Even though most of us eat chicken on a regular basis, the entire month of September is dedicated to the bird. It's not the most highly praised protein, but it can be prepared in a variety of ways that take it from something quite plain and bland to something bursting with flavor. The key is to make a chicken dish with a variety of spices and other ingredients.
Here are ten chicken dishes you can make throughout the month of September to celebrate the month-long holiday and put some scrumptious dinners on the table.
10. Oven-Roasted Whole Chicken
It's not the easiest way to cook chicken, but when it's stuffed with the perfect amount of spices, herbs and seasonings, this can be one of the tastiest chicken recipes. Start by lowering the rack in the oven to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Loosen the skin off of the chicken, including the breasts, thighs and drumsticks, then slather the chicken with your rub of choice. For a spicy chicken, combine paprika with cayenne pepper, thyme, salt, pepper and onion powder or garlic powder. You can also rub a variety of herbs, like sage, rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano, then stuff the chicken with garlic, lemon slices, white onions and canola oil. Roast it for an hour or until golden brown on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes and you're ready to dig into a tasty roasted chicken with crispy, flavorful skin.
9. Mushroom Chicken
Mushroom chicken incorporates so many wonderful flavors that improve the overall taste of chicken, and it's super simple to make. Start by browning chicken in a pan with a little bit of butter, then set aside. Add slices of white onion or shallots, and any combination of mushrooms, such as button, shiitake or cremini, along with herbs and more butter. Let this combination cook until the mushrooms are soft, then add white wine and cook until it reduces, followed by a little heavy cream or yogurt (it's a bit healthier) to thicken the sauce. Place the chicken back into the pan so it can soak up all the flavors from the mushroom sauce while it finishes cooking.
8. Stuffed Chicken Breast
There are a variety of ingredients you can stuff into chicken: rice, cheese, vegetables, sun dried tomatoes or a combination of these ingredients. Feta cheese, goat cheese and blue cheese are great smooth, soft cheeses to stuff into chicken. Try broccoli, peppers and olives as well. No need to worry so much about what's on the outside when most of the flavor is on the inside.
7. Lemon-Pepper Chicken
This might be one of the most classic chicken dishes, but that doesn't mean it isn't full of flavor. Citrusy lemon juice combined with a spicy kick from cracked black pepper always makes a plain chicken thigh or breast shine. Keep it simple by sticking to the original recipe, or update it by adding other ingredients like yellow mustard or by grilling, frying or baking the chicken.
6. Rotisserie Chicken
While it does take awhile to make rotisserie chicken, the hours spent preparing it and roasting it are totally worth it. Start by submerging the chicken in a brine, then refrigerate it for about five hours. Stuff the chicken with tons of flavors like garlic, onion and herbs (basil, oregano, thyme), then tie the chicken legs together with twine so nothing falls out. Don't forget to season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper. Place it on a rotisserie spit inside a preheated 375 degree grill and baste every half hour for the entire time the chicken cooks (about one to two hours). Let it rest for about ten to 15 minutes, then dig in. Rotisserie chicken is always juicy, tender and full of flavor -- the best part is the crispy skin.
5. Coq au Vin
It really doesn't get any better than red wine, delicious veggies and chicken all braised together to create one spectacular dish. Get ready for the fall with this comforting classic French dish. Coq au Vin generally starts with blanching bacon in a saucepan with cold water until it begins to boil. It is then browned in a dutch oven and removed before pearl onions, chicken thighs and chicken legs are added to brown as well. Once the chicken is brown and golden on all sides, the typical seasonings of garlic, salt and pepper are added, followed by chicken stock, red wine, bay leaves and thyme, as well as the already browned bacon. The chicken is removed and set aside once it cooks, then button mushrooms are added to the liquid as it cooks on high heat in order for the red wine to reduce and create a thick sauce with the chicken stock, and it's finished off with butter. It's a warm, hearty dish, and transforms any plain chicken into something magnificent.
4. Grilled Chicken Under a Brick
Grilling chicken under a brick is a simple yet very effective way to ensure great flavor in your chicken. Wrap bricks in aluminum foil, then season your chicken after removing the backbone with oil, salt and pepper, and other seasonings like lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and even red pepper flakes. Cook the chicken skin-side down with the bricks on top for about 20 minutes, then flip the chicken and place the bricks back on top for another 20 minutes. The pressure from the bricks makes the chicken tender and juicy. No need to worry about it drying up on the grill.
3. Fried Chicken
While the summer is winding down, it's the perfect time to enjoy this classic chicken dish before it's too late. But really, it's never too late to enjoy fried chicken...especially fried chicken and waffles. Make some fried chicken in a deep fryer in the oven, or shallow-fried on the stove; keep it healthy or keep it classic. If you're going to fry it in the oven, coat the chicken in crunchy bread crumbs like Panko or ones made from firm sandwich bread, or even pecan pieces or coconut flakes. Add a bunch of seasoning, like cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard and cracked black pepper. Dredge the chicken in a variety of liquids, such as buttermilk, whole milk, a beer batter or half-and-half. Of course, you can always stick to the classic Southern fried chicken recipe you know and love; there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
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2. Chicken Burgers
Change up burger night by using ground chicken instead of ground beef. Season the ground chicken with a sweet and spicy raspberry chipotle sauce, sautéed white onions and garlic, or simply add sweet bell peppers, onions, salt and pepper. Add some Panko bread crumbs and a beaten egg to bind everything together, then grill each patty for about eight minutes on each side. Top with your choice of cheese and toppings in between a hamburger bun.
1. BBQ Chicken
When you don't know what to do with chicken, smothering it in barbecue sauce and sticking it on the grill is always a good decision. Make sure the skin is über-crispy and the barbecue sauce perfectly coats the outside of the chicken so each bite is full of tender meat, crispy skin and spicy-sweet sauce. It's a finger-licking good dish you won't regret making.