Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spices For Chicken

Because chicken is relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to prepare there are a vast number of recipes available throughout the world. Chicken spices and herbs are abundant and are readily available in almost any market anywhere. Spices and herbs have become abundant thanks to the explorers of the 15th and 16th century.

Open your cupboards and you'll find a spice or herb, or both that can be the beginning of a very tasty recipe. Every chef has several ways of preparing and cooking their chicken and most have a secret ingredient for their wonderful signature dish. Of course, some of these recipes vary regionally and from country to country, depending on availability and prices at the market.

Aromatic herbs are also used along with spices, thereby adding that extra punch. Sage, thyme, rosemary and basil are a good example of the aromatics that I use. When using spices, remember that sometimes a little goes a long way. I have found that marinating the chicken is very helpful in distributing the flavors evenly. Gauge your addition of salt, especially if your recipe calls for butter; make sure that you use unsalted butter so that you don't overwhelm it with too much salt.

Recipes of all kinds are available on the internet and in cookbooks, so not cooking chicken is a limitation that should not occur in your kitchen. For health reasons I prefer to bake and not fry chicken, although I enjoy fried chicken very much. There is one recipe for fried chicken that is very plain and simple. Use all white, all dark, or a combination of both. Wash the chicken and pat dry; add salt, pepper, and allspice. Deep fry in canola oil and pat dry with paper towels before serving.

A very exotic and tasty way to prepare your chicken is by using a fresh, wonderful homemade curry that you will use again and again.

Indian Curried Chicken Recipe:

Basic Curry Powder
6 dried red chiles
1 oz. coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground turmeric

Remove seeds from chiles. Dry roast the whole spices over a medium heat until they darken, stirring or shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning. Leave to cool, then grind to a powder. Dry roast the curry leaves in the pan for a few minutes, then grind and add them to the mixture with the ginger and turmeric, blending well.

Rub your Curry Powder into the chicken, as needed, about half hour to an hour before roasting in the oven at 350 degrees. A full sized chicken should take twenty minutes per pound, so use your discretion. All things said, it is not what spice you use, but, how you use it. Spices should blend in and not overwhelm. They should never be so intrusive that the essential character of the dish is lost.

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