Famous Recipes

Famous and not so famous recipes – who are you to decide? Who am I to decide?

The Perdue Chicken Cookbook

by Mitzi Perdue

Preface: Why I Chickened Out

Introduction: You Don’t Need to Wing It! Let Frank Take You Under His.

Everything You Wanted or Needed to Know about Selecting, Storing and Cooking Chicken

Chapter 1. Chicken for Everyday

Tips on Cooking in a Hurry, plus: Quick Recipes, Simple Recipes, and Family Favorites

Chapter 2. Chicken for the Microwave

Tips for Using the Microwave, plus: Quick Microwave Recipes, and Classic Recipes Adapted for the Microwave

Chapter 3. Chicken for Dieters

Tips for Dieters, plus: Low Calorie, Low Cholesterol Recipes

Chapter 4. Chicken for Children

Tips on Cooking for Kids, plus: Recipes for Kids to Eat and Recipes for Kids to Cook

Chapter 5. Chicken for Barbecuing

Tips for Cooking Outdoors, plus Recipes for Barbecuing

Chapter 6. Chicken for Crowds

Tips on Quantity Cooking, plus Recipes for Crowds

Chapter 7. Chicken for Tomorrow$or Next Week

Tips on Storing and Freezing, plus Cook Ahead Recipes

Chapter 8. Chicken for Holidays

Chicken and Holiday Cooking, plus: Menus and Recipes for the Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas

Chapter 9. Chicken for Important Occasions

Chicken for When You Want Something Different and Exciting, plus Show Stopper Recipes

Chapter 10. Chicken for Planovers

Tips on Food Safety, plus Recipes for the Rest of the Bird

Conclusion: A Rare Bird

What Frank Is Really Like


I’ve often thought that inspiration is one of the greatest gifts one person can give another, and there are several people who were an inspiration in writing this book. First is a woman whom I would term the Godmother of this book, Connie Littleton, the Director of Advertising and Marketing Services at Perdue. She is a woman totally committed to excellence, and if that commitment to excellence meant she had to read and edit until the wee hours of the morning, she always did it as if it were a matter of course. With each passing day, I gained increasing respect for her professionalism, judgment and knowledge. Bev Cox, a home economist and food stylist, was an inspiration for her meticulous attention to detail, her enthusiasm, and her unfailing good humor no matter what. Beth Fusaro, who typed most of the recipes in this book, is a Renaissance Woman, who knows not only about food and typing, but also about everything from making pottery to preserving the environment. It’s been a privilege to work with Beth. Gretchen Barnes, who assisted Bev Cox in editing, learned a whole new computer program, Word Perfect, in order to get the job done quickly. Sharon Sakemiller, who is already a Word Perfect expert, also helped with typing and retyping recipes. She impressed everyone with how rapidly she could get things done.

My sincere thanks to the members of American Agri-Women who over the years have shared their food tips with me. Also, deepest thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension. One of Cooperative Extension’s major activities is helping to educate consumers, and I owe Cooperative Extension a deep debt of gratitude for the education I’ve received through their many publications, broadcasts, classes, seminars, meetings, and personal contacts. The following Cooperative Extension members$many of whom are good friends as well as professional colleagues$have been invaluable resources for food tips and food knowledge: Dorothy Thurber, Kathryn Boor, Christine Bruhn, Ellen Pusey, Sally Foulke, Bonnie Tanner, Bettie Collins, Sue Snyder, Chuck Waybeck, and George York. Also thanks to Dot Tringali of the National Broiler Council, to Connie Parvis of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, to Joy Schrage from the Whirlpool Corporation, and Lisa Readie from the Barbecue Industry Association.



Want to know a high stress situation? Try being a food writer and cookbook author, and then marry Frank Perdue. You come home from the honeymoon, everything has been reputation for being demanding. If you’ve seen the ad that we call “Boot Camp,” you know what I mean. (He plays the part of a drill sergeant in this ad and teaches the new Perdue recruits the 57 quality points that they have to inspect — and then he’s all over one recruit for missing what seems like an invisibly small hair.)

It’s a funny thing, but when you start losing your confidence, you start asking some basic questions about what you’re doing. Part of me was saying that cooking chicken is pretty simple; after all, I’d been doing it for most of my life. But another part of me realized when attempting to cook chicken for Frank the first time, that I knew very little of the basics of cooking chicken. Like, for example, what

Makes a chicken tender? How do you really know when it’s done$and not over done? How do you get the best flavor? Should you salt before or after cooking?

In desperation, I made a two-part promise to myself. First, I’d let myself take the easy way out that first meal, and not even try to cook the chicken myself. Instead, dinner would be a never-fail salad, pasta (Frank loves pasta), plus store-bought fully-cooked Perdue Tenders. In return for letting myself off so easily, I’d make it my business from then on to learn how to make the best chicken every time. That meant asking Frank every question that popped into my head; checking with the food technologists who work for Perdue; getting tips from the farmers who grew the Perdue chickens; and systematically going through the thousands of recipes that Frank has in his files, trying a different one each night.

Dinner that night wasn’t the show piece I would have liked to create, but it was good enough and Frank happens to love his own Tenders so the chicken part of the meal was a success. In the time since, I’ve tried to live up to the second part of the promise, the one about learning how to serve the best chicken every time.

In this book, I’d like to share with you the most useful cooking tips and the most appealing, most successful recipes developed by Perdue Farms over the last twenty years. The first chapter contains the kinds of information I wished I’d known from the beginning. You don’t need to read this chapter, because chicken isn’t that hard to cook; but there are tips in it that can save you time and money and that can enable you to cook with greater confidence. This chapter also has the latest tips on food safety.

The remaining chapters are organized, not by method of cooking or whether the food is an appetizer or salad or whatnot; but rather by the kind of occasion you’re facing. You want to put some spark and variety into every day meals? You want to make the most of your microwave? Or you’re in a hurry today? Maybe you need something that will please kids? Or you’re dieting? You’ve got a bunch of leftovers? You have to cook for a hundred people tomorrow night? I tried to think of the kinds of situations in which you could need recipes and then I organized Frank’s recipes around them. Jean Brillat-Savarin, the fhe answered that these were some of the best meetings because the owners of the smaller stores were so close to their customers. He went on to say that the reason he likes to visit butchers (and in New York, he’s called on as many as 30 in two days) is that these men are close to the needs and wants of their customers and he can learn things from them that he’d learn in no other way.

I’ve heard that there’s almost no other head of a Fortune 500-size company who would spend as much time with the people who buy his products. People are often surprised that a man with his responsibilities would take the time for this much face to face contact. But the fact is, learning what people care about is almost a religion to him.

Here are some of the questions that people either write to Frank or ask him in person. In answering the questions, I’ve either used the information I’ve heard Frank give, or else I’ve checked with the Perdue food scientists or home economists.

What should I look fright, check with the professionals behind the counter.

_Notice the pull date. Most stores are scrupulous about removing chicken before the pull date expires$but sometimes there’s a slip-up.

_Was the chicken well-cleaned? Or are there little traces of feathers or hairs? These can look really unattractive when the bird is cooked.

_Is the chicken stored correctly on the chilling shelf, or are the trays of chicken stacked so high that the top ones aren’t kept cold? When that happens, the shelf life of the top ones is seriously shortened.

_Is the meat case kept so cold that the fresh chicken is frozen and ends up with ice crystals on the tray? If so, complain to the manager.

_Look at the ends of the bones. Are they pink or are they turning gray? Generally, the more pink the bone ends are, the fresher the chicken.

How should I store chicken at home?

Chicken, like all meat, is perishable. It should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator (40o or below), sealed as it comes from the market, and used within two or three days of purchase.

Should I freeze chickens?

Frank doesn’t recommend freezing poultry. However, if a bird must be held beyond three days, freezing will keep it wholesome.

How do I freeze poultry?

When freezing is necessary, seal chicken or other poultry in an airtight container, heavy plastic bag, plastic wrap, foil or freezer paper.

Try to have the wrapping tight against the chicken because any place where it isn’t, small ice crystals will form. That means moisture has been drawn from the meat, and where that’s happened, the meat will be tough and breading won’t stick.

Frozen uncooked chicken can be stored up to six months; frozen cooked chicken should be used within three months. (Personally I try to avoid freezing chicken since I know that freezing

Makes the chicken less tender and less juicy. Still, in spite of good intentions, I so tender — or tough?

Frank does his best to make Perdue chickens as tender as possible, but there’s also a lot you can do.

_Don’t let chicken dry out in the refrigerator; dry chicken is tough chicken. Keep it wrapped in the package it comes in until you use it.

_Avoid freezing it. When the juices inside the cells freeze, they act like little spears and they’ll rupture some of the cell walls. When you defrost the chicken, you’ll lose some of the juice and the chicken will be less tender.

_Cook chicken to the proper temperature, using a meat thermometer or pop-up guide. Cook bone-in chicken to 180 degrees and boneless chicken to 170 degrees. Undercooked chicken will be tough and rubbery because it takes a fairly high internal temperature to soften the proteins in the muscles and make them tender. But don’t overcook chicken either, because moisture will start to steam off, and the more chicken dries out, the tougher it gets.

_Keep the skin on chicken during cooking. The skin helps keep juices in, and tenderness and juiciness go hand in hand. I’ve tried this both ways, and the difference is significant. (When you cook chicken with the skin on, approximately half the fat from the skin is absorbed into the meat; if calories and cholesterol are very important to you, you might want to remove the skin before cooking even if it means a less tender result.)

_When microwaving any chicken product, cover with a loose tent of waxed paper to prevent drying.

_Some authorities feel strongly that you should not salt the chicken before cooking because salt draws the juices out during cooking and toughens the meat. In my experience, there is a detectable difference in tenderness between salting before cooking and salting afterwards; the chicken that I salted afterwards was slightly more tender. Still, I would guess that most people, myself included, wouldn’t notice a big difference unless they were specifically paying attention to it. The difference doesn’t jump out at you as it does with overcooking or freezer burn.

_Fry or roast breast pieces rather than microwaving them if tenderness is a top priority for you. Microwaving because damaged skin shortens the shelf life and dries out and toughens the meat. No white colored chickens get by the inspectors.

Sometimes when I open a package of chicken, there’s a pungent odor that doesn’t smell spoiled, but it’s definitely unpleasant. Should I throw the chicken out?

If the odor lasts only a matter of seconds, your chicken is probably fine. Meat is chemically active, and as it ages, it releases sulfur. When you open a bag that doesn’t have air holes, you may notice the accumulated sulfur, but it will quickly disperse into the air. In fact, I’ve heard of cases where a wife will lean over to her husband and say, “Smell this, I think it’s gone bad.” He’ll take a deep whiff and find nothing wro that other chickens were grown with hormones. The fact is none are.

Can I cook frozen chicken, or do I have to let it defrost first?

In a pinch, go ahead, but allow extra cooking time. For the best texture and tenderness, however, you’re better off starting from refrigerator temperatures; you can be more sure of getting an evenly cooked product.

How long can I keep chicken at room temperature?

From the point of view of food safety, you’re taking a risk if you leave it outside the refrigerator for more than two hours. Unfortunately, bacteria grow and multiply at temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees, and they flourish at room temperature. To avoid food borne illness, all foods of animal origin should be kept either hotter than 140 degrees or colder than 40 degrees. If you know you won’t be returning home directly after shopping, bring along an insulated bag or box to keep cold foods cold until you can get them into the refrigerator.

Do I need to rinse chicken before cooking?

Advice on this has varied over the years, including the advice Frank gives. The latest research shows that from a health point of view, washing is not necessary. Any microbes that you’d wash off will be entirely destroyed by heat when you cook the meat. It’s actually far more important to wash your hands, your cutting board, and your utensils since they won’t be sterilized by cooking.

How do I get the best flavor?

That depends on whether you’re after a mild and delicate flavor, or a strong and robust flavor. The younger the bird, the milder the flavor. A game hen, which is five weeks old, will have the mildest flavor of all. A broiler, at seven weeks, will still have a quite mild and delicate flavor; a roaster, on the other hand, is usually about five weeks older than a broiler and it will have a much more pronounced “chickeny” flavor. (Frank and I enjoy chicken at all ages, but if we had to choose on flavor alone, we’d most often go for the roasters.) For a really strong, chickeny flavor, see if you can find fowl or spent hens or stewing hens. These birds are around 18 months old, which means they’re going to be quite tough, but if you use them in soups or stews, they’ll add an excellent flavor.

I’ve had chicken in the freezer for a year. Is it still edible?

From a health point of view it would be ok, but the flavor and texture will have deteriorated and it just won’t be particularly tasty. I stored chicken in the freezer for a year once as an experiment, just to see what it would be like. It wasn’t awful, but it was kind of flat and tasteless. I remember wondering if this was what cotton tasted like – although to be fair, it wasn’t really that bad.

Why are bones sometimes dark?

Darkened bones occur when the product has been frozen. Freezing causes the blood cells in the bone marrow to rupture and then when the chicken is thawed, these ruptured cells leak out and cause visible reddish splotches on the bones. When cooked, these discolorations will turn from red to almost black.

Is it true that breast meat is the least fattening part of a chicken?

Yes. Breast meat has about half the fat of thigh meat. If calories or cholesterol are important to you, choose the breast meat. Frank watches his cholesterol and I’ve never seen him go for anything but breast meat. Is it better to cook who worked with Frank told me that he was amazed that Frank, who will hang onto an old pair of shoes to save $50, was willing to spend millions to let people know about the product, and further, he did it without a qualm, because he had such belief in it. If you haven’t tried an Oven Stuffer Roaster and you’re visiting the East Coast, try one, and you’ll see why Frank believed in it so much.

Chicken Recipes – The Perdue Chicken Cookbook

Copyright (C) by Mitzi Perdue – Used with Permission


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November 23, 2008 - Posted by | Chicken Recipes, Cooking, Cooking and Food, Famous Recipes, Food, Recipe, Recipes | , , , , , , , ,

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