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Author Topic: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken  (Read 516 times)

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Online Peripatetic Phil

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A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« on: April 23, 2019, 11:20 AM »
Although, probably like most readers of CR0, I started out by following the received wisdom and pre-cooking my chicken, over time I came to believe that it was unnecessary and started using fresh chicken instead.  Yesterday something happened to cause me to question the wisdom and validity of this decision. 

The background is my purchase of one of Mr Morrison's fearsome "flaming fiery phaal"s, which turned out to be so hot that I tried to avoid having too much sauce adhering to each piece of chicken as I ate it, as a result of which I had a considerable quantity of phal sauce left.  So, finding two forgotten remaindered large free-range chicken breasts lurking in my 'fridge, I decided to use one of these with the left-over phal sauce.  I started by cutting the breast into two lengthwise and then into six transverse, shook all the pieces in a large t/a container with freshly made g/g paste, heated some garlic-infused and chilli=infused rapeseed oils in my trusty copper-bottomed curry pan, added the g/g-coated chicken pieces and stirred & turned until all were shewing white on all sides.  I then added the left-over phal sauce, stirred & turned again until all the pieces were evenly coated with the sauce, reduced the heat, covered with a lid, and left to cook.

When I judged that the chicken was cooked, I removed one piece using chopsticks and tried it.  It lacked salt, so I added some, but it was also tough.  I put the remainder in a plastic t/a container and left it to cool, planning to eat it the next day (I had already eaten that day, and just wanted to cook the chicken before it started to fester).  However, before going to bed, I  fancied a little snack, and helped myself to a second piece of the chicken.  This time it was perfect — as soft as one could wish for.

I then realised that I had, without thinking, followed the standard chef's precept of "leave the meat to rest", and that had made all the difference.  So, it seems to me that if one wants truly tender chicken in one's curries, one has two options :
  • Allow sufficient time for the chicken to rest before serving
        or
  • Pre-cook the chicken, which will, almost by definition, include a resting phase
What do others think ?

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« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 08:48 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
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Offline mickyp

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Re: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 12:34 PM »
Hi Phil

All our meats rest after cooking Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chicken,  all cool before cutting, so resting time is given, i firmly believe the only reason for T/A's pre cooking chicken and lamb is speed in serving the dishes. The only thing that seems out of the equation with your post is marination, personally its something i always like to do with chicken, i also grill my chicken before it goes in a dish, for me its just another layer of taste.

Going back to your original question i think resting allowing the meat to "relax" answers your question about tenderness.


Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2019, 01:23 PM »
I also grill my chicken before it goes in a dish, for me its just another layer of taste.

Ah, now that is one thing I specifically don't do, as I never feel that a curry made with chicken tikka is anywhere near as nice as the same curry made with fresh (albeit perhaps pre-cooked) fresh chicken.  Almost certainly something to do with the texture ...

Quote
Going back to your original question i think resting allowing the meat to "relax" answers your question about tenderness.

Yes, the "relaxing" (the fibres contract as a result of heat, and relax when the heat source is removed) is indeed a part of the equation, but the resting period also allows the juices which were concentrated in the centre of the meat during cooking to re-infuse the outer layers as the fibres relax.

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« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 08:50 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
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Offline mickyp

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Re: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2019, 02:20 PM »
yep, forgot to mention that bit which is also very true.
On a side note i get my chicken breasts in 5kg packs from Bookers which i think eminate from eastern europe, i have noticed sometimes when cutting them sometimes parts are a bit tough, maybe a few get the chance to "work out" lol.

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Re: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2019, 02:27 PM »
Well, I can't say that there aren't any battery hens in Poland (there almost certainly are) but everywhere that I have been (and I have visited most parts) free-range hens (which, as you say, probably get "a good work-out") are very much in evidence ...

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Offline mickyp

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Re: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2019, 02:30 PM »
Thanks for that info Phil, tis good to hear that  :)

Online jalfreziT

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Re: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2019, 03:08 PM »
Two more possibilitites:

1.  After cooking, you left the meat to cool. There was still a lot of heat retained inside the meat for an hour or two, and this additional "slow cook" made for more tender meat.

2. The marinade contains some elements that helped tenderise the meat.

For me, number one is most likely :)

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Re: A possible reason for pre-cooking chicken
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2019, 03:34 PM »
Fair comment, JFT — I agree that both are possible contributing factors.
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