Do quick easy chicken recipes have to be so tastless?
Chicken is the first choice for many of us in these days of rushed meals and “fast food”.
But could this humble but popular food hold more than a few culinary suprises?
Chicken is the nearly flightless bird native to South America.
That took over,at least in a food context, the world (no big boots or guns here just sheer weight of numbers).
On any given day there are around eighteen billion of them in the world, thats three of them for every one of us.
They do seem to be everywhere,southern fried, nuggets, have you ever seen what goes into a nugget, dippers, kievs and the like.
But do even easy chicken recipes have to be like this?
The popular myth that it “tastes like everything” or alternatively , “tastes like nothing” is of course just that, a myth.
It is just a meat with a very delicate flavour that usually ends up either deep fried in breadcrumbs or grilled for twice as long as it should be after first being coated with half a pound of shop bought rubbed spices.
Little wonder you can’t taste the real flavour of the meat.
Also, mass produced, which by definition most chicken is (and I’m afraid they may have a point here!) a bit tasteless.
By contrast its more upmarket, and therefore slightly more expensive counterparts, free range, barn fed or organic are a completely different kettle of fish, so to speak.
Easy chicken recipes are as well suited to organic and quality foods as to the normal supermarket fare.
Cooked gently and seasoned carefully they have a subtle richness that is best complemented by a light sauce or pan gravy and a few fresh vegetables.
Simple no need to deep fry, no need to try to build flavour with heavy floury bottled sauces.
Quick easy chicken recipes can be a good opertunity to show a little culinery flair and get maximum taste for minimum time and effort.
All you need is fresh ingrediants and a light touch with the seasonings.
Easy chicken recipe for a traditional sunday roast
There are of course many easy chicken recipes to choose from, if you fancy a bit of a change.
The shelves of the cookery sections in bookshops sometimes seem to have little room for anything else. There are soup recipes, noodle soup recipes, casserole recipes, roast recipes, stuffed rolled meat recipes, low fat low carb recipes (urgh!), Greek grilled recipes, curry recipes, cordon bleu recipes, fettuccine, a la king, chicken salad, you get the general idea.
One of the best easy chicken recipes is for the traditional sunday roast.
Not clever, but cooked carefully it is the finest hour of this underrated bird:
All you need to do is, first make a small “trivet” of vegetables in the bottom of the roasting tray, some onions cut into four, a few roughly cut carrots and leeks, stuff th ecarcass very loosely with a little butter some sliced garlic and a few sprigs of tarragon. If you can’t find fresh, just blend some dried tarragon into the butter.
Next brush the skin with a little melted butter and season with rock salt, a few twists of black pepper and some dried thyme.
Place carefully on the vegetables and put the tray into a pre heated medium oven.
Pour half an inch of water into the tray, and cover with aluminum foil for the first half an hour, then remove foil.
About twenty minutes a pound plus twenty minutes is usually good, but the best way to make sure it is properly cooked is to push a knife into the thickest part of the meat and then press the knife flat on the skin to see if the juices run clear.
While it is cooking, peel and cut some floury potatoes ( maris piper are good).Par boil them for about twenty minutes, then drain them and put them back in the pan with some olive oil put the lid back on and shake gently until the potatoes are covered in the oil.
Next place them in a tray and season with salt pepper and rosemary.
If you can’t get fresh rosemary use thyme (dried rosemary is like eating splinters (I’m guessing that!).
Put the potatoes in the oven with the chicken about half an hour before it will be ready, a few lightly steamed vegetables of your choice and you’re away!
When the chicken comes out of the oven place it on one side for ten minutes to settle, this allows the meat to relax and from the heat of the oven and re absorb some of the juices.
Next put the tray over a low heat and deglaze the pan, when hot, with some wine or stock whichever you prefer and strain into a small pan.
Thicken with a little corn starch ( cornflour) or proprietary gravy thickener and there you have it! Simple a but very good roast dinner.
If you prefer something a little more a little less simple the classic French coq au vin ( with wine ) or chasseur provide some interesting alternatives.
Most of these classic dishes are less complicated than most people realise.French and Italian cookery provide us with many quick easy chicken recipes that are full of taste and flavor.
Remember keep it simple, keep it fresh and get someone else to do the washing up!
Traditional chicken noodle soup recipe
Easy chicken salad recipe
Easy chicken recipe for classic French chasseur
Easy chicken recipe for Italian risotto