Spatchcocking chicken, also called butterflying, calls for cutting the bird along its backbone, then opening it up so that it can lie flat in the pan. Spatchcocked chickens cook quickly and evenly, turning gorgeously brown in the process. You can ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you, but it’s not a hard thing to do yourself (see instructions below). Good, sharp poultry shears are all you need.
A fried, breaded chicken cutlet is a wonderful thing—crunchy, golden, juicy within. Universally adored even when served simple and plain, they also take well to embellishment. This slightly fancier version is scented with cumin and citrus, and served with a sweet-tart cranberry chutney spiked with a little jalapeño. If you’re pressed for time, skip the cranberry-kumquat chutney and serve this with a spoonful of mango chutney, or a dollop of lingonberry jam if you’ve got some in the fridge from a recent IKEA excursion (that’s where I always stock up). You’re just looking to add something tangy-sweet to the plate to offset the richness of the fried cutlet.
These fluffy pieces of shredded tofu are like soft, tiny dumplings and cook up in no time at all. Here, ground chicken gives them a meaty depth and a caramelized flavor while edamame adds texture and a vegetable to the mix. If you want to make this vegetarian, leave out the meat, and instead sauté 4 ounces of chopped fresh shiitake or cremini mushrooms with the scallions and ginger. Make sure to get the shiitakes nice and golden; you need the extra flavor that caramelization provides. Serve this by itself or with a simple salad of baby spinach dressed with a little sesame oil, salt, and lime juice.
This curry features two of my favourite ingredients – chicken and chickpeas. I make it in an unusual way – the ingredients are combined in a saucepan first, then transferred to the oven. It’s a good method as, once the dish is in the oven, you can forget all about it until the timer bleeps. The spicing works well with the chicken, while the chickpeas give the dish plenty of substance. Serve it with rice or naan bread and yogurt.
We think fried chicken is something that few people dislike (and if you hate it, we don’t want to know you anyway). Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Out in Cleveland, koji master Jeremy Umansky is working on a game-changing koji-cultured fried chicken that uses the mold as a crust. We're not nearly as crazy (or as cool), but we still wanted to take advantage of the amazing tenderizing and flavor-boosting properties of shio koji, a mixture of rice koji, water, and salt. So we marinated a bunch of chicken in the stuff and even incorporated some dried granular rice koji into the coating itself to produce juicy, meaty, deep golden-brown, crunchtastic chicken.
For an authentic tasting Thai coconut soup recipe made with readily available ingredients, we developed an acceptably rich base by using equal parts chicken broth and coconut. Our "magic bullet" substitution: jarred red curry paste, which includes all the exotic ingredients we were missing. Just adding a dollop at the very end of cooking and whisking it with pungent fish sauce and tart lime juice allowed all the classic flavors of the best Thai chicken soup recipe to come through loud and clear.
24-Hour Chicken Matsaman Curry | Kaeng Matsaman Kai
Chicken salad may seem retro, but this one is positively medieval. It’s a timely resurrection of a much-loved dish, described as the perfect summertime fare by Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi (poet, musician and cook) who devised this barida dish in the ninth century. The idea behind bawarid – cold dishes – is a mixture of meat or vegetables, brought together by a sauce. Timeless. Much like the sandwich… Many believe the sandwich to have been invented in 18th-century England by Lord Sandwich, however, medieval records turn back the clock. At ancient Persian banquets, you’d be served a sort of canapé called bazmaward or awsat, which was essentially thin flatbread (but not always) filled with roast meat, such as the following baridas, rolled up and sliced into pin-wheels. Today, we call these aarayes in parts of the Middle East. Bazmaward make for wonderful snacks or finger food to decorate the table with.
Roasting chickens during pockets of spare time on the weekends pays huge dividends during busy weeks. A whole chicken can feed a lot of people, and for a family of two like ours, it lasts a few days. Plus, a roasted chicken can be repurposed for an endless number of dishes, including salad (page 148), sandwiches, mac and cheese . . . the possibilities are endless. In this nifty roast chicken, I lace the meat with green chutney and serve extra on the side for dunking.
You can easily ask a butcher to butterfly the chicken for you, but it isn’t difficult to do at home and can be curiously pleasurable. Just sit the chicken, breast-side down, on a board and press down a little until you hear a gratifying crunch. With a good pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone. Remove the backbone, then flip the chicken over and press down on the breast, to flatten it a little. The marinade infuses the chicken overnight with a deep and musky saltiness, but not spikily so; intense though miso most definitely is, it works subtly, bringing its caramelly saltiness to the meat.