Sierra Chicken Stew /

More tips for finger lickin’ chicken

In my last post, in celebration of my new mini e-cookbook, “Finger Lickin’ Chicken,” now available on Amazon and iTunes, I shared a few tips for making boneless skinless chicken breasts finger lickin’ good.

Today, a few more ideas for chicken in general.

1. Start with something good.
A pastry chef friend once told me that if you start with mediocre apples, no matter what you do them, they’ll never make a great apple pie. And guess what? The same is true with chicken—and practically every other ingredient I can think of.

So start by buying the best chicken you can—organic, local, free-range, whatever “good” means to you.

2. Buy it whole.
At my supermarket, it’s sometimes hard to find anything but specific chicken pieces—a package of breasts, a package of thighs, a package of wings, etc. But, um, what’s wrong with a whole chicken? A whole chicken is the world’s easiest roast. And a whole chicken can be cut up and enjoyed any number of ways.

Yes, cut up a chicken. You can totally do it. Here’s a great video where Melissa Clark from the New York Times shows you how and makes it so simple and easy, you might even look forward to doing it because of the feeling of accomplishment you’ll get. And as Melissa points out, buying whole and cutting it up yourself not only saves money—leaving more to buy the best chicken you can (that’s my editorializing, not Melissa’s)—but it merits a bonus piece, the back, that you can use to near-painlessly make always-useful homemade chicken stock.

Sierra Chicken Stew /

3. Go to the dark side.
See how I did that? I got you to buy dark meat by buying a whole chicken—and now I’m going to try to convince you to cook and eat that dark meat. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.

With more fat, dark meat chicken—legs, thighs, and even wings—is not only more flavorful, it’s also less likely to become dry and tough. Plus, that extra fat gives you a little wiggle room, helping the chicken stay juicy and tender even if you leave it on the heat a little too long.

Dark meat’s slightly longer cooking time makes it better than light meat for longer cooking methods, like roasting, stewing, and braising.

Putting it all together
Sierra Chicken Stew is a recipe my mom invented when I was a teenager—and continues to be something I crave as the weather turns cool. It uses a whole chicken, light meat and dark, and being a stew, it uses a long slow cook to keep the chicken tender and juicy. (Because dark meat takes longer to cook than light, and because light can get dried out if it’s overcooked, the light is added to the stew pot a little later than the dark.)

It’s also a great way to feed a crowd. (Here’s a post about how Sierra Chicken it got its name.)

As I mentioned in my last post, there are more tips for making all your chicken amazing in “Finger Lickin’ Chicken,” on Amazon and iTunes, plus 10 ways to dress up a grilled chicken breast and 10 things to do with rotisserie chicken. Check it out, won’t you?

Meanwhile, may all your dishes—chicken and otherwise—be finger lickin’ good.

Sierra Chicken Stew /

Finger Lickin' Chicken cover with chicken

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