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Healthnotes Index:

Chicken

Chicken: Main Image

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

Wash chicken thoroughly in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Chicken should always be cooked until well done. For best results, particularly when roasting a whole stuffed chicken, use a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the bird. Internal temperature for a whole chicken should be 165°F (74°C) when the chicken is done.

You can make a visual check to see if the chicken is done by piercing it with a fork. You should be able to insert the fork with ease, and the chicken juices should run clear. Chicken is thoroughly cooked when it is no longer pink inside.

Roasting

Wash whole chicken inside and out under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels. Mix together 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sprinkle over outside of whole chicken and inside body cavity, or stuff with bread crumbs, herbs, spices, and vegetables if desired. Hook wing tips under the back of the chicken. Place chicken breast side up in a shallow pan. Roast in preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C). Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Frying

In a plastic bag, mix together 1/2 cup flour (60g), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add cut-up chicken parts, a few at a time, and shake to coat. In a large frying pan, heat 1/3 cup (90mL) cooking oil to high temperature. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook about 20 minutes more or until chicken is brown and fork tender.

Oven-frying

Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine in a small pan or microwavable dish. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a shallow dish, place 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs. One at a time, dip cut-up chicken parts in butter or margarine, and then in bread crumbs, turning to coat well. Place chicken pieces in single layer on lightly greased baking sheet, skin side up. Bake in preheated 375°F (190°C) oven about 50 minutes or until chicken is brown and fork tender.

Simmering

In a large pot or Dutch oven, place 1 whole chicken or 1 cut-up chicken, 3 to 4 pounds (1,350 to 1,800g). Add enough water to cover (2 to 2 1/2 quarts or 1.89 to 2.5 liters), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add 1 small onion, sliced; 1 bay leaf; and 3 celery tops, if desired, for richer broth flavor. Cover and simmer about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until chicken falls off the bone. Remove chicken from pan and let cool. Separate meat from bones. Discard skin and bones. Cut chicken into desired size pieces.

Steaming

Place chicken pieces on a rack above simmer cooking liquid (broth, wine, or water). Simmer for about 45 minutes; test for doneness.

Broiling

Preheat broiler. Line broiler pan with foil for easy cleanup. Spray the rack of the broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray, if desired. Place chicken halves, leg quarters, parts, or boneless, skinless chicken pieces on rack set in broiler pan. Position oven rack so that chicken pieces on the broiler rack are 6 inches (about 15cm) from the heat source. Broil, turning over several times, until juices run clear and internal temperatures reflect properly cooked chicken. Boneless chicken takes approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side; bone-in pieces, depending on the size, take about 20 minutes per side. Use tongs to turn chicken over to prevent piercing and loss of juices during cooking.

Grilling

For more uniform thickness and even cooking, flatten chicken halves with the heel of your hand before placing them on the preheated grill. To preserve chicken’s natural moisture and to prevent dryness, leave the skin on during grilling and remove it before eating, if desired.

Place chicken halves, quarters, or parts on a prepared grill with the rack about 8 inches (20cm) from the heat source. Grill, turning frequently (using tongs to prevent piercing skin), about 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until fork tender. Chicken drumsticks, thighs, or whole legs (thighs with drumsticks attached) require a longer cooking time than do chicken breasts. Homemade or bottled barbecue sauce (or other glazes) may be brushed on chicken during the last 10 to 20 minutes of grilling time.

To test the temperature, place your palms above the coals or heat source at cooking level. If you have to remove your hands after 2 seconds, the temperature is hot; after 3 seconds, medium hot; and after 4 seconds, medium. More than 4 seconds indicates the grill has not reached cooking temperature.

Microwaving

In a shallow microwave dish, arrange 1 cut-up chicken (or equivalent parts), skin removed, in a single layer, with meatier parts toward the edges of the dish. Brush chicken with 1 tablespoon (15mL) melted butter or margarine. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on High 18 to 20 minutes or about 6 minutes per pound (450g), rotating the dish a half turn after 9 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. When microwaving a whole chicken, use the Medium setting.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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