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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Book Review: 125 Best Chicken Recipes

If there's one standby meat in American kitchens, it's probably chicken. I like beef, I like fish and seafood, pork, and the occasional vegetarian dish. But chicken is reliable, versatile, and relatively inexpensive.
So the more ways I can find to cook chicken, the better. I was glad, then, to get a copy of 125 Best Chicken Recipes from publisher Robert Rose. 
Author Rose Murray, who has been writing about food for over forty years, has put together a compendium of recipes covering just about every edible part of the chicken, using a variety of techniques.
Like other Robert Rose cookbooks, this is laid out logically and simply, informative but easy to follow. A brief introduction covers the basics of cooking chicken, including kitchen tools, ingredients, and cooking techniques.
From there, the book moves on to the recipes. You'll find everything from wing recipes to soups, roasts, one-dish meals, and grilling.
Most recipes occupy a single page, with clearly laid-out ingredients and steps, as well as useful side notes and tips. The index is also very user-friendly and complete.
This book was a useful eye-opener. I've cooked a lot of chicken over the years, but I have found myself going back time and again to the same old dishes. And yes, I can go online to search for recipes, but again if you do that, you're apt to come up with the same things every time:  roast chicken, southern fried, cacciatore, and so on.
This book offers a lot more. The basics are all here, but so are dishes that I would either not have thought of on my own, or not known how to prepare if I did, like Moroccan baked chicken, orange-rosemary glazed chicken breasts, and grilled chicken satay with coconut-peanut sauce. But even the most exotic recipes are presented simply, in a manner that any average home cook can handle.
If you'd like to expand your chicken repertoire, 125 Best Chicken Recipes is a fine resource. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much more you can get out of this humble bird.

125 Best Chicken Recipes by Rose Murray. 191 pp. Robert Rose Inc. © 1999, 2003, 2014

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