Chicken is the most popular meat in America, where Americans buy about 83 pounds of chicken per person per year. It is one of the most versatile ingredients you can find. A fresh chicken should have a plump breast and the skin should be creamy in color. If you buy a frozen chicken remember to thaw it slowly. Thaw it slowly in the fridge. Do not let it sit out in room temperature, as it allows bacteria to multiply.
There are several types of chickens that you can buy in the store. The most popular are roasters that are birds that are about six to twelve months old. They usually are 3 – 4 pounds and can feed nicely a family of four. Boilers, the second most popular are about twelve months old. They weight between 4 – 6 pounds. To make these chickens tender, they require long, slow cooking, around 2 – 3 hours.
A more expensive bird is a corn-fed chicken. They usually weigh from 2 1/2 – 3 pounds. There are also spring chickens that you can buy. These birds are about three months old and weigh from 2 – 2 1/2 pounds. One will serve three to four people.
Another type of chicken are poussins. These are four to six weeks old and weigh 1 – 1 1/4 pounds. These only one person would be fed by a single bird. Double poussins are eight to ten weeks old and weight 1 3/4 – 2 pounds. These birds are best roasted, grilled, or pot-roasted.
Roasting times are important to know when you are entertaining. How terrible it would be that you would serve a roast chicken dinner to find out there was blood on your chicken.
From: Fraser, Linda. 2010 . Essential Chicken Cookbook. Anness Publishing Ltd.
ROASTING TIMES FOR POULTRY
Note: Cooking times given here are for unstuffed birds. For stuffed birds, add 20 minutes to the total roasting time.
Poussin 1-1 1/2 pounds (1 -1 1/4 hrs at 350 degrees F.)
Chicken 2 1/2-3 pounds (1-1 1/4 hrs at 375 degrees F.)
Chicken 3 1/2-4 pounds (1 1/4 – 2 hrs at 375 degrees F.)
Chicken 4 1/2-5 pounds (1 1 /2-2 hrs at 375 degrees F.)
Chicken 5-6 pounds (1 3/4-2 1/2 hrs at 375 degrees F.)
Duck 3-5 pounds (1 3/4-2 1/2 hrs at 400 degrees F.)
Goose 8-10 pounds (2 1/3-3 hrs at 350 degrees F.)
Goose 10-12 pounds (3-3 1/2 hrs at 350 degrees F.)
Turkey (whole bird) 6-8 pounds (3-3 1/2 hrs at 325 degrees F.)
Turkey (whole bird) 8-12 pounds (3-4 hrs at 325 degrees F.)
Turkey (whole bird) 12-16 pounds (4-5 hrs at 325 degrees F.)
Turkey (whole breast) 4-6 pounds (1 1/2-2 1/4 hrs at 325 degrees F.)
Turkey (whole breast) 6-8 pounds (2 1/4-3 1/4 hrs at 325 degrees F.)
When you are getting ready to cook a chicken, there are several food safety tips to follow in order to stay healthy. Chicken can become contaminated by salmonella bacteria, which in turn can cause severe food poisoning.
First thing you need to do when buying a chicken, is to check the expiration date. Unless you will be defrosting a frozen chicken, place it directly into your freezer as soon as you return home. If you are planning to cook it the same day, remove the packaging and place covered in a pan and keep refrigerated. Make sure you do not let the uncooked chicken drop any juices onto cooked food. This will contaminate your other foods and make them unacceptable for eating.
When preparing your raw chicken, use a non-wooden cutting board. This will help keep your food preparation area safe. If any blood or raw chicken juices spill onto a cutting board, or another place, make sure you use a bleach to destroy any bacteria. It is always best to use a non-wooded cutting board if you can.
Finally, when you are roasting your chicken, use a meat thermometer to see that the flesh is thoroughly cooked. The temperature should reach at least 175 degrees F when cooked. If your chicken juices do not run clear, but instead are bloody, return your bird to continue cooking.
If you are interested in patents, take a look at patent # 4,342,788 from the web site,
http://www.uspto.gov . This patent, approved on August 3, 1982, is for a method of cooking chicken parts. It is assigned to the Campbell Soup Company, Camden, NJ.
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