The latest book from Food & Wine, Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook ($25), might be dedicated entirely to chicken, but it is by no means boring. We all know that chicken is a wonderful lean protein, but cooking a boneless, skinless breast can become awfully dull. This cookbook is the antidote to monotonous chicken. With lovely photos accompanying every recipe, it is easy to become inspired flipping through its pages. Many of the recipes seem healthy, but the cookbook doesn't include any nutritional breakdown of the recipes, which is my only criticism of this book. Since chicken is such a versatile protein and can be cooked a variety of ways, the cookbook is organized around all the different cooking techniques making it easy to find recipes to try. Being summertime, I was drawn to the section devoted to grilling. I made the Tandoori chicken, and it was a hit. My girls loved it and it impresses dinner guests repeatedly. The major bonus: it's easy.
- 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
- with skin removed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- Light the grill. Using a sharp knife, cut shallow incisions in the chicken pieces at about 1/2-inch intervals. In a large, glass dish or stainless-steel pan, combine the lemon juice, water, salt, and turmeric. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Let the chicken pieces marinate for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and cayenne. Add to the chicken and lemon mixture; turn to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
- Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, basting with oil, for 10 minutes. Turn and cook, basting with the remaining oil, until just done, about 10 minutes longer for the breasts, 12 for the thighs and drumsticks.
- Poultry, Main Dishes
When I make this dish for my family, I omit the cayenne pepper — my daughters' young palates can't tolerate the heat — the end result is still quite tasty. You can also make kabobs with this recipe using four to five chicken breasts. If you're interested, pick up a copy of the cookbook from Amazon.