Cover image for Chicken : 150 great recipes for all seasons
Chicken : 150 great recipes for all seasons
Corn, Elaine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco, Calif. : Chronicle Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
279 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX750.5.C45 C67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



About one out of four Americans will have chicken for dinner tonight. In the US and around the world, chicken is a perennial favoritewouldnt it be nice to find more and better ways to prepare it? In Chicken: 150 Recipes for All Seasons , award-winning cookbook author Elaine Corn offers delicious recipes for this lean and versatile bird throughout the year. Highlighting each seasons fresh ingredients, she presents a cornucopia of delightfully fresh and creative recipes for when peas are bursting from the pods in springtime, when tomatoes are ripe and succulent in the summer, and when the root vegetables of winter are flavorful and abundant. January to December, this year-round cookbook will inspire day after day of irresistible chicken dishes.

Author Notes

Elaine Corn is the author of Now You re Cooking. She has won both a Julia Child Award and a James Beard Award for her excellent writing about food. Her articles have appeared in Cook's Illustrated, Food & Wine, and many newspapers. She lives near Sacramento, California.

Sergio Baradat is a graphic artist working in mixed medias. He divides his time between New York City and Miami Beach.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Corn, whose Now You're Cooking made the kitchen not only welcoming but fun for beginners, brings her appealing, humorous and unintimidating style to the henhouse. There are plenty of books about chicken on the market, but Corn's stands out. First of all, the recipes are arranged by seasonÄGrilled Chicken with Mopped-On Rhubarb-Butter Sauce for spring; Chicken Roasted with Beets and Orange Sections for winterÄto encourage the use of fresh produce. Corn also goes far beyond the typical breast-and-thigh strategy, as evidenced in her Chicken Souffl‚ with Spinach and Emmentaler, Brie Mousse with Chicken and Herbs and Cold Cucumber Soup with New Walnuts (made with a chicken stock base). She makes the whole undertaking fun with text boxes titled "Chicken Nuggets," which answer questions such as, "Why Is a Rooster Called a Cock?" The introductory section is thorough, and the author occasionally supplies recipes for appropriate side dishes: she suggests serving Flavorful Basmati Rice with Grilled India Spice Thighs. Corn gets a little wacky with such recipes as Chicken Kebabs in Cola-Cardamom Marinade, and Gerald's Quick Summer Chicken with Odd Packaged Things (maple syrup and ketchup). The flip side of the weird recipes are gems such as Grilled Chicken Marinated in Rose Petals and Brandy and Chicken with Walnuts and Fig Sauce. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Introduction You hold in your hands another cookbook about chicken. It will last you all year. And the year after that. Don't let the fact that there are fewer than 365 ways to cook chicken here fool you. The point isn't to eat chicken every day of the year but to pair chicken with fresh produce as the year goes by. Considering that Americans now eat nearly 30 million pounds of chicken a year, many of us might actually look forward to a meal that isn't chicken. Such wasn't always the ease. In the early 1900s, chicken cost about 20 cents a pound (adjusted to 3 dollars and 30 cents a pound in 1998 dollars), and was a luxury more expensive than beef. Today, agribusiness giants produce chickens in such numbers that we can afford to eat it at a rate of 96.8 pounds per person per year. We can't imagine not having chicken whenever we want it. Devoid of its own season, our bird's special benign neutrality actually extends its variety. French philosopher and culinarian Anthelme Brillat-Savarin compared cooking a chicken to painting a canvas. A fashion maven might call chicken the basic black dress of cuisine (with seasonal produce as accessories). I think of chicken as a comic straight man. It absorbs whatever comes its way. Produce is the key to staying true to the seasons, although sometimes it's hard to tell the time of year by what's available in grocery stores. As actor and gourmand Vincent Price once wrote, shelf-stable cans, the refrigerator, and the freezer breached "the tyranny of the seasons" and freed cooks from seasonal dependency. Look at the food-out-of-season concept today. Is it out of control? Agribusiness elongates growing seasons. Global wholesalers flip-flop hemispheres to bring summer fruit to winter climes, and the other way around. In truth, the world can feed on any food on demand no matter the actual season. Perhaps people who like autumn's food during autumn are experiencing the tyranny of shipping. I love to rebel against many of the elements that make modern life just a little too slick--like tomatoes in winter. Staying seasonal, no matter what's at the store, is a grounding force that helps me to focus on what's real, what's in its right time and place. I'm lucky to be able to shop at big farmers' markets all week, all year. But you can cook with the seasons, too, and this book will help you. Not only will you notice increased variety at dinner, but you'll develop an inner shop(ping) clock with an alarm that goes off when tomatoes show up in January. Where the heck did they come from? Most likely a greenhouse or tropical country. They're not illegal, just seasonally dishonest. Making chicken seasonally correct is determined by two things: (1) the seasonal ingredients around the chicken, and (2) how hot the house gets. Chicken allows many intimacies between its skin and flesh, from the strange to the predictable. In this book, a chicken will jump into a pan with just about anything--potato, tomato, apple, banana, mustard greens, curry, nuts, olives, Coke, wine, and the hard stuff. You'll find it with Bing cherries or lavas in spring, tomatoes and corn in summer; chard or squash in autumn, and with ugly old root vegetables in winter. The hotter the pot, the colder the season. Spring and summer recipes are fresh, quick, and fairly easy. Good spring examples are a quick stir-fry with asparagus and chicken braised in coconut milk with fresh peas. Summer grilling and chicken salads keep the house cool, as does a microwaved batch of chicken breasts. By autumn, we want the house steamed up from stocks and long-cooked recipes, such as chicken baked with fresh cranberry beans, a fine chicken paprikash with gypsy peppers, or even a big stuffed Thanksgiving chicken. And in winter the oven and stove top are kept busy fueling a variety of recipes designed to throw off enough heat, along with aromas, to warm up cold days, including chicken-in-a-pot, chicken pot pie, and chicken roasted with shallots in Chardonnay sauce. While discovering the range of seasonal chicken cookery, I also found out more than I ever wanted to know about chickens themselves. In preparing this book I went to poultry shows, researched chicken's global history, learned a little about breeds, and collected nonsense in general, including chicken jokes, all recorded for you in these pages. In truth, the chicken is the avian of the ages, richly imbued with symbolic intrigue, quirky social habits, and masses of devoted followers of the human persuasion. (In the following chapters, you'll discover some of that delicious trivia under the heading Chicken Nugget.) The chicken's questionable intelligence only adds to its charms. I have fallen for all its charms, particularly those that emanate from a sauté pan. If you and your family eat chicken so much that, in the words of my mother's friend Florence, "We cluck," just follow the seasons. You'll have plenty of accessories to dress up your bird. Chapter One Getting to Know the Chicken Where Do Chickens Come From? The chickens we buy in stores and take home to cook are as removed from their origins as man is from the monkey. A reluctant consensus of poultry experts says that the first chicken was the wild Red Jungle Fowl, a two-pound critter believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. Beyond that, any discussion about where chickens came from and when and where they were domesticated resembles the chaotic din of a barnyard full of clucking hens. A lot of stock is put in the belief that the little Red Jungle Fowl came to the end of his wild life when he was "domesticated" in the Indus Valley of today's west Pakistan. Some say it happened around 3000 B.C.; others more carefully date domestication by 2000 B.C. Confirming this information was no lesser an authority than Charles Darwin, who also concluded that of all the jungle fowls around at the time, the red fowl was the one involved in the domestication of the chicken. Fast forward to 1994. A study complete with DNA tests pointed to an older bird going back ten thousand years to Thailand. The truth is, no one is absolutely sure about the dispersion of chickens on their trajectories to nearly every country in the world and into the fires and stomachs of nearly every civilization. They certainly didn't fly. There is strong evidence that they fanned out from India by sea to Egypt and by land to Persia, Greece, and Italy. There are even reports that they headed north to China as early as 6000 B.C. The names first used to describe chickens were those of a town or region where they showed up: Shanghai, Chittagong, Cochin, Peking, Castile, Minorca, Surrey, Sussex. Today it's reasonable to credit all the jungle fowls for giving rise to our current chicken population--not necessarily only the red one. If you want to see what some of those first chickens might have looked like, go to a poultry show nearly anyplace in the world and find a Malay. This beautiful bird that lays buff brown eggs and is bred by poultry fanciers who blow-dry their feathers is believed the only faintly tangible link to the progenitor. While Southeast Asia figures prominently in the evolution of the chicken, the cradle of intellectual activity was Italy, where our wild jungle fowl got its Latin name, Gallus gallus . The world's earliest treatise recorded the habits, behavior, growth, physiology, and psychology of chickens in an obsessive circumspection written in 1600 by Ulisse Aldrovani, born in Bologna in 1522. Of Aldrovani's nine-volume magnum opus on animals, Aldrovani on Chickens took up an entire volume of the three he wrote about birds. It's taken many centuries to breed the chickens we buy today. Whatever shape chickens were in before man discovered them, they were quickly--and deliberately--altered. Greed drove the new chicken designs. For example, birds bred by the clever coupling of a hearty rooster and a mean old hen won the most money at cockfighting, which I'm sorry to say remains, as in ancient times, the world's biggest spectator sport. The chicken came to America in 1607 with the Jamestown colonists. Eggs and chicken meat were essential sources of pioneer protein. Yet compared to other domesticated animals, the chicken seemed to receive little human gratitude (were chicken jokes far behind?). In wills, horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs were bequeathed with detailed instructions and beneficiary lists, but chickens were referred to only by how many there were at last count. In 1840, the first poultry census by the United States Department of the Interior counted about 99 million birds. For two centuries Americans continually mixed chickens. Birds unwanted in the markets in Europe sailed here. They were added to coops and yards with other chickens, which hatched millions of chicks of accidental heritage. In the early years, most were dark skinned and laid brown eggs. Hardly any white chickens were sent to such markets as Faneuil Hall in Boston (or even to LaValee in Paris) because of a life span kept short by predators attracted to their whiteness (today, in contrast, most egg-laying poultry is white and so are their eggs). Eventually the melting-pot chicken wore out its welcome. Poultry fanciers wanted clean strains. This was done by monitoring the roosters within a region. In the early 1800s, huge numbers of a reddish brown chicken began to dominate southern Massachusetts and all of Rhode Island, and the bird is known to this day as the Rhode Island Red. In a few decades, knowing which chicken was which got downright confusing. The American Poultry Book , written in 1843 by M. R. Cock (this is not a joke, but the pen name for C. N. Bement), listed five poultry categories: Game Cock, Top Knot, Italian Hen, Malay, and Bantam. But there came more. How did we keep them all straight? Is it a White Faced Black Spanish or a Barred Plymouth Rock or a White Rock? Drawings more detailed than the blueprint for the Brooklyn Bridge were drawn of hens and their rooster mates. Some are worth a fortune today. The illustrations standardized the appearance of poultry, the new goal of breeding. Like gourmands seeking the latest ingredient, poultry breeders sought cutting edge chicken exotica. Huge Cochin chickens from China caught the attention of Queen Victoria, whose interest initiated a global chicken mania. Americans were interested in the bushy Brahma and lovely Shanghai, breeds you see today at poultry shows all over the country. What Is a Chicken Today? Today's eating chicken is a bird of many other feathers, hybrids many times over. The Pioneer Seed Corn Company in Iowa came up with the first commercial chicken in 1942, the Hyline. Whatever else may be bred into them, all commercial chickens bear the bloodlines of Cornish chickens from England crossed with those of the White Rock. As a form of technology, chicken production is right up there with the automobile. It supplies 20 billion dollars' worth of reliable and inexpensive food nearly around the clock. The formulas that predetermine fast growth and heavy meat are the intellectual property of poultry firms traded on the stock exchange. There is no sign that the popularity of chicken will slow any time soon. Not even intermittent salmonella scares have daunted the demand for Gallus domesticus . In survey after poll after questionnaire, we say chicken is healthy, nutritious, cheap, a source of quality protein, tastes good, and is easy to cook. Considering the chicken doesn't fly, isn't very predatory, and is the butt of jokes, it turns out something of a winner and has been since those days back in the jungle. The difference is that today the chicken has won over that modern jungle we call the marketplace. Pickin' Chicken Hormones have not been fed to chickens for more than thirty-five years. Meat birds are never grown in cages. The recipes in this book were tested using conventionally raised grocery-store chickens. My decision to do this was based on the predictability that the chickens in a store near you will be of a similar quality--packaged fresh, hopefully never frozen, probably not as flavorful as a fresh-killed chicken from the country, but tender and assuredly up to the job. Price was also a factor. From time to time, when money was no object, I used a previously frozen Empire Kosher chicken or a free-range organic bird such as the Rocky the Range chicken from Petaluma, California. No matter which chicken you use, the recipes will hold up. You can interchange grocery-store chicken, free-range chicken, organic chicken, kosher chicken, or even a chicken that's been previously frozen (by you). When recipes for stock call for a stewing hen (or chicken), it's because this older fowl yields a highly flavorful stock. It's not a rule, however. You can make delicious stock using a regular broiler-fryer. What to Look For On the East Coast, including the Delmarva Peninsula and throughout the Southeast, chickens are slaughtered smaller, with whole broiler-fryers weighing in at about three and a half pounds. Birds of the same designation on the West Coast are a little larger, ranging from three-and-a-half to four pounds plus. Chickens should have more breast than leg and no blood spots or bruises. A whole bird should be short, not stretched out like a vaudevillian rubber chicken. If you're buying breasts, look for plump ones and avoid overly pointed ones. If fat globules are yellow, the chicken ate corn. Look for chicken that's fresh and plump, that doesn't smell spoiled, and that is not sitting in bloody liquid. Chicken sells so quickly that turnover keeps our supply naturally fresh. If you have doubts, check the label for a freshness date. FROM "Basic Recipes That Will Come in Handy": WHITE-COOKED CHICKEN 1 chicken, 3 ½ to 4 pounds 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 1 large onion, or 3 leeks Handful of fresh parsley sprigs 1 bay leaf 5 white peppercorns 2 teaspoons salt 1-inch piece fresh ginger (about 1 ounce), unpeeled (optional) ¼ teaspoon white pepper 1 Place all the ingredients in a stockpot. Add cold water to cover. Bring slowly to a simmer over medium heat, uncovered. Skim off any scum as it appears. 2 Simmer (no hotter) for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the chicken cool in the broth for about 2 hours. 3 Lift out the chicken and place in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices. Let cool, then skin and debone. Shred or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside in whatever juices have collected. The cooked chicken may be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen in zip-style freezer bags. 4 If you want to deepen the flavor of the stock, return the skin and bones to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes. Then pour the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. (If you haven't simmered it with the bones and skin, you can skip this step.) Discard the contents of the sieve, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover with foil, poke with a few holes to allow steam to escape, and refrigerate until the fat rises. Lift off the fat and discard, then cover and refrigerate the stock for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 year. Makes 1 chicken SMOKED CHICKEN 1 chicken, 3½ pounds FOR THE ITALIAN-SMOKED RUB: 2 tablespoons coarse salt ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary 2 tablespoons olive oil ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar for smoking medium FOR THE ASIAN-SMOKED RUB: 1 tablespoon coarse salt 1 tablespoon brown sugar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon minced garlic ¼ teaspoon white pepper 2 tablespoons vegetable oil ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar and 2 star anise for smoking medium FOR THE TEXAN-SMOKED RUB: 2 tablespoons coarse salt ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper 2 tablespoons New Mexico chile powder 1½ teaspoons ground cumin 1½ teaspoons dried oregano 2 tablespoons vegetable oil ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar and ¼ cup dry hickory or mesquite chips (optional) for smoking medium 1 Select the rub of choice. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the smoking medium and mix until smooth. Have ready the ingredient(s) for the smoking medium. 2 Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub inside and out with the entire rub mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours to allow the flavors to penetrate. 3 Meanwhile, line a large wok with heavy-duty foil. Similarly, line the underside of the wok's lid. Don't even think about using flimsy aluminum foil. It will tear and might burn through, making a real mess. 4 On another square of foil, place the ingredient(s) for the smoking medium. Fold the packet closed but not too tightly. Place the packet in the center of the foil-lined wok. Set a steamer rack or cake cooling rack over the packet. 5 Cover the wok and preheat it on high heat. When you see and smell smoke, open the wok and place the rubbed chicken directly on the rack. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and smoke-cook until deeply bronzed, 40 to 45 minutes. 6 Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 400°F. When the chicken is bronzed, transfer it to a baking dish and slip it into the oven to finish cooking, about 30 minutes. (Remove the wok from the heat immediately and discard the foil lining.) The juices should run clear between the thigh and breast. 7 Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate. Let the chicken and its juices cool. Shred the meat from the bones and use as the recipe directs. Makes 1 chicken Copyright © 1999 Elaine Corn. All rights reserved.