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How to Prepare Chicken


Flattening, Slicing, and Dicing Chicken

There are many different ways to prepare chicken. Flattening, slicing, and dicing chicken remain among the most popular because so many chicken recipes call for these preparation techniques.

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Here are some poultry recipes from our collection:

When you flatten chicken, you pound to an even thickness. If a recipe calls for sliced chicken, cut across the grain for even, consistent pieces. Start dicing chicken once you have already cut it into strips.

Flattening

Many of the world's greatest chicken dishes -- such as chicken marsala, chicken parmigiana, and chicken Florentine -- star boneless, skinless chicken cutlets. To promote even cooking, the uncooked chicken is gently pounded to an even thickness -- usually about 1/2 inch, though some scallopini dishes call for even thinner cutlets. The solution is easy to achieve.

Remove the tenderloin from the underside of each cutlet. Place the uncooked chicken between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, a flat circular meat tenderizer, a rolling pin, or even the bottom of a small pan, gently pound the chicken from the center to the outside until the desired thickness is reached.

Gently pound the chicken until you reach a consistent thickness for even cooking.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Gently pound the chicken until you reach
a consistent thickness for even cooking.


Slicing & Dicing

Whole pieces of boneless, skinless chicken make great entree dishes. But if Asian stir-fry is more your speed, boneless, skinless chicken can make this fast favorite even speedier.

For perfect pieces, place the uncooked chicken on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken crosswise across the grain into 1/4-inch strips. These strips also make great Buffalo chicken tenders.

Slice across the grain for tender, consistent pieces.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Slice across the grain for tender,
consistent pieces.

If a recipe calls for diced uncooked chicken, line up the strips on the cutting board and cut them again into chunks.

Starting with strips makes it easier to get a uniform dice.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Starting with strips makes it easier
to get a uniform dice.

For more information on cutting chicken, check out our article on how to cut chicken. Once you have the cut of chicken you want, there may be other steps involved in getting it ready to cook, namely flavorful rubs, marinades, and coatings. We'll look at the best ways to marinade and coat chicken in the next section.


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