, remove and discard the skin, cut the meat into strips and cook quickly over high heat in a stir-fry. Other methods that work well with chicken breast include grilling (broiling) and pan-frying. To cook chicken thighs, use longer methods of cookery, such as casseroling or stewing.

I find that marinating chicken not only helps to tenderise the meat but it also adds complexity of flavour and aids digestion. We want a good flavoured bird but also one that we can stomach easily. Marinades may include citrus, vinegar, yoghurt or a range of fermented foods. I take a lot of inspiration from the many Asian cuisines where poultry is often a small part of the final dish and is found among vegetables, spices and stock.

I serve chicken with a variety of simply cooked greens or a side of bitter salad greens, which leaves you with a happy tummy.

Recipes in this Chapter

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