The Great Chicken Cookbook: Over 230 Simple, Delicious Recipes For Every Occasion, by Reader’s Digest
This is a rare cookbook that lives up to its claims to be a great cookbook. Before reading this book recently, I was already familiar with the book because it happens to be owned by a friend of mine. And I have already tried some of the recipes in the book and can affirm that the ones I have tried are in fact simple and delicious recipes. In fact, it is a personal bias of my own that these two tendencies frequently go together. I have rarely seen a cookbook that had complex recipes with a great many ingredients that included foods I tended to appreciate, because my own simple palate prefers foods that are similarly simple and straightforward. That is not to say that the recipes in this book are easy to make–there is a wonderful chicken with 40 cloves of garlic dish which I affectionately call Ali Baba And The 40 Cloves that takes hours to cook, but it is a tasty dish and well worth the wait. If your tastes are like mine and you prefer simple chicken dishes, this is a book that will be greatly pleasing to you just as it is to me.
This book is a fairly long one at a bit more than 300 large pages, and is well-illustrated with quite a few of the recipes accompanied by a picture that shows it in a tasty light. The book begins with a discussion of chicken basics, presumably being written for those who are by no means accomplished cooks who might need a bit of encouragement about how to measure chicken and cut it and apportion serving sizes. After that the book goes in a systematic fashion through recipes that discuss how chicken can be used in recipes that are in snacks & starters, soups, salads, casseroles, stews & one-dish meals, sautes & pan-fries, pasta & noodles, stir-fries, roasts & oven baked dishes, as well as barbecues and picnics. Throughout the book the emphasis is on simple dishes with about half a dozen ingredients or so with straightforward instructions that also often include variations or ways that the cooking time can be shortened and that include basic nutritional information as well. After this information the book then ends with an index, some notes on quick and low-fat recipes for those who wish, as well as some notes on the recipes themselves.
Admittedly, this book does not include all aspects of eating with chicken as an ingredient. There are no chicken desserts here, it should be noted. The authors are correct though in noting that chicken is a particularly favored protein among many of us (myself definitely included) because it is versatile, good-tasting, nutritious, and generally far cheaper than ground beef. For all of these reasons and others I have eaten it regularly from my youth to the present day, so much so that nearly every day it can be said that I have some sort of poultry for either or both lunch and dinner. Judging by this book and others like it, that is not a very unpopular opinion, and so this book does provide a large variety of recipes that are very useful for a variety of occasions and that take a simple and straightforward approach to food and include recipes that are both higher on the culinary scale (chicken risotto, for example) as well as foods that have a more populist touch. Anything that can blend different tastes and approaches while using foods that I greatly appreciate is something that I can celebrate, as a person who likes a variety of different cuisines.