Poultry, in particular chicken, just has to be one of the most versatile classes of meat that there is. Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, an 18th century gourmet and philosopher/writer, once said, “The chicken is to the cook what the blank canvas is to the artist,” and I find that, oh so true. There is virtually no direction I can’t take a chicken … simple, complex, fancy, plain. I can sauté it, steam it, bake or broil or BBQ it, fry it, boil it. A chicken can adapt to any culture – just try to name a culture where a chicken recipe doesn’t spring right to mind. A chicken is like Princess Summerspringwinterfall – a dish for all seasons. On it’s own or greatly enhanced – chicken is oh so forgiving, and despite ever souring prices, it is still one of the most economical things you can buy.
One of my favorite spring meals is based on chicken. I begin with a stewing hen, (when available which isn’t often these days) and put her in a pot with onions and garlic of course and herbs and simmer until she is very tender. Remove her and place her in the oven to keep warm. Boil spring vegetables (the smallest of new potatoes, sugar peas, baby carrots, small boiling onions) in the liquid from the hen and when they are done to your liking, remove them with a slotted spoon and pace with the hen. Make Späetzle or Ghnocchi.
Adjust the flavor of the liquid left from the hen and vegetables. If I can’t find a stewing hen I usually have to enhance the liquid by adding a bit of powdered bouillon. So, the liquid is served first with fresh baked bread as the fish course. Then the hen, vegetables and Späetzle or Ghnocchi are served. This makes an excellent spring meal. It’s classically Provincial French.
Here are quite a few additional Poultry Recipes for you to explore and enjoy.
And here is another idea and oh so economical: You can often find the pre cooked rotisserie grocery store chickens from the day before at greatly reduced prices, usually a lot cheaper than a raw chicken. So, buy one of these. They have multiple uses. First, they are pretty damn good just as they are and they make great picnic fare. However, you may take them in many other directions as well. Strip off the skin, which has all the rotisserie flavorings on it. Be sure to save it. You may now add your own flavorings and do with it what you will. I have tripped off the breasts and used them to make Chicken Dijon. Use the breast is oriental stir-fries of sliver and use on pasta or in salads. Section the chicken, put it in a pan, pour your favorite red sauce over it, bake for a bit and you have Chicken Cacciatore. Make a sauce rich in paprika and garlic and you have Chicken Paprikash. Try smothering it with sautéed mushrooms and serving with pasta. Gently sauté garlic, fresh tomatoes and basil, add the sectioned chicken and some red wine and serve this over pasta as well. Hell, I’ve even taken these pre cooked chickens, sectioned them, breaded them and made Southern Fried Chicken. Always save that skin and the carcass because that becomes soup. The meat, picked off the carcass, chopped finely and enhanced with finely minced onion, garlic, celery, herbs, mayonnaise and mustard, becomes sandwich spread.