Of all the varieties of meat and poultry, chicken is probably the most versatile. Its subtle but delicious flavor melds well with thousands of different sauces, seasonings, and spices. It is eaten all over the world, so an open-minded cook will never run out of new ways to prepare chicken recipes.
Chicken can be prepared using almost any cooking technique. Common ways to prepare whole chickens include roasting, stewing, and braising. Chicken pieces, such as thighs or breasts, can be baked, grilled, broiled, or pan-seared. Chicken cutlets make wonderful chicken parmesan, while drumsticks are a favorite among kids.
It is important to note that poultry cooked on the bone and with its skin will be more flavorful and tender than skinless, boneless chicken. The skin can always be removed before serving if an individual's diet requires it, and for a healthier rendition of the recipe. Chicken is also excellent when marinated, as the mild meat serves as a vehicle for the marinade flavors.
Chicken Cooking and Storage Safety
When preparing your chicken recipes, it is critical to follow a few safety guidelines to avoid food-borne illnesses. Poultry should be stored in a way that none of its juices leak into other items in the refrigerator, such as placing raw chicken in its original package in a plastic bag and in a bowl or rimmed plate. Any surface that is exposed to the raw meat should be washed thoroughly with hot soapy water. Chicken should be cooked until it is opaque throughout, and its juices run clear, to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, you can store it in the refrigerator and safely use it within three to four days, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is not advisable to use cooked chicken that has been stored in the fridge for longer than four days, even if it does not look or smell spoiled. If you don't think you will use your chicken soon enough, move it to the freezer where it will keep for several more months.