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College Kitchen: College chicken

Don’t chicken out. Buy the whole thing.
A whole roasted chicken stuffed with vegetables.
Image by Ichigo Takikawa
A whole roasted chicken stuffed with vegetables.

It’s simple. Buying a whole chicken will cost you the same as two or three breasts in most stores. It’s just a matter of learning recipes for every part of the chicken. Given that chicken is one of the world’s most popular meats, this shouldn’t be difficult.

Breaking down a chicken may not be graceful, but it’s an easy and accessible way to pretend to be a butcher for a day.

Every culture has preparations for every part of a chicken. Outlined below are a couple of recipes to show how varied chicken dishes can be.


Roast chicken

We all know rotisserie chickens are delicious. There’s no shame in nabbing one of those bad boys from the grocery store every so often.

If you want to be a slick, self-sufficient chef, save money and roast your own. With Thanksgiving around the corner, a roast chicken makes a nice substitute for apartment ovens that can’t house a seven-pound turkey.

1 whole chicken, about 3-4 pounds
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.

Liberally season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, and then add the stuffing (see recipe below) alone with a whole lemon.

Cover the outside of the chicken in salt, pepper and olive oil. Rub thoroughly.

Place in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. This allows the skin to crisp up and turn a nice golden brown.

Slice the chicken into breasts, thighs and legs and serve alongside the stuffing.


Bread stuffing

If you wanna go full-tilt Thanksgiving, you’ll need some good old-fashioned stuffing to go along with your poultry.

5 slices wheat bread, toasted and cubed
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Melt the butter in a skillet. Sauté the onions and celery for about four minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.

Don’t pack the bird too tightly with stuffing. This ensures everything is cooked nice and safely.


Pan-fried chicken teriyaki

Traditionally, the teriyaki glaze contains sake instead of cooking sherry. Nevertheless, teriyaki is an ideal preparation for dark meat chicken.

2 chicken thighs, deboned
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
1/2 teaspoons salt

Rub the chicken thighs with the salt and ginger until lightly coated.

In a large frying pan, brown the chicken on one side. Flip, add half the cooking sherry and cover. Turn the heat low and let the chicken simmer for about five minutes.

Add the soy sauce, honey  and remainder of the sherry. Repeatedly flip the chicken to evenly coat it in the sauce. Serve over rice.


Baked buffalo wings

What’s the best thing about Thanksgiving? Food. What’s the second-best thing about Thanksgiving? Football. What is the food most synonymous with football? Buffalo wings. Be American. Eat Buffalo wings on Thanksgiving. It just makes sense.

2 pounds chicken wings
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce — pick your favorite. Frank’s, Sriracha, etc. will all do fine.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the wings. Whisk thoroughly, then add the wings. Evenly coat all sides of the chicken.

On an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, roast the wings until the skin is crispy, about 40 minutes.


Chicken stock

You can’t call yourself a serious cook until you’ve simmered up a batch of chicken stock. It’ll improve most any soups, stews, sauces and rice dishes.

You can actually use cooked chicken leftovers for the stock. Save the bones from your roast chicken and toss ’em in the pot.

2 pounds spare chicken parts — leftover bones and the back work best
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage

Place the chicken parts into the largest pot you’ve got, and add water until the chicken is just covered. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about three minutes. Discard the water but keep the chicken parts in the pot. This step removes some of the scum from the stock and keeps it clear.

Add the remainder of the ingredients, and fill the pot entirely with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the ever-living heck out of it.

Every half hour or so, use a spoon to skim the fat off the top of the stock.

All in all, the stock should simmer for about three hours. It keeps in the fridge for about a week but can easily be frozen for later use.


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