1. Buy good quality chicken. i use local organic free range without preservatives, antibiotics, or injectibles, and it really does taste more "chickeny."
2. If you're oven-baking bone-in chicken for something like honey mustard chicken, chicken with BBQ sauce, etc, bone-in thighs with skin are the most flavorful. I remove the skin after cooking, so the calorie difference isn't that huge. Things like this I cook at 350F.
3. As any chef will tell you, the only way to reliably tell when chicken is just done but still safe is to use an instant read thermometer. (Avail at Surlatable.com for $10-20.) No, your mom didn't use an instant read thermometer, but chicken is a lot different now than it was even 20-30 years ago.
4. Cook to 165F, remove from heat, cover with foil, and LET IT REST 10-15 minutes. The resting makes the chicken moist, as at redistributes the juices throughout the meat, and the carryover cooking time brings the chicken to the safest temp without it being overcooked. Most cookbooks omit this step, but any chef will tell you the resting time is important.
5. For chicken meat for salads, etc. I use Ina Garten's method, which makes the chicken very moist: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil (do not omit this--it seals in the juices). Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until chicken is just cooked. Test with the thermometer & rest as above. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Discard the skin, then remove the meat from the bones & dice.
6. My weeknight go to chicken dish: Season boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt & fresh ground pepper or Paul Prudhomme Magic seasoning, and cook them on a Pam-sprayed, preheated cast iron grill pan on mediumish-highish heat for 8-10 minutes,turning once. (Chicken is ready to turn when it releases itself from the grillpan.) Check the temp, cover & let rest as above.(I use the Lodge preseasoned grill pan, $29-$35, Chefs.com, it's indestructible & it will last for decades. Cast iron is also a great heat conductor, so you save energy & use lower temp than you would in another pan--I said "mediumish-highish" heat, because with cast iron I often have to lower to Medium halfway through.)
More here: busycooks.about.com/od/chickenrecipes/a/ho
Edited by: THISYEARSMODEL at: 5/1/2011 (08:37)