Cookbook review: ‘Chicken Bible’ answers prayers

With 500 recipes, this "America's Test Kitchen" guide delivers plenty of variety.

Americans eat close to 100 pounds of chicken per person each year. That’s a lot of clucking nuggets, tenders, and wings. No wonder we are always on the hunt for new years to eat and prepare poultry.

Your search can stop with The Chicken Bible: Say Goodbye to Boring Chicken with 500 Recipes for Easy Dinners, Braises, Wings, Stir-fries, and So Much More (2021, $40) written and published by the exhaustively exact editors at “America’s Test Kitchen.” Besides the recipes, the 525-plus-page cookbook includes primers on chicken parts, shopping, storage, specialty appliances, and a multitude of techniques.

Come for the chicken ABCs but stay for the recipes. Besides the sheer breadth of the globetrotting, quick-cooking, slow-simmering, classic-loving, and technique-teaching recipes, home cooks will be assured of success because each recipe comes with a detailed “why this works” note. So many of us like to go rogue on recipes, substituting ingredients, changing up pan sizes, or even ignoring called-for oven temperatures because they seem too high (or low). Recipe developers don’t often tell you why these things matter. Take heed of the recipe notes — at least the first time you tackle the recipe — and you’ll be happy with the results.

My review copy of the book has at least 20 pages dog-eared because the recipes called to me. I can’t wait to make Chicken Chilaquiles, Turkey Sliders with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad (yes, there’s turkey too), and Braised Chicken Thighs with Chard and Mustard, which I think would be good enough for a Sunday family dinner or even a dinner party.

As we head into the Florida summer, I am putting Campanelle with Roasted Garlic, Chicken Sausage and Arugula on the menu. It’s a fairly quick-cooking dish thanks to the addition of cooked chicken sausage so it won’t heat up the kitchen too much. One recipe down, 499 to go.

Campanelle with Roasted Garlic, Chicken Sausage and Arugula

Sourced from The Chicken Bible: Say Goodbye to Boring Chicken with 500 Recipes for Easy Dinners, Braises, Wings, Stir-fries, and So Much More, America's Test Kitchen (2021, $40).
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus on tbsp, divided
  • 16 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/2 tsp table salt plus one tbsp more for cooking pasta
  • 12 oz cooked chicken sausage sliced 1/2 thick on bias
  • 1 lb campanelle
  • 5 oz baby arugula (5 cups)
  • 4 oz goat cheese crumbled (1 cup)

Instructions
 

  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 1/3 cup oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in 8-inch baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake, stirring occassionally, until garlic is caramelized and soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then mash garlic and oil into paste with fork.
  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in garlic mixture.
  • Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt; cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot. Add sausage mixture, arugula, cheese and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water and toss to combine. Adjust the consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Notes

Sixteen cloves of garlic? Yes, because they mellow and sweeten when baked with olive oil, salt and pepper. “Campanelle” means “little bell” in Italian, which is what this sturdy pasta resembles. Its edges are ruffled and the cone shape catches sauce inside. If you can’t find campanelle, use rigatoni, fusilli or penne.
Keyword campanelle, chicken, pasta
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