How to cook a perfect white cut chicken
White cut chicken is a classic New Year’s dish and an everyday comfort item for most. It’s just a poached chicken served with a salt, pepper, lime dipping sauce. While it may seem plain and simple, it takes some practice to master the cooking method and produce a juicy and flavorful chicken.
Ingredients ( serves 4-6 )
- 4-5 pound broiler-fryer chicken
- 5 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 ounce fresh ginger (thumb-sized piece for poaching)
- 4 quarts ice water
- Dipping sauce: salt, pepper, lime wedges
Equipments (available at Kitchen Art Store)
Remove any excess fat from the chicken. Rub chicken with 2 teaspoons of salt, then rinse under cold water and place onto a rack to drain.
In a large stock pot, bring about 3 quarts water, ginger,and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil over high heat. Slowly add the chicken, breast-side up. Add more boiling water if necessary to cover the chicken completely. Return water to a boil and boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes, removing any scum on the surface. Cover pot, turn off heat and let the chicken sit for 20 minutes.
Uncover the pot and return to a boil for 3-4 minutes. Carefully remove from pot and place the chicken in a colander in the sink.
Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of thigh. Thermometer should read 170°F. (Return to pot and simmer for a few more minutes if internal temperature is under 170°F.) Slowly pour ice water over the chicken in the colander. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Allow chicken to cool before chopping the chicken with a meat cleaver. Reserve chicken broth for future use.
Serve the chicken warm or room temperature with salt, pepper, lime dipping sauce.
Dipping sauce: put some salt and white pepper into the dish (2 parts salt to 1 part pepper is a good balance). Next, add a squeeze of lime.
HOW TO USE A MEAT THERMOMETER
What makes the correct cooking so important is that overcooked proteins tend to be dry and tough. Even worse some undercooked meat like chicken can make you sick – especially if you are cooking rolled, ground or minced meats. This is because of bacteria which live on the surfaces of meat but not inside. This means we can eat a rare steak without too much risk because the bacteria on the surface are killed by the heat of cooking. The rolling, grinding and mincing of meats however puts some of those “”outsides”” on the inside of what you are cooking!
A simpler and more accurate method is to use a cheap piece of kitchen technology that is readily available – the food or meat thermometer. This is a simple piece of kit with a metal needle that you can insert into whatever is cooking to see the internal temperature.
Stick it into the thickest part of the meat ensuring it doesn’t touch bone or gristle.
The Food Safety Information Council advises poultry, sausages, hamburgers and rolled roast meats should reach 75C to ensure all food poisoning bacteria are killed.
Baking-Words: Hoa Thái
Food Styling: Kiyoshi Jiro-Nam San
Photos: Kiyoshi Jiro- Phương Thảo
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