8 Genius Tips from Jacques Pépin for Making Better Chicken
Editor's note: Legendary chef and cookbook author Jacques Pepin showed us how to make Quick Coq au Vin during a special Allrecipes Facebook Live event, broadcast from the International Culinary Center in New York City. The recipe is from his recent book, Poulets & Legumes, a Rux Martin Book published for Sur La Table and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Scroll to the end of the post to watch the demo.
We LOVE chicken at Allrecipes, with more than 5,000 recipes submitted by our community of enthusiastic poultry fans generating tons of rave reviews. When it comes to cooking the bird, there's always something new to learn, and we've turned to the chef who's often referred to as the greatest cooking instructor in the history of food television for tips on making chicken even better. Here are 8 sure-fire suggestions from Jacques Pepin on how to take chicken to the Next Level.
1. Re-position your chicken
When roasting, cook it on its side. That position "helps the legs, which take longer than the breast, cook faster, and also keeps the breast moist."
2. First, a 5-minute hot bath
"Blanch the bird briefly when making recipes such as Peking-style chicken. This step "eliminates some of the fat and tightens the skin," making for an extra crispy finish that crackles when you carve it.
3. Fry Right!
When frying cubes of chicken, make sure and dry them well before dredging in flour. And "don't dredge them in flour until right before sauteing." Also, never overcrowd piece of chicken in the skillet or they won't brown properly.
4. Brown Thighs Skin Side Down
"Cook in a skillet, skin side down, so the skin becomes crisp, dry and beautifully browned. Cover with a tight fitting lid, so as the skin fries, the flesh is cooked by the steam." Chicken Thigh Trivia: These are Jacques' favorite chicken part!
5. Wings are So Versatile
Think beyond the typical tailgate party preparation because wings make for the best Chicken and Rice with Cumin and Cilantro, pictured below.
6. Cut Cooking Time by Splitting the Chicken
Some cooks are intimidated when it comes to the technique known as spatchcocking. But there's really nothing to it, and once you've mastered it, you'll cut the cook time for roast chicken in half.
7. Simmer in Wine
Whether it's red or white, chicken is a prime candidate for cooking with wine. It makes the meat extra tender and flavorful, especially in this Quick Coq au Vin.
8. Bring on the Heat
Chicken stands up well to spices such as cayenne and black pepper, which can easily be turned up to make a dish such as chicken curry a little extra fiery.
To learn more about this famous chef, please visit The Artistry of Jacques Pepin and the Jacques Pepin Foundation. Also, check out Jacques Pepin's profile on Allrecipes to learn more about the chef and cookbook author. Want to become a member of the Allrecipes community? It's easy to sign up.
Watch the chef prepare the dish in around 30 minutes: