From Marcus Bean’s CHICKEN
Marcus Bean, author of the upcoming book Chicken, is on stage this weekend at the Shrewsbury Food Festival. He’ll be doing demonstrations on the main stage both days, and they’re also going to have a pop up cookery school and a cookery school stand there.
“Always one of my favourite ingredients, chicken is succulent, flavoursome, versatile, inexpensive and healthy. It’s very popular in our house as my wife, Jenny, hasn’t eaten red meat since she was a child, so I’ve cooked more chicken than most, but we never get fed up with it – why should we? Few foods blend as well with such a range of different ingredients and flavourings, so there’s always something different to try. In fact, I can’t think of anything that couldn’t be successfully paired with chicken to make a delicious meal – from delicate to robust foods, from subtle, creamy sauces to hot fiery curries, fruit or vegetables, fish or cheese, herbs, spices or nuts, rices, pulses or pasta. Plus, as there are mouth-watering chicken dishes in every cuisine around the world – from curries to oriental stir-fries or chicken and chips – the sky’s the limit.
For a modern and health-conscious diet, too, chicken ticks all the boxes as it is both low in fat and a great source of protein. A 100g/3oz serving of baked chicken breast contains 4g of fat and 31g of protein, compared with 10g of fat and 27g of protein for the same portion of grilled lean steak. This makes it a sensible and nutritious part of a healthy balanced diet, and great for those who are trying to slim down a little, too – cooked in the right way, of course.
Chicken is also fantastically versatile. It can be cooked by almost any cooking method – slowly for a succulent casserole, poached to make a healthy pie, or quickly with a crisp, pan-fried skin. The various cuts lend themselves to every different style of cooking, giving us so many choices that we can keep the interest going in our meals – even if we were to eat chicken every day.
As well as its versatility, in these budget-conscious times, chicken scores highly as an inexpensive meat. And the fact that nothing is wasted – even the carcase makes wonderful soup or stock – is an added bonus. It’s hard to think of a better set of credentials for any ingredient to be chosen as the star of a book and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing it in the spotlight.
In Chicken I have set out to give you the best of the classic chicken recipes, experimenting with modern and unexpected twists along the way. But I have also created new recipes, exploring great flavour combinations that I hope will help you to revolutionize the way you cook with chicken.”
Out September 2014