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Food for Thought: Chicken – the most versatile meat on two feet

This story originally published May 1, 2019. 

I told Nancy Leson that I'm not interested in eating anything that "tastes like chicken" unless it is chicken.  That bird has got to be the most versatile eating there is. 

In this week's episode Nancy and I do a brief rundown, in no particular order, of some of our favorite chicken recipes. Ready? Saddle up, here we go.

First one out of the coop was Molly Stevens' Moroccan chicken with olives and preserved lemons from her All About Braising. Nancy's favorite Sunday dinner is a roast chicken. And her new Sunday favorite is Samin Nosrat's Buttermilk-marinated roast chicken, pictured above, which Nance did up in her Weber. 

I mentioned that one of my new favorite methods allows braised chicken to maintain a crispy skin. The secret's simple: just brown the pieces, skin side down, and then place them right side up with the skin just above the level of the braising liquid. Roast uncovered until done. Sohla El-Waylly's Chicken with Aji Amarillo and Coconut makes great use of the technique.

Nancy still loves Lisa Dupar's Fried Chicken and Champagne cookbook. You'll find her recipe for saltine-crusted fried chicken about halfway down thisFood for Thought entry from 2015.

A chicken favorite at Stein/DeGroot Manor is Chicken with Cabbage and Peanuts from Robert Delfs' The Good Food of Szechuan. How much do we love that recipe? This much.

Credit Stein / KNKX
Just read between the soy sauce and grease spots for a swell, spicy dish.

Nancy's husband Mac's Captain Bay-Schmith's Chicken not-so-secret ingredient is Lawry's Seasoning Salt.  Nance says that years after first writing about it in the Seattle Times,she still hears from readers who cook it and love it.

Not only is chicken the most versatile meat on two feet – even the feet are good to eat. As in the dim sum favorite Phoenix Claws.

And your favorite chicken dish?

"If I didn't start painting I would have raised chickens." – Grandma Moses

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.