Chicken vs Turkey

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:

Chicken Fajitas

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.

Chicken Carbonara

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.

Chicken – Spotting Quality and Quality Recipes

Chicken is one of the most consumed meats in the world. It is high in protein, low in fat, does not come with some of the potential health risks of red meat and is generally cheap. Readily available in most areas of the world, chicken is a versatile meat that can add value to virtually any dish. But how can good quality chicken be spotted? What separates the Michelin star free range from the supermarket smart price? In this article, we discuss how to identify and distinguish good and bad quality chicken. A series of different recipes and ideas are then presented, to help you create some delicious meals.

How To Spot Good Quality Chicken?

  • Smell – If it smells bad, it usually is bad. Good chicken should not have a particularly strong smell.
  • Colour –  Any green on the chicken, and disregard it immediately
  • Texture – There should be no slime on the chicken, either externally, or internally. A good way to check it to reach under the neck with a finger
  • Free Range – Free range chickens have lived a better quality of life and normally taste better

Colourings on the chickens tend to vary with age and breed. A good quality chicken or part of it can usually be found at a local butchers. Butchers are experts in handling chickens and do not use some of the preservatives or other artificial ingredients that others do. Chickens will be fresh, usually free range and will have been cut professionally.

Now for some delicious recipes.

Chicken Stir Fry With Pak Choi

A quick and easy dish to make, which is packed full of the good stuff. Most of the ingredients use cook very quickly, so it is essential to be organised when making this dish. Green beans, wild mushrooms and chives make up the bulk of the vegetables and are the chicken is seasoned with parsley, tarragon, chives and soy sauce. Red chilli is used to give the dish a little bit of the kick and all of the ingredients infuse into diced chicken perfectly.

Roast Chorizo Chicken

A mega dose of protein and flavour, with chorizo and chicken being used in the same dish. Potatoes, chicken thighs and chorizo are placed in the oven with smoke paprika and cinnamon. Add tomatoes, thyme, garlic and parsley and this easy dish will come out with the flavours mixed beautifully.

Chicken & Pea Risotto

A classic, but if made right, a beautiful meal. Peas, spinach and asparagus provide a healthy dose of vitamins and nutrients and their flavours compliment the creamy white wine sauce well. The chicken is diced and fried with olive oil, pepper and salt in a frying pan until lightly browned.

Chicken Satay Thighs With Lemon & Honey

A great snack, starter at a party, or as a main course with accompaniments. This recipe is easy to make and utilises the sweetness of honey with the sharpness of lemon. Simply poor a lemon and honey mixture over a chicken and roast it. Voila.

Chicken Recipes

Chicken is the most consumed meat around the world. With chickens being bred for dual purpose – meat and eggs, they are in hot demand and provide a cheap, low fat and high protein source of meat that can be adapted and included into a whole host of meals. In this article we take a look at cuisines around the world and see how chicken has been utilised in their recipes.

USA – Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Famed for their Buffalo sauce, this is the American take on the chicken burger. Using a ground chicken breast, buffalo wing sauce, ranch dressing and cheese, this tangy dish is leaner than the typical beef burger and provides a unique and original taste and flavour.

India – Chicken Makhani

A dish full of flavour and a take on buttered chicken. This can be made spicy or mild depending on preference – just change the amount of cayenne pepper that is added in. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Using a passata, cream and butter base for the sauce, with chilli powder, cayenne pepper and cumin for the main flavouring, the chicken has to be cooked separately with the spices first and then added to the main dish. Easy to make and rich and filling

Italy – Chicken & Mushroom Pasta

Fast, cheap and filling. The Italians are famed for their pasta and this dish is packed full of protein and flavour. Using butter, spinach, cream, cheese and mushrooms for the sauce, then sauce is allowed to thicken naturally, incorporating flour as required. Heated in a pan separately with herbs and spices, the chicken is added in once the pasta is cooked.

China – Chicken Chow Mein

Another fast dish that mimics the famous takeaway meal. A large number of Chinese meals are fast to cook due to being created in a high heat wok or frying pan. With egg noodles as the main source of carbs, chicken breasts are used and are infused with the flavour of garlic, onions, sesame seed oil and light soy sauce. Red peppers are added for colouring and flavour.

Spain – Chicken With Chorizo & Potatoes

A very simple dish with few ingredients. Bursting full of flavour with the strong taste of chorizo complimenting the chicken. Potatoes, chicken thigh, sliced chorizo and red onions and the staple ingredients of this meal which is slow cooked in one tray. Zest of orange is added to give the meal the Mediterranean tang and freshness.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of meals that can be made using chicken. It is important to choose good quality and fresh chicken. Warning lights to poor quality chicken are bad smells, green colours and excess slime, which indicates the chickens are far from fresh. Local butchers and independent traders can often be the best choice when buying chicken, as they are likely to be free range, good quality and a fair price. Furthermore, they are less likely to have been treated with preservatives or additives when purchased from these stores.