Here are some basic tips, techniques and tools. They’ll help you amp up your culinary prowess in the kitchen, and get oohs and ahhs from family and friends.
The basic techniques
- Sautéeing: To cook chicken quickly add a small amount of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat. This method browns the outside of the meat while the inside stays moist and is an easy method to cook chicken with other vegetables. When sautéing, it is important to use a pan that conducts heat well and is large enough to easily turn chicken and vegetables.
- Braising: A cooking method where chicken is browned in oil, and then cooked covered in a small amount of liquid over medium or low heat. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven.
- Simmering: To cook gently in liquid until tiny bubbles just begin to break the surface. A tip for adding water, wine, or chicken broth to a recipe: add a little at a time so that the liquid cooks off and the chicken remains golden brown in color.
- Grilling: Grilling is a method of cooking chicken on a heavy metal grate over medium-high heat. The recipes on this site work well on both gas and charcoal grills. Some of the recipes for grilling cook meat in a foil pan or packet to allow pan juices to be collected and ensure a delicious grilled flavor and color. Thin foil pans can be purchased at most any supermarket or created simply with heavy-duty aluminum foil. To give meat added moistness, squeeze the juice of a lemon on grilled chicken while it is cooking. For best results, turn chicken several times during grilling using tongs to avoid piercing the meat or skin. Place pieces on different areas of the grill for even doneness.
- Roasting: To cook chicken in an uncovered pan in an oven, resulting in a well-browned, appetizing exterior and moist, tender meat on the inside. Roast chicken in a 425°F oven until the internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 165°F. Let the chicken rest 5 to 10 minutes before carving to allow chicken juices to be absorbed by the meat. For additional moistness, serve roasted chicken with pan juices.
A few basic tips
- Begin cooking over medium-high heat to brown and add an appetizing color to chicken on both sides. Then, lower the heat to medium to ensure that the chicken is cooked through.
- Cover the pan the last few minutes of cooking to create more pan juices. Pan juices should be golden in color, flavorful and infused with the aroma of the herbs added during cooking.
- Tuck herbs and spices under the skin of whole chicken to add lots of fresh flavor to the meat while roasting or grilling. This also works well with individual bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces.