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Synonyms:   fowl

Poultry is the catch-all term for domesticated birds that are meaty enough to eat.  Poultry tends to be lower in saturated fat than other meats, so it's a good choice if you're worried about your health or weight.  You can lower the fat still more by removing the skin and by using light meat from the breast instead of the darker meat from the thighs and legs.  Younger birds are more tender than older ones, so they're best for grilling, roasting, and frying.  Older, tougher birds do better if they're cooked in stews or soups.

Substitutes:  rabbit OR pork OR ostrich OR veal OR tofu OR shrimp OR scallops


black chicken = Taihe chicken = black-boned chicken = Silky chicken  Notes:   Many Asians believe that soup made from black chicken has medicinal properties that are especially helpful to women.    Substitutes:  chicken


chicken  Equivalents:  One pound boneless chicken = 3 cups cubed meat.  Notes:   Chicken is a relatively lean and inexpensive meat, so it's a culinary workhorse.   Broiler-fryers = fryers = broilers are between 2 1/2 and 5 pounds, and can be broiled, roasted, or fried. They're not good for stewing.  Stewing chickens are tougher and best used, as their name suggests, in stews and soups.  Capons are castrated male chickens that are large (between 5 and 10 pounds) and tender, and have relatively more white meat.  They're great for roasting. 

Free-range chickens are tastier and more humanely raised, but tougher and more expensive.  Cuts include halves = splits, which are broiler-fryers cut in half; breast halves = breast splits; breast quarters, which include the breast, wing, and back; drumsticks, which are the part of leg below the knee; drummettes, which are the meatiest wing section; and leg quarters, which include the drumstick and thigh.  Cut-up chickens are broiler-fryers that are cut up and packaged with two breast halves, two thighs, two drumsticks, and two wings.   Substitutes:  turkey OR rabbit OR pheasant (more expensive) OR goose (don't stuff) OR extra firm tofu OR scallops OR shrimp 


Cornish game hen  Notes:  This are very small, tender chickens.  Varieties include Rock Cornish game hens = Rock Cornish hens, which are a cross between Cornish and Plymouth Rock chickens.  Substitutes:  grouse OR chicken (These are larger than Cornish game hens.) OR chukar OR pheasant OR quail OR squab


duck    Notes:   This fatty bird makes a divine roast, but it's hard to cook without setting off the smoke alarm.  It helps to pour off the fat while it's roasting.   Wild ducks are less fatty than store-bought ducks.   A young duck, called a duckling = young duckling = broiler duckling = fryer duckling = roaster duckling, is more tender than an old duck = mature duck.  High fat meats like duck generally should be cooked at a higher temperature and for a longer time than low-fat meats. Substitutes:  goose (less fatty) OR chicken (less fatty still)

free-range chicken

giblets  Pronunciation:  JIB-litz  Notes:  These are the bird's heart, liver, and gizzard, and usually come in a package tucked inside the abdominal cavity of a packaged whole bird. 


goose   Notes:    Europeans traditionally roast these for their Christmas dinners.  The meat is dark and fatty, and more like beef than chicken.  Young goslings are the priciest, and the most tender.  Wild goose is tougher and has a much stronger flavor than a domesticated goose.  If the recipe calls for cut-up goose meat, consider using the dark meat from a turkey or chicken.   High-fat meats like goose should be cooked at a higher temperature and for a longer time than low-fat meats.  Frozen goose is a good substitute for fresh.   Substitutes:  duck (This is smaller and even fattier than a goose) OR chicken (This is smaller, more tender and less fatty. Cook it at a lower temperature for a shorter time.) OR turkey (This is more tender and less fatty. Cook it at a lower temperature.)

ground chicken  Notes:   Butchers will grind either dark meat or light meat.  Light meat is lower in saturated fat.   Substitutes:  ground turkey OR ground veal. 

ground turkey  Notes:   Butchers will grind either dark meat or light meat.  Light meat is lower in saturated fat.   Substitutes:  ground chicken OR ground veal. 

guinea fowl = guinea hen = pintade = faraona = African pheasant    Pronunciation:   GHIN-ee   Notes:   This small bird is very lean and tastes like a pheasant.  It's very lean, so bard it before roasting, or marinate it before putting it on the grill.   Substitutes:  pheasant OR Cornish game hens OR free-range chickens OR chickens (moister, not as gamy) 


pheasant    Equivalents:   One large pheasant = 3 pounds.  Notes:   These tend to be pricey, but they're more flavorful than chickens.  One pheasant can serve two people.  Pheasants are lean, so bard them before roasting.   Substitutes: guinea fowl OR Cornish game hens OR chicken (moister, not as gamey) OR grouse OR chukar OR pigeon


poussin = spring chicken   Pronunciation:  poo-SAN  Notes:   A poussin is a very young chicken, and it has a very delicate flavor and very little fat.  They're available in some gourmet markets.  Substitutes:  Cornish game hen (larger) OR squab 


roasting chicken

stewing chicken

turkey   Equivalents:   One pound boneless turkey = 3 cups.   Notes:   Markets often sell whole turkeys at bargain prices during the holidays, using them as loss leaders.  It's a good idea to stock up on them then, since you can keep them in the freezer for up to a year and serve your family this cheap, lean, tasty meat year-round.  If you're planning to roast a whole turkey, choose a young turkey = fryer-roaster turkey = young hen turkey = young tom turkey.  An old turkey = mature turkey = yearling turkey isn't as tender and is best cooked in a stew or soup.  
When selecting your turkey, make sure that the plastic wrapping isn't torn.  There's no big difference between males (toms) and females (hens), but it's more economical  to get a big bird, since a 15-pound turkey has about twice as much meat on it as a 10-pound turkey.  Frozen turkeys should be thawed in the refrigerator, allowing one day of thawing per 5 pounds of bird.  If you're short of time, you can thaw a turkey by leaving it in its original plastic wrapper and covering it completely with cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes.  Allow 30 minutes of thawing time per pound of bird if you use this method.  Fresh turkeys should be used within two days of purchase.  Cut-up turkeys are also available.  The major cuts are the turkey breast, tenderloin, cutlet, drumstick, and thigh.  Click here for advice on defrosting a turkey.   Substitutes:  chicken OR goose (not as tender, higher in fat) OR pheasant (smaller) OR ostrich OR UnTurkey (a seitan-based turkey substitute) OR tofurky (a tofu and seitan substitute) 



Copyright 1996-2005  Lori Alden