Chicken is the worlds most popular type of poultry. Chicken is a very versatile, cost-effective and quick to prepare. It can be used in casseroles, curry, soups, stir-fries (with both rice and noodles), salads and many other dishes. Chicken is sold wither pre-cooked or raw. There are many different ways to cook chicken, including roasting, grilling, barbecuing, frying, boiling, the list goes on.
Remember that raw chicken may contain either Salmonella so it is important to cook it fully before eating.
Chickens are also farmed for their eggs
It’s also best whenever possible to buy free-range and organic chicken as it means the animal has had a good quality of life.
Parts of a chicken
There are two types of meat on a chicken – white and dark. White meat comes from areas of the bird that don’t get much movement like the breast. Dark meat comes from the more active areas like the legs and thighs. Dark meat usually takes longer to cook but tends to be more flavourful!
Chicken breasts are the most popular part of a chicken, they are soft and tender when cooked well. They contain the most amount of protein and tend to be the most expensive part of the chicken. On the downside it’s easy to overcook chicken breasts when overcooked they become very dry.
Popular chicken breast recipes are… Chicken Kiev, Chicken Parmigiana and the wonderful British-Indian creation Chicken Tikka Masala.
The wings are also considered white meat. Traditionally an overlooked part of the bird, wings have grown in popularity hugely over the past few years. They are usually marinated, deep-fried then served with sauce. They are considered more of a snack or an appetizer rather than a main dish.
The leg section consists of the drumsticks and the thigh, the leg section can either be sold whole or divided and sold separately. The meat of the leg section is considered dark meat, it is very flavourful and can be cooked for longer periods of time. Legs are great roasted in the oven with vegetables.
the drumstick refers to the lower part of the leg section. Like wings, they are commonly marinated, deep-fried then served with sauce. They can also be breaded before frying! Drumsticks are also great in stews, curry and other slow-cooked meals
Chicken thighs are used a lot in slow cooking, they have a decent amount of meat on them and they don’t dry out easily when cooked or stewed.
Popular chicken breast recipes are… Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Tagine
the backbone doesn’t have a lot of meat on it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful! The backbone is crucial in making chicken stock. Stock can be used in making soups, sauces and brazing meats and vegetables. We recommend using it to make chicken noodle soup for those cold winter days.
As mentioned before uncooked and undercooked chicken can contain salmonella, this is why it is important to make sure the chicken is completely cooked before eating! Here are a few ways to check to see if it is completely cooked.
Thermometer – The best way to test a roast chicken is to invest in a cooking thermometer. Simply insert it into the space between the breast thigh avoiding any bone. If the internal temperature is above 75° Celsius is safe to eat!
Cut it open – If a chicken is undercooked It will be pink on the inside, you can tell if it’s fully cooked when its the same colour all the way through.
Check the juices – Another way to check if a roast chicken is cooked in to check the juices. Take a kife of another sharp object and make a little cut between the leg and the breast. Some juices should run out of the cut and if they are clear t is safe to eat. If they are still pink keep cooking!
Chicken nutritional information
Chicken is high in protein and low in saturated fats.
Chicken is categorised as white meat – along with veal, rabbit and fish. – a term used for the meat which is pale in colour before and after cooking.
There are about 143 calories in 100g of unseasoned and uncooked chicken with no skin. Chicken extra calories and fat which is can dramatically increase the calorie content of a dish. This is important if you want to reduce your calorie intake.
Recipe suggestions: Chicken tikka masala, Butter Chicken, Harissa Chicken, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken noodle soup