Cookbook review – John Torode’s Chicken and other birds

Chicken used to be one of my favorite meats and I used to cook it at least once a week. Right now though I can’t remember the last time I cooked it. Its not that I’ve gone off chicken but more that I’m a less fussy eater and cook a wider range of dishes. However this book could hold the next chicken recipe I cook. 256 pages on chicken and other birds, cooked in a variety of different styles and cuisines, with this book you’ll never be short of inspiration for chicken again! But this book is more than a book of chicken, there are also lots of recipes and information on cooking game birds too.

The first thing I liked about this book was the removable jacket sleeve with a flow diagram of what to do with your chicken. From poaching or roasting it whole, to jointing and grilling it or using the meat in curries, pies or kebabs. This diagram inspires you to turn to the book for recipes, ideas and tips for getting the most out of your chicken. As well as the recipes which I will cover in a minute, there is lots of other useful information such as a calendar of the game seasons so you know what to eat when its at its best, a brief guide to all the types of bird you might wish to cook, what to look for when shopping for chicken (no not the 2 for £5 stickers), jointing a bird and a list of poultry and game dealers.

So on to the recipes. The book is split in to chapters on the following topics soups and stocks, snacks and starters, legs and breasts, salads, curries, barbecues, roasts, one pot wonders, tarts, pies and pasties, pasta, noodles and grains and finally confit, terrines, pates and pastrami. Each chapter has a brief introduction by John which will inspire you to try the recipes. Some of the recipes that I want to try include chicken Cesar salad, some of the 8 different chicken kebab ideas (oregano and garlic, chicken and prawns with pancetta, Chinese chicken with sesame seeds), the roast chicken with olives and lemons, and the chicken paella. There are nearly as many game bird recipes as their are chicken ones such as penne with ragout of game sausage and red wine, guinea fowl tagine, five-spiced Chinese duck with bok choy and oyster sauce and pheasant wrapped in proscuitto with polenta. I’ve never eaten game, let alone cooked it but should I ever decide to this will be the book I reach for. Scattered throughout the recipes John also offers lots of useful advice and tips.

Whilst I would not normal buy cookbooks that focus on one type of meat I do think this is a good book. Its stuffed full of mouth watering pictures and John’s useful hints and tips. Although you may glance over this book on the shelf if your not a fan of chicken or think you know all there is to know as chicken I think this book is a great introduction to cooking other types of birds.

Thanks to Quadrille publishing for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Further information:
John Torode’s chicken and other birds.
Published by Quadrille publishing, September 2009
Hardback, full colour photography, pages 256
ISBN 978 1 84400 715 8


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