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“You can do anything with the whole chicken,” says Mary Poehnelt, a butcher and currently a cook at Ming Tsai’s restaurant Blue Ginger.
There are four main parts to the chicken: breasts, wings, legs as well as bones and gizzards. Each part can be prepared in its own unique way. The chicken is very versatile. Even the chicken breast, can be prepared in multiple ways, such as bone-in split chicken breast or boneless, skinless chicken breast. The bone provides more flavors while coking the meat, hence when cooking without the bone it is a good idea to marinate the chicken for 1-2 hours prior to cooking. Chicken tenderloins are a great part of the breast; they are perfect for chicken fingers.
Next are chicken wings, a favorite appetizer that can be easily prepared at home. “If you don’t frequently buy whole chickens, you can save up your chicken wings in the freezer. They last for about three months,” Mary says.
Chicken legs are possibly the best party of a chicken, according to Mary. The whole leg is filled with a lot of flavor, especially in the area referred to as “the oyster”. You can stuff the skin of the leg with butter and rosemary, then bake it in the oven, or separate the thigh from the drumstick for a completely different dish. The thigh is perfect for stir-fry, while the drumstick lends itself well for chicken lollipops.
Lastly, the bones and gizzards are ideal for chicken stock or soup. Just braise these parts slightly, add some root vegetables, a little salt and pepper, then cook it for about two hours and you have home-made delicious chicken soup. Whatever you decide to do with a whole chicken, it is sure to be delicious and much more cost effective than purchasing the parts already butchered.
1 whole chicken
Mary Poehnelt is the season 11 runner up of FOX's hit reality television show, "Hell's Kitchen." Mary is passionate about food, cooking and creating French and Korean masterpieces. A