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Lessons from the Test Kitchen: What are you, chicken?

Chicken is the most commonly consumed variety of poultry in the world. The modern chicken is a descendant of the Red Jungle fowl, with hybrids being raised thousands of years ago in India and South Asia. Chicken gained popularity in the United States after World War II due to a lower production of pork and beef, as well as modern production methods that made it an economical choice for many families. Since that time, many have been searching for new and tasty ways to prepare and serve chicken.

While white meat is often the most sought after section of the bird (and has been for many years), more people are now turning to the dark side. Yes, the dark side of the bird, especially the thigh. The thigh is increasing in popularity for many reasons: it is more forgiving than the breast since thighs have a tendency to retain moisture during the cooking process. Also, it is a budget-friendly protein compared to other sections of the bird, and other proteins for that matter.

Thighs are sold in a variety of styles to suit any dish: boneless, skinless; bone-in, skinless and what some like to call full-on thighs, bone-in, skin-on. The thigh is also versatile, as it can be cooked in countless ways, such as grilled, baked, sautéed, fried and broiled. It also offers a great source of protein to any diet without sacrificing flavor.

Whether your next dish is chicken stir-fry, chicken chasseur or chicken potpie, try using thighs. Thighs may be the dark side of the bird, but they are an easy way to bring new light to the dinner table.