How to Cook Poultry

Chicken, turkey, duck, goose and the more exotic quail are no longer seasonal birds but are available all year round, fresh or frozen. Intensively reared chicken is very cheap but they can lack flavor and can be watery, not to mention the ethical drawbacks. Free range or organic poultry may be more expensive, but with care you can produce two or three meals from a single whole bird.

How to Cook Poultry How to Cook Poultry

Choosing Chicken

Chickens in your grocery store probably come with more variety than any other type of meat Corn-fed chickens have a yellow flesh, capons are also fattened on corn and have more fat You need to make sure that the chicken is well wrapped; it should be undamaged and the meat should be firm and plump. Fresh chicken will have a better flavor because frozen birds are not hung. If there is ice between the wrapper and the skin, this means that the chicken has thawed and been refrozen. Do not buy this from your store.

Choosing Cuts

It is nearly always proportionately cheaper to buy a whole bird than individual cuts. You can pay the same price for two breasts as you can for a whole chicken. A whole chicken will give you two thighs, two wings, two breasts, two drumsticks and the carcass from which you can make your own stock or soup. Chicken legs or drumsticks are fattier than the breast meat. Thighs, which have darker meat, are also fattier but they do have a richer flavor. Chicken wings, whilst cheap, actually have very little meat but are fine for barbecuing.

Cooking a Whole Chicken

Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Put the chicken into a roasting tin and loosely cover with kitchen foil. Cook for 20 minutes plus an additional 20 minutes for every 450 g/1 lb of weight. Take the foil off for the last 30 minutes of cooking to brown the skin. To improve the taste, you can season the chicken with salt and pepper before roasting and you can place a whole, peeled onion inside the carcass. Do not forget that, if you have a big enough roasting tin, you could put your vegetables to roast around the chicken about an hour before it is cooked.


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