Poultry and fowl is a traditional favorite in all ethnic and classical cuisines. Most probably because it is less expensive to raise and slaughter than any other kinds of meat. Poultry’s appeal to the modern cook is obvious: it’s easy to prepare, and takes on an endless range of flavors.
Poultry accepts graciously and elegantly all cooking techniques. It can be prepared in an endless succession of styles and tastes. It crosses all culinary barriers and takes us back to our childhood.
you can use every indispensable part of the bird. Breast meat, wings, drumsticks, thighs, leg quarters, as well as gizzards, hearts, livers, backs and necks — even feet and cock’s combs — all have culinary applications.
Chicken: the number one preference for dinner – whether roasted for a traditional Sunday lunch, or skewered and spiced for kabob, chicken is one of the world’s most popular ingredients. Unlike other meats, few cultural or religious taboos exist regarding its consumption, and it’s a relatively cheap source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Low in fat (the fat that is present is ‘good’, being mostly unsaturated or monounsaturated)
The obsession with chicken is reflected in the endless range of recipes and preparations. The subtle taste of the meat complements a spectrum of flavors from the simple pot-roasted bird of European peasant farmers to the hot and spicy chicken soups of Thailand and the Far East.
Turkey: These large birds indigenous to Mexico and Central America where first domesticated by the Aztec Indians. The first Spanish settlers took some of these domesticated birds back to Spain, and soon Europeans were breeding them into a much plumper version. The Pilgrim Fathers brought some of these domesticated turkeys back to the New World in the 1600s and began crossing them with the indigenous American wild turkeys. Turkey, although similar to chicken in many respects has a drier breast meat but the underused thigh (red) meat is far more flavorsome and juicier with a texture closer to veal.
Turkey has fewer calories, less fat, less cholesterol, and very little sodium, but it is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
What would Xmas or Thanks Giving be without this bird? It’s very size and magnificence radiates luxury and festivity.
Or try it closer to the Aztec original roasted and served with a fiery “mole” sauce made from bitter chocolate and chili.
Cornish Game Hen: Also called “Rock Cornish game hen.” This is a hybrid of Cornish and White Rock chickens. These miniature chickens are about 4 to 6 weeks old and weigh about 500-700 gram usually enough for one serving.
Ducks and Geese: known as water fowl. Duck and goose are poultry and considered “white” meat. Because they are birds of flight, however, the breast meat is darker than chicken and turkey breast. Because all the meat on a duck or goose is dark, it has a stronger flavor than chicken breast meat and even chicken leg meat. This is because more oxygen is needed by muscles doing work.
Most of the world’s cuisines feature duck with some of the most famous classical dishes featuring duck e.g. Peking duck from China, Duck ala orange and Duck Confit from France and even the home grown Bebek Betutu in Bali, Indonesia
Pheasant: A Game Bird, coming originally from Asia but now found in Europe and North America. As with many birds, the male has a more brilliant plumage than the female and is larger. The female’s flesh is plumper and juicier. Very young cocks and hens may be roasted as is but older pheasants should be Barded with bacon or pork fat or cooked with moist heat because their flesh is lean and dry. Farm-raised pheasants do not have the same flavor as the wild birds.
The most traditional way to serve pheasant is under glass in a sauce radiant with cognac, morels and cream
Quail: Quail are a tiny, delicately flavored and mostly flightless game bird native to North American. Its delicate flavor comes from the nuts and seeds the wild bird eats.
In general, they should be cooked like other game birds. Young birds can be roasted; broiled or fried and older fowl should be cooked with moist heat.
Guinea Fowl: A relative to the chicken and partridge, the female (hen) makes better eating than the male. The taste has been described as “pleasantly gamey.” Guinea fowl were raised and eaten by the Greeks and Romans.
Pigeon and squab: A widely distributed bird that is normally eaten only when young. Squabs are young pigeons that have never flown and are therefore very tender. Squabs are normally under 400 gram and about 4 weeks old. May be prepared like chicken.
Grouse: A small low-fat game bird. Quality birds should have no odor.