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Poultry: The Bird's the Word

Poultry: The Bird's the Word

The big bird goes global

Menuing ethnic turkey recipes is now easier than ever. Refer to this reference when the turkey spirit moves you.

The Turkey Cookbook

138 New Ways to Cook America's Favorite Bird, by Rick Rodgers, Castle Books, gives preparation guidelines on cooking this ultra lean bird (you can not directly substitute it in recipes that call for chicken). Tempting ethnic recipes abound, too. Consider Spanish (roast) Turkey with Ham, Raisins, Olives and Sherry, Turkey Chilaquiles, or Soy and Ginger Braised Turkey Breast, for a change of poultry pace!

Delectable Duck

Looking to add some cache to your poultry items? Look to duck! While duck is technically poultry it's different than chicken and turkey because it's a red meat. A properly prepared duck breast eats more like a steak and is slightly pink in the center when properly cooked to 160°F.

White Pekin is the preferred breed for discerning chefs. And USDA information shows that skinless duck breast is lower in fat and calories than skinless chicken breast and comparable in fat and calories to skinless turkey breast.

As consumption rises, new duck products are available that cut preparation time in half. From pre-ctu raw product to prepared products like stuffed breasts and rotisserie style make menuing duck an easy—and affordable—option.

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People the world over find comfort in their native foods. The fruits, vegetables, spice and herbs indicative of their home lands define the regional cuisines, and provide those in other cultures with a way to comfortably categorize them. Taking a larger view, it's instructive to look at how certain ingredients and flavorings are common to otherwise un-related ethnic traditions.

For instance, tangy lemon favors in Greek cookery are equally at home in Indian dishes; starchy potatoes, often thought of as an Irish menu staple, abound on Scandinavianmenus; and cumin's piquantly mild heat is as welcome in Tunisian cuisine as it is in dishes of the Southwestern United States.

Culinary research shows that poultry is an ingredient found on virtually every menu across the world (not including vegetarian menus, of course). And as chefs and foodservice directors look to entice customers with "new" menu items, poultry is an easy starting point from which to introduce ethnic flavors. It is readily available in many different forms; its mild flavor profile melds easily with lightly flavored ingredients as well as robust spices; and its lean calorie count is a popular, and satisfying, customer choice.

The Elite Body
Far from home and under tremendous stress, athletes look to meal-time as a respite, a chance to reflect on the days events and find comfort in dishes that, though perhaps not pristinely authentic, are very close to dishes shared at a family meal.

"In my experience in the past three Olympics, athletes were craving good, oldfashioned country dishes from their homes most often," says Michael Crane, corporate executive chef for Aramark.

For example, at the 2004 summer games in Athens, international athletes enjoyed Crane's Senegalese Chicken Yassa (see recipe page 64). This rich chicken stew combines tender braised chicken thigh meat with sweetly caramelized onions, tangy lemon, spicy chiles and salty olives, a dish that native western-African athletes relish at home.

Culinary trends that Crane identifies include delving deeper into Asian, Latin and Mediterranean cuisine and branching out to include more authentic spiced Thai and Vietnamese dishes. "Customers' willingness to accept more authentic ethnic cuisine is being nudged up a bit every year," he says. "Menu planners need to stay a half-step ahead of them to keep it interesting."

The Healthy and Informed
The Windsor Dining Court at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, IN, opened in August of 2005 with one of the six serving stations in the So Ho Market focusing on international cuisine. "Since two other dining courts feature a mongolian grill and a station with wok cooking, we "limited" our choices to African, Middle Eastern, Greek, Indian, and Cuban/Caribbean ," says Dining Manager, Bobbi Thomas.

"Induction and out-front cooking offers the opportunity for our staff to interact with and tempt customers with spicy and fragrant aromas," she says. "We have adapted recipes to use available poultry products that work best with our equipment and please our customers changing palates."

Some of the recipes offered at Purdue include: Kejenou (African); Chicken Asopao (Cuban/Caribbean , see recipe page 66); Greek Chicken Breast (see recipe page 70); Kabsa (Middle Eastern), and Lemony Chicken with Coriander (Indian), to name just a few!

Customers at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, OK, are tempted by international flavor while still enjoying healthful dining options, according to Rachel Vincent, RD, LD. For example, the grilled Thai chicken thigh dish combines lean protein with highly flavorful ethnic seasonings of oyster sauce, cilantro and spicy chili.

The Meat and Potatoes Man
Whether customers are well-heeled travelers requesting authentic ethnic recipes or well-versed businessmen in international commerce rooted in the U.S., they all crave full-flavored worldly fare.

Bruce Weiss, executive chef at Lackman Culinary Services, explains that his hardworking, hard-playing customers at the New York Stock Exchange relish lunch as a welldeserved respite away from their hectic workloads.

Ethnic-inspired poultry dishes here range from Mexican sizzling chicken, to regional U.S. dishes such as a Navajo roasted corn and chicken wrap to Cajun specialties like Big Bubba's Bayou Gumbo (see page 66).

Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs
California Raisin Pan-Seared Chili Chicken Breast
Chicken Breasts filled with Prosciutto di Parma and Fontina
Chicken Mole with Chipotles
Chicken Tandoori Salad
Alsatian Braised Turkey Sausage
Grilled Chicken, Grapefruit, Arugula, Mint & Feta Salad
Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Greek Chicken Breast
Piri Piri Chicken
Senegalese Chicken Yassa
Big Bubba's Bayou Gumbo
Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Noodle Bowl
Chicken Cossack
Artichoke Olive Chicken Tagine
Cuban Chicken Asopao
Greek Grilled Chicken Breast

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