Chicken may be a standard dish for most of us, but how often do you really think about how you prepare it? Kemp Minifie, the former Gourmet editor, tackles chicken basics in her Kemp's Kitchen column in the April 6, 2011 edition of Gourmet Live. What steps are you skipping?
Some of the tips (thoroughly wash your hands after handling poultry) are no-brainers. Others are reminders like always choosing chicken by the most distant sell-by date and cooking it within two days of purchase. One tip directly referenced a bad habit of mine: use a thermometer to check if a chicken is done rather than judging by look. I admit to abusing the "cut and check" method because I have a secret fear that I'll overcook chicken by checking its temperature in the wrong place. Since the USDA dropped the safe temperature for cooked poultry to 165 degrees, overdoing the bird isn't as much of a risk as it used to be (former requirements for 180 degrees usually meant a very dry consistency).
Other tips include getting into the habit of making stock (even from store-bought rotisserie chicken) and making your own chicken liver pâté from otherwise discarded chicken giblets. Check out the article on the iPad; it's enough to cure your chicken blues.
Related: How To Make Homemade Chicken Stock