the chefs at Glutenfreeda.com visit support groups around
the country and give demonstrations on how to eat like a king
on a gluten-free diet. As I was preparing for this months
class and determining what might be the most helpful for our
subscribers, I kept thinking about how in many of our demonstrations
people are curious about which chickens (and other poultry)
are gluten-free, what is the best way to prepare them, how
to make stock and so on. Sometimes getting back to basics
is the most helpful. So, I thought why not write an informative
class on poultry. My goal is to answer some common questions
that have come up in recent demonstrations.
|Techniques & Tips You Will
Learn in this Class
- Choosing the right bird
- Organic & free range poultry
- How to cut up a chicken
- What to do with unused poultry parts
- 10 easy things to do with chicken
- Safe handling of poultry
- 10 great poultry recipes
In most home kitchens the most common poultry
used is chicken. There are many other delicious birds, some
more readily available than others. Since our focus at Glutenfreeda.com
is to speak to non-professional, home cooks, we realize that
most people will cook chicken rather than quail, duck or other
more exotic birds. But lets take a minute to just examine
the most common poultry.
Choosing the right bird:
chickens are marketed by weight. Broiler fryers are about
7 weeks old and weigh anywhere from 3-5 pounds. There excellent
for making stock and great for any recipe that calls for a
cut up chicken. Roasters are bigger and weigh anywhere from
4-7 pounds. These are much meatier and are ideal when you
are looking to cook a whole chicken. Stewing chickens are
older hens and are usually tough. These are best used in soups.
Cornish Game Hens:
These are actually a cross between Cornish
game roosters and White Rock hens. They weigh between 1-2
pounds. Roasting is the optimal method of cooking for these
delicate little birds.
Of course chicken comes packaged in many
ways. You can buy chicken already cut up, skinless, boneless,
legs only, thighs only, or even just the chicken tenders (the
tender strip under the breast). These custom packages can
save you some prep time
.just make sure you buy chickens
that are gluten-free and not injected with solutions. The
last time we checked Perdue has a wide selection of poultry
(both cut and whole) that they claim to be gluten-free. There
are other conventionally produced chicken brands on the market
(they vary by locality) that offer poultry void of gluten.
As always, we suggest contacting these companies to verify
that their products are gluten-free. A periodic check is not
a bad idea to make sure that their processes havent
Whole turkeys are often sold by the sex
of the bird. Hens weigh up to 16 pounds, while toms weigh
more. There is basically no flavor difference between the
two, so just choose your turkey based on how much you will
need. These days you can buy turkey almost year round
if you buy just turkey cuts (ie. Breasts, ground turkey, turkey
If you are looking for a more sophisticated
bird you might want to consider duck. Many gourmet markets
carry boned duck breasts and leg quarters. You can usually
find whole duck or duck parts in the freezer case. In preparing
duck, think of it as the steak of the poultry world. Cook
it medium rare to avoid loosing flavor and compromising texture.
Organic & Free Range Birds:
Organic and free range birds are in our
opinion the preferred choice when choosing a chicken or turkey.
They are typically more expensive than conventionally produced
chicken, however the taste is well-worth the expense. Organic
poultry is fed a diet of pesticide-free grain with no hormones
or antibiotics. Free range poultry has more growing space
than conventionally produced chicken. The chickens have access
to open spaces which means these birds develop more muscle,
which ultimately means more full-flavored meat. These chickens
are almost always gluten-free because they contain no injected
flavor enhancers or solutions.
to cut up a chicken:
With todays convenience of already
packaged chicken parts, youd be surprised to discover
how many people do not know how to cut up a chicken. It truly
is quite simple. Step 1:
Start with the chicken with the back down.
Feel the joint connecting the leg to the thigh. With a chef
knife cut down the middle of the joint to remove the leg.
Repeat this cut on the other leg.
Next feel the joint that connects the top
joint of the wing to the body. Cut down the middle of the
joint to release the wing. Repeat with the other wing.
Now move to the thigh. Pull the thigh away
from the body to loosen the joint connecting it to the back.
Cut the thigh away from the center of the chicken towards
the bottom and cut the joint down the center to release the
thigh. Repeat with the other thigh.
all you should have left is the body. Look in the cavity and
see where the ribs come together on the sides. Place the chicken
upright so the tail end is down. Starting at the top cut down
the sides of the chicken between where the ribs come together.
Repeat with the opposite side. The breast should release from
the back. Flip the breast over so that the skin side is down
on your cutting board. Cut down the breast bone through the
cartilage this make take a little strength to cut through
the breast bone. Clean all the pieces thoroughly and now you
have a cut up chicken. Save the back for making stock (see
the following section).
What to do with unused poultry parts:
I cant tell you how many times Ive
had this conversation with people at our cooking demonstrations.
Chicken stock is a big concern, as we all know, in regards
to gluten-contamination. I know there are some gluten-free
canned stocks available on the market, but the taste does
not compare to homemade chicken stock. Many people think that
making their own chicken stock takes too much time or is simply
too difficult. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
I almost always buy whole chickens for all
my chicken recipes and then I cut them up. I rarely, in fact,
I can probably say - never, use the backs or the necks. Years
ago, before I knew better, I would simply throw them away.
What I have since learned is that the backs and necks make
wonderful stock. So as I am preparing my chicken I take the
back and put them in a freezer safe zip-lock bag and freeze
them until I am ready to make stock. When I have a day where
I will be hanging out at home I place the frozen back in a
stockpot and add an onion (unpeeled), a garlic clove (unpeeled),
2 carrots (cut in half),and a couple of celery sprigs (cut
in half). I then fill the stockpot with water and place over
medium high heat. Bring it to a boil and skim off any foam
off the top. Reduce the heat to low and add a few parsley
sprigs, 6-8 peppercorns, 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme or about
1 teaspoon dried thyme and a bay leaf. Simmer over low heat
for 6 hours. Remove it from the heat and let cool. Strain
through a fine mesh sieve. I then pour the stock into inexpensive
disposable Tupperware containers (these are already measured
out into 1 cup, 1-1/2 cups or larger). Seal the lid and place
in the freezer. One pot of chicken stock will yield about
12-14 cups (at least!). When I need stock I take out however
cups I need and microwave until thawed. Simple, efficient
and way better than the canned variety!!! (Follow the same
recipe and procedure for turkey stock just substitute
10 easy things to do with chicken:
Here are some great ideas for chicken that
you can experiment with. Try adding your own variety for some
wonderful new recipes!
- Stuffed Chicken Breasts: Pound breasts
thin so that they are even in thickness. Spread with pesto
or top with prosciutto. Lay a piece of mozzarella cheese
in the center. Roll up chicken, folding in the sides. Tie
to secure. Place in a baking dish with some chicken stock
and bake for 30 minutes at 400°F.
- Salad: Grill chicken breasts, slice thinly
and lay on top of a Caesar salad or a Mediterranean salad
consisting of feta, red onions, bell peppers, Calamata olives
and a balsamic vinaigrette.
- Quesadillas: Grill chicken breasts and
shred. Lay in between two corn tortillas with sautéed
mushrooms, cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro. Grill or cook
in a skillet until the cheese melts. Serve with pico de
Marinate chicken in a balsamic vinaigrette or our Sun-Dried
Tomato Marinade. Cut into cubes and thread onto skewers
alternating with vegetables. Grill.
- Fried Rice: Cut leftover, cooked chicken
into pieces. Stir fry in a wok with cooked white rice, green
onions, garlic, peppers, eggs and season with gf soy sauce.
- Chicken stir fry: Pound breasts thin
and cut into long strips. Sauté with garlic, onions,
peppers, and other seasonal vegetables. Season with gf soy
sauce, fish sauce, hot red pepper flakes and a pinch of
sugar. To thicken mix in a little cornstarch mixed with
- Roasted chicken: Stuff the cavity of
a roaster with lemons, onions and fresh herbs. Season the
outside with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast.
- Pan seared chicken: Sear chicken breasts
in a little olive oil and butter. Remove from skillet and
deglaze the pan with white wine. Add a little lemon juice
and capers. Finish sauce by stirring in unsalted butter.
Season and serve.
- Stuffed Potatoes: Cut chicken into cubes
and season with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sauté.
Add corn, peppers, onions to the skillet and sauté.
Adjust seasonings with lime juice. Spoon mixture over baked
potatoes and top with cheddar cheese.
- Chicken Pasta: Pan sear chicken breasts.
Cut into bite size pieces. Add chicken to cooked pasta along
with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Handling of Chicken:
Storing: Refrigerate raw poultry
up to 2 days and cooked chicken up to 3 days. Raw boneless,
skinless chicken can be marinated for up to 8 hours. Freeze
uncooked poultry for up to 6 months.
Thawing: Thaw frozen chicken in the
refrigerator. Allow about 5 hours per pound of frozen poultry
to thaw in the refrigerator.
Handling: Wash you hands well with
hot water and plenty of soap before and after handling poultry.
Use hot water and soap to clean the cutting board and any
utensil that comes in contact with the raw poultry. For an
added precaution, spray down cutting boards with a solution
of bleach and water.
Cooking: To prevent food-borne illnesses,
poultry must be cooked to 180°F. For whole birds, insert
an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the
thigh to determine the internal temperature. Pierce poultry
parts with the tip of a knife the juices should run
clear and the flesh should be opaque.
Great poultry recipes:
We currently have over almost 200 poultry
recipes on Glutenfreeda.com. All of which have been personally
tested by the chefs at Glutenfreeda.com. Here are some
of our favorites out of our extensive collection of great
Stuffed Cornish Game Hens
Lasagne with Pesto
Cornish Hens with Cornbread Stuffing
Turkey with Sage
Crusted Chicken with Broiled Pineapple
Chicken with Tomatoes & Mushrooms