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Cooking 101: Chicken

Asnow89 September 11, 2013 User blog:Asnow89

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Cooking101
Chicken123

What is Chicken?

Chicken is one of the commonly eaten types of poultry. You can eat chicken for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! But how can you cook this chicken? Many are intimidated to cook chicken because it is unsafe to undercook the meat, but if you overcook it it becomes dry and tasteless. We're here to help!

What you need

Meat thermometer1
  • Meat Thermometer (If you don't have one, it's worth investing in one- you will never have overcooked meat ever again!)
    • To test the chicken, place the thermometer into the center of the chicken breast, making sure not to touch any bones, and wait until it beeps. It should read around 165˚F. You can also cut open the chicken to see if it's a very light pink/white color (if it's too pink, it's underdone).
IMG 5054-Large
  • Marinade
    • For a quick 1-2-3 marinade, you can just drizzle on some olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper, you can add herbs and spices like dried rosemary or cayenne pepper, or you can rub the chicken breast in wet mustard. Have fun with it!
    • There are more complicated marinades and sauces (with tomato sauce, white wine, dry rubs, and more) that we will go into detail next.
POULTRY
  • The Chicken!
    • You can buy a chicken whole (to roast it), or cut up into pieces
    • Chicken legs take longer to cook, they are made up of mostly dark meat
    • Chicken breasts are the most common. They are all white meat and the easiest to cook.
    • Chicken thighs are cheaper to purchase. They are made up of dark meat.

Preparation

Before you do anything, you need to remember a few key tips:

  1. Make sure you are cooking in a clean, enclosed environment. Raw chicken has bacteria that you don't want to spread to the rest of your kitchen.
  2. Clean the actual chicken breast or whole chicken by running it under cold water.
  3. Dry the chicken with paper towels
  4. Wash your hands frequently and wipe down the surface with a disinfectant towel after you've finished cooking.

Methods of Cooking

Roasting

Roastchicken
Roasting is a cooking method that uses dry heat, whether an open flame, oven, or other heat source. Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat (as in an oven), and is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece.

Example Recipes: Roast Chicken with Herb Lemon Rub and Yogurt, Roast Chicken with Sausage-Apple Stuffing, Roast Chicken

Sautéing

Pan-roasted-chicken-spinach
Sautéing chicken is a method that uses a small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Ingredients are usually cut into pieces or thinly sliced to facilitate fast cooking. It is easy to overcook chicken when sautéing, so make sure you use your meat thermometer!

Example Recipes: Chicken Sauté with Olive Sauce, Chicken in Cumin Sauce, Chicken Piccata

Baking

051115045-01-citrus-roasted-chicken-recipe xlg
Baking chicken uses prolonged dry heat by convection, rather than by thermal radiation, normally in an oven. Baking is the easiest way to get moist, tender chicken results. Set your oven to 350-400˚F depending on the recipe. Use your meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken.

Example Recipes: Oven-Baked Chicken Leg Quarters, Baked Chicken and Garlic Orzo, Garlic Chicken

Grilling

20120522-grilled-chicken-memorial-day-recipes-18
You can check out our Cooking 101:Grilling article for all of the grilling basics, but in general grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below. Grilled chicken is very flavorful and perfect for summer parties.

Example Recipes: Arabian Nights Grilled Herbed Chicken, Lemon Balsamic Grilled Chicken, Grilled Chicken

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