The Cook’s Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry
Amateur as well as professional cooks who wish to truly master the techniques of cooking poultry could find no better textbook than the monumental volume entitled The Cook’s Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry. From butchering and carving (not just chicken and turkey, but duck and goose as well), to kitchen sanitation and “The Science of Brining,” the authors provide a detailed course of instruction, enhanced by three hundred drawings which illustrate the many procedures, including butterflying a chicken and “Hacking up a chicken for stock” with a cleaver. Not only is the method of removing a boneless chicken breast illustrated, but also the more difficult maneuver of boning a chicken thigh. There are no color photographs as are found in glossy cooking magazines. This is not a cookbook for those wanting a quick-and-easy collection of simplified recipes.
However, those willing to get serious about poultry will be amply rewarded. The nearly five hundred recipes very well cover the basics, such as roasting a turkey and preparing stuffing, but also explore exotic ethnic and regional cuisines, including Asian stir fry, Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage and Okra, Turkey Saltimbocca, and Chicken Picadilo (Cuban). An entire chapter is devoted to Indian curry, including illustrations of the basic method of curry preparation, and how to puree garlic and ginger by hand. Nonetheless, old favorites like Chicken Pot Pies and Roast Duck a L’Orange are not neglected. While the most attention is given to chicken, there are also recipes for wild game, including Braised Quail with Figs, and Grilled Pheasant with Pear and Currant Chutney.
The largely classic culinary tradition expressed here does not incorporate modern considerations of heart- healthy, lowfat, low salt adjustments to recipes. And for anyone who lacks the keenest eyesight, the inexcusably tiny print in the Index will prove an irksome frustration. Still, this is an impressive volume which will delight those with the ambition to become an expert on the preparation and cooking of poultry.