What You Can Cook From Different Parts of a Chicken

Chicken meat is one of the most popular proteins in the world. Chicken dishes can be very different in taste, depending on which part of the chicken you cook. Besides, chicken meat goes well with a wide variety of spices and side dishes. This makes it a great base ingredient in many recipes from around the world. For example, chicken can be used to make the chicken and mushroom julienne, chicken schnitzel, and Mexican chicken soup with vegetables.

5-Minute Crafts would like to tell you about which part of a chicken carcass is best for one dish or another.

1. Thigh

The thigh is the top part of a chicken leg with tender, juicy meat. You can buy thighs bone in, or bone out, and with the skin on or off.

The meat of thighs is darker and harder than the breast and takes a little longer to cook. For example, you can first fry thighs and then cook them in the oven or grill them. But the ways of cooking thighs are not limited to frying and baking. Their tender meat separates well from the bone and is therefore great for casseroles, soups, sauces, Mexican tacos, and other dishes that require shredded chicken.

2. Drumstick

The chicken drumstick is the lower part of the leg. Usually drumsticks can be fried, baked, smoked, grilled, or barbecued. Cooked drumsticks are easy to eat with your hands, holding them by the long bone.

With a seemingly limited number of dishes that can be cooked from drumsticks, they provide a lot of opportunities for experimenting with spices. You can simply season them with salt and pepper, or add spices with a rich flavor like curry.

3. Leg

If you can’t choose between the thigh or the drumstick, try taking the whole leg. Its dark, flavorful meat contains a lot of fat, making it harder to overcook. This makes the leg an ideal part of the carcass for cooking in the oven, frying on the pan, or grilling. You can also stew legs in a variety of sauces, or cook a rich chicken soup.

4. Wing

Chicken wings are great for grilling or barbecuing. They mainly consist of skin and bones, and there is very little meat on them. Each wing can be divided into 3 parts: the wing tip (the outermost section that is typically thrown away), the drumette (which looks like a small drumstick), and the wingette. In stores, you can find whole wings or only wingettes.

Chicken wings have about the same amount of fat as thighs and drumsticks. Therefore, when fried or baked, the skin becomes aromatic, crispy, and very tasty. You can cook the wings just after seasoning them with spices, but it is best to marinate them for the night. This way the skin and meat will absorb the spices and acquire a brighter taste and aroma.

5. Breast

The breast is one of the most popular chicken parts due to its high amount of meat and low fat content. The breast can be bought with or without skin, whole or pre-sliced.

Chicken breast can be pan-fried, baked, grilled, and stuffed (like in the recipe for Kiev). Chicken breast is good in stews, pies, various types of roasts, and as an addition to salads.

6. Whole chicken

There are 3 reasons to buy a whole chicken, not its parts:

  1. You can bake a whole bird in the oven and serve it with fresh vegetables on the side. An aromatic chicken with an appetizing golden crust is unlikely to leave guests or family members indifferent, and most importantly, everyone will be able to choose their favorite part of the carcass during the meal.
  2. You can plan your menu a couple of days ahead. When you buy a whole chicken, you’ll get 1 breast, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, and 2 wings. For the first dinner, you can bake a breast, you can fry legs and wings for the second one, and make soup from the thighs or back for lunch.
  3. You can save money. Generally, a whole chicken costs less than individual chicken parts. This is a great option if you’re on a tight budget.
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