Every cook should master the basics of cooking chicken. There is seemingly no end to the different ways it can be prepared, but it is good to know a few of the basics. Then by simply mixing and mingling different spices and flavorings you can prepare delicious meals from scratch. The Ohio Poultry Association has put together a small guide to the basics of cooking chicken.
Roast Chicken. Mix together 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sprinkle over whole chicken and inside cavity. Hook wing tips under back and place chicken in shallow pan, breast side up. Roast in 350 degree F. oven for about one hour or until internal temperature of 180° F. is reached on the thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh away from bone. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Fried Chicken. In plastic bag or shallow dish, mix together 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add cut-up chicken, a few parts at a time, coating well. In large frypan, place 1/3 cup oil and heat to high temperature. Add chicken, skin side down (cook in two batches if necessary but do not crowd in pan). Cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook about 20 minutes more or until fork can be inserted in chicken with ease. Drain on paper towels.
Oven-Fried Chicken. Melt 1/4 cup margarine; stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In shallow dish, place 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Dip chicken parts first in margarine, then in bread crumbs, turning to coat. On lightly greased baking sheet, arrange chicken in single layer, skin side up. Bake in 375° F. oven about 50 minutes or until brown and fork tender.
Simmered Chicken. In deep saucepan, place 1 whole or cut-up chicken. Add 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. (If desired, 1 small quartered onion and 3 ribs cut-up celery can also be added.) Cover and simmer over medium heat about 45 minutes or until fork can be inserted in chicken with ease; reserve broth for later use. Separate meat from bones; discard skin and bones. Dice chicken to use as desired.
Grilled Chicken. On prepared grill with rack about 8 inches from heat, place chicken, halves, quarters or selected parts. Grill, turning frequently (use tongs to prevent piercing skin), about 1 hour or until fork tender. Homemade or bottled barbecue sauce may be brushed on chicken during last 15 minutes of grilling time.
Microwave Chicken. In shallow microwave dish, arrange chicken with meatier parts toward outside of dish. Brush with browning sauce, if desired, or remove skin and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine. Cover with wax paper and microwave on high 18-20 minutes (about 6 minutes per pound), rotating dish 1/2 turn after 9 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. (Note: When microwaving whole bird, use medium setting.)
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