Health and Wellness
Recipe Rescue: April 2012
I am often asked to reveal the absolute must haves in my kitchen
By Patrick Mathieu
I am often asked to reveal the absolute must haves in my kitchen, including the tools and products that I couldn’t imagine cooking without. As I am not a big fan of kitchen gadgets, my response is always the same: a really good knife and a lot of creativity!
I often look for ingredients to inspire me, rather than the newest and latest fads. There are a handful of ingredients that trigger your creative juices and are a blank canvas waiting to be made into something tastefully unique!
One of my favourite ingredients that falls into this category is chicken. Although chicken starts out as a bland, almost flavourless, piece of protein, it is capable of taking on the many flavours of several different cuisines. By varying cooking techniques and using a worldwide variety of ingredients and flavours, thousands of dishes can be creatively made using a simple piece of chicken.
It is no coincidence that chicken is a dietary staple in most cultures. It is a very healthy, lean source of protein, and due to its cellular makeup, it easily absorbs different flavours. Most people enjoy chicken, so if your crew is feeling like Italian, or perhaps Thai, classic American, or Mexican, chicken is a great starting point at the grocery store.
Once you determine where in the world you want to go with your chicken, the possibilities are endless. More decisions will quickly enter your creative thought process, such as, “Should I grill it, roast it or braise it? Beer can in the butt? Fry it? Should I use the breast, thighs, drumsticks, wings or whole bird? Do I want to make a soup, sandwich, salad, casserole, pizza, or pasta? Should I serve it over rice, potatoes or maybe noodles?”
So, as you can see, with a versatile ingredient such as chicken, the options are endless – it’s an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and explore ingredients and a different cuisine of the world, different parts of the bird, and a variety of cooking techniques and styles.
I’ve included four chicken recipes, each using a different cooking technique, a different type of cuisine and a different part of the bird.
I hope these recipes start a creative recipe repertoire, and the ability to take one ingredient and turn it into a worldwide culinary adventure. Enjoy!
Patrick Mathieu is an 11-year veteran of Waterloo Fire Rescue. He has won several cooking competitions and has helped raise thousands of dollars for charities by auctioning gourmet dinners at the fire hall. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org