Chicken and turkey – just what is the difference? The latter is synonymous with Christmas, but how often is it used and how readily available is it at other times of the year? This article looks at the main differences between chicken and turkey, explains how to identify a good piece of either meat and then offers some suggestions on delicious dishes that can be produced from this versatile meat.
The fundamental difference with turkeys and chickens are the size and colour. They emanate from the same Phasianidae family, but turkeys are larger generally darker. Turkeys do not have feathered heads, whereas turkeys do. Chickens are generally dual purpose – they are used for meat and eggs, whilst turkeys are primarily just used for their bodies. Turkey meat is generally drier and as mentioned previously, is typically eaten at Christmas and not regularly throughout the year. This is because chickens are far more plentiful in supply and are bred specifically to serve humans. They are smaller, and easier to look after.
During the winter months when turkey is in more plentiful supply due to the demand over the festive season, there are some delicious original snacks and dishes that include turkey and are different from the norm:
Turkey & Blue Cheese Baguette With Cranberry
A crispy baguette is the perfect complement for turkey. Add in blue cheese which has a strong distinctive taste of its own and you have an unlikely but perfect combination. The cranberry sauce provides a sharper element, and ensures that the baguette is not dry. Perfect as a lunchtime treat.
Turkey Con Chilli
A variation on the classic chilli con carne. Using onions, leek, carrots, peppers, chilli and coriander as vegetables and flavourings, this tomato based Mexican dish can be spiced up with the incorporation of turkey. Butterbeans and chickpeas replace the typical kidney beans to provide a further twist on the original. Cooked in a casserole dish, the turkey absorbs the flavours from the sauce and this makes for an unusual but very enjoyable meal.
There are of course the chicken favourites:
A Mexican themed dish. Fresh chicken infused with a blend of herbs and spices that add to its already succulent taste. Served with sour cream in a pita bread. Easy to make, just cook the chicken in a pan with olive oil, onions, fajita mix and peppers. Ensured that it is fully cooked through and serve in a cut pita bread with a smattering of sour cream to ensure moistness.
Carbonara is a quick and easy to make meal which is filling and the addition of chicken gives a lean protein boost to this famous pasta meal. Chicken breasts cut into strips are added to the creamy sauce which engulfs penne pasta. Can be prepared and cooked in twenty minutes and is easy on the wallet.
It comes down to personal preference when choosing chicken or turkey, but one factor that is important is quality. Ensuring that you purchase your poultry from a trusted source is vital. Local butchers are likely to have the freshest poultry which offers the best value for money, and they are often the best bet.