Colonel Sanders sure knew a good thing when he saw it. Chicken has been a favorite since time immemorial. Whether it’s fried up with 11 herbs and spices or grilled on the barby, chicken is a lean, inexpensive protein that suits any carnivore’s craving for meat. Every culture has its distinctive ways of preparing chicken. Here are five of my favorites:
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken, carrots, peas, and potatoes in a creamy sauce all packed into a flaky pie crust—where did this delectable dish come from? Meat pies have been around since the Middle Ages, and when the English colonists brought their pie recipes to North America, the great pastry making immigrants from France, the Netherlands, and Germany refined the crust container to lip-smacking perfection. Swanson soon discovered the appeal of this meal in a pie shell and chose it as their first frozen food in 1951.
Traditionally cooked in a tandoor earthenware oven originally designed for cooking bread, this Indian dish is tasty and depending on how you prepare it, a low-calorie coup. Tandoori chicken is usually marinated in a thick yogurt combined with herbs and spices such as garlic, cumin, cardamom, ginger, and garam masala, while paprika helps this dish take on its reddish-orange color. Cooked in a very hot, dry environment (oven, tandoor, or charcoal grill), makes tandoori chicken tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Chicken Tarragon in White Wine
The combination of chicken and the often-overlooked spice tarragon is a match made in heaven. With or without the cream sauce, this dish is delectable. Bite-sized chicken chunks are simmered with sautéed onions, mushrooms, chicken broth, and fresh or dried tarragon until tender, then cooked in white wine and cream to create a sumptuous sauce. Spoon this inspired concoction over steamed rice and voila!
Blue Corn Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas
The chili, the cheese, the chicken! These enchiladas melt in your mouth, exploding in a burst of south-of-the-border flavor sensations. Spicy and saucy, the best blue corn green chili chicken enchiladas in the world are at The Shed restaurant in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico where it is often served with a side of hominy-rich posole.
General Tsao’s Chicken
Created by a Hunan chef in New York City in the ‘70s and named for a Ching Dynasty general, this sweet and spicy chicken dish has gone through many permutations over the decades. A staple in the more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the US, General Tsao’s Chicken has everything Americans want in any dish: chicken soaked in sweetness and fried to a crispy crunch. Often served with steamed broccoli, this dish is inexpensive to make, but oh, so good!
Chicken—grilled, fried, baked, broiled, boiled, or roasted—can satisfy both your stomach and your wallet. Pack a picnic lunch with a rotisserie chicken or some crispy fried drumsticks and do your finger-lickin’ chicken-pickin’ soul some good.