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Chicken Skin - Do You or Don't You?


weinoo
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Yesterday, I made a delicious chicken in the pot, which if I was French I might call poulet en cocotte. Thing is, when you make a chicken this way, the skin isn't really the best; it's pale, soft and fairly unappetizing.

Oh, it's browned first (and I made sure to get a nice brown color going) and then cooked, covered, in the manner of a braise\, but with a lot less liquid. The chicken is fantastic; flavorful and juicy and the skin is, well, discarded.

But my question is more general. When you cook chicken, do you eat the skin? Even if it's braised? Do you cook your chicken specifically so that the skin is extra delicious? Or , even if the skin is edible, do you discard it for health or caloric reasons? Inquiring minds...

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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It depends if the skin adds flavour. Sad to say, I almost never discard the skin because of health or caloric reasons. I probably wouldn't bother cooking chicken (unless the skin doesn't add anything to the dish and the chicken is supposed to taste 'that way') then!

I could never eat a roast chicken, Hainanese chicken or fried chicken for example without the skin. I find chicken skin in curries quite pointless though (unless it's a dry Southern Indian one then it's yummy).

Nyonya in The Netherlands

My Blog- Deliciously Lekker

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Sometimes, if it's nice and crunchy, I just eat the skin. Flabby skin I avoid. When we roast a chicken, my boyfriend and I may be seen frantically pulling the skin off the portions we haven't plated, so we catch it before it softens. I rein in calories by eating less food overall, rather than eating 'normal' amounts, and skipping the things I love.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
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If I know the skin will be flabby due to the cooking technique then I will usually remove it first and fry it up as a cook's treat. I don't like flabby skin. But sometimes I just know that the skin will add to the flavour or protect the flesh even if it gets flabby and then I will discard it before serving.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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What kind of crazy question is this? I'm thinking anyone here who DOESN'T eat the chicken skin, or at least try to optimise it to some level of crispy edibility, should just hand in their eGullet membership card, take their toys and go home! :laugh: I could SORT of countenance medical or dietary reasons I guess, but even then..a fine line.

Kidding. Though I say this as someone who managed to eat 8 sticks of torikawa (nothing but crispy chicken skin, bunched up on skewers) in a Tokyo yakitori bar recently, closely followed by 4 skewers of pope's/parson's noses..or whatever the little bundles of fat and crispy skin from the tail end of a chicken are referred to in the US..?

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Much like Jack Sprat and his wife, my husband and I are perfectly matched in this respect. He doesn't eat poultry skin - loathes the very idea of it - and I consider the good crisp skin of a roasted bird pretty much the best part. When I roast a chicken or turkey, I get that delicious skin all to myself.

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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What kind of crazy question is this? I'm thinking anyone here who DOESN'T eat the chicken skin, or at least try to optimise it to some level of crispy edibility, should just hand in their eGullet membership card, take their toys and go home! :laugh: I could SORT of countenance medical or dietary reasons I guess, but even then..a fine line.

Kidding. Though I say this as someone who managed to eat 8 sticks of torikawa (nothing but crispy chicken skin, bunched up on skewers) in a Tokyo yakitori bar recently, closely followed by 4 skewers of pope's/parson's noses..or whatever the little bundles of fat and crispy skin from the tail end of a chicken are referred to in the US..?

I think its absolutely disgusting, but I'm not about to turn in my foodie card. Taste is so subjective. The thought of even eating skin makes me gag a little. I also can't stand blue cheese, raw tomatoes and Kalmata olives and I dont eat any beef( or organ meat) Like I said, taste is subjective.

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Flabby pale chicken skin is gross. So when I do chicken braises, stews, etc., I'll cook it with the skin on, but pull it off just before I eat it. I only pull it off on my portion though. Everyone else can eat their own flabby pale chicken skin.

Oh, the exception is some Asian style chicken, like white-cooked or soy sauce. That's ok. I'll eat that flabby skin.

Crispy skin, on the other hand, has my DH & I at each other's throats for it! :biggrin:

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I think the skin is the whole point. I used to think that if I were in a situation where I could request my last meal I would request the crisp skin and the tail of a roast turkey. The tail is all skin, fat and the sweetest meat, and there's not much competition for it.

The soggy stuff I don't usually eat, unless it has been browned first.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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The thought of even eating skin makes me gag a little. CaliPoutine

Maybe we should all put a little more thought into what it is we are eating. We might have lower levels of morbid obesity in this country.

However, when it comes to the stuff that a chicken's feathers used to be anchored in, first plunge it in a bath of some briny buttermilk concoction for an extended period, then dust it with flour, and finally send it to a vat of oil heated to a blistering 150 C & keep it there until it is nicely browned and scrumptiously crisp.

I love the stuff that Alex & Aki do at Ideas in Food. Here are their thoughts on the subject.

Edited by Jeffery C (log)
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My mother made chicken the way described in the OP, then used the drippings to make gravy with canned mushrooms and called the result "roast chicken." I should try to make that sometime, with fresh 'shrooms and a legitimate French name.

Anyway, about chicken skin: I think it's the best part, and recipes that don't make the most of it don't get repeated.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Mitch, the skin you talk about reminds me of confit skin, minus tons of salt... Since it cooked for so long in the moist environment, I'd be sure it was quite gelatinous and would puff up really well if fried or cooked at high heat between two silpats.... mmmm.... crispy skin....

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....

I love the stuff that Alex & Aki do at Ideas in Food. Here are their thoughts on the subject.

Their chicken skin wrapped shrimp balls have been on my gotta-do list forever - the issue is finding enough chicken skin. :laugh:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I will remove the skin, check for seasoning, place on a wire rack, back into the oven @375 till crisp and rendered.. eat!! :smile:

Agreed. Wire rack is the way to go as it also renders out a lot of fat, if you're concerned about calories. It's much healthier to eat it this way than if it was not rendered.

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When I do something like a gumbo, or a stew or soup, where the skin is integral to the flavor of the final dish, but the dish is easier to eat when the chicken is taken off the bone and shredded, or chunked, I brown the skin, leave it on during cooking, and then discard it along with the bones when I deal with the chicken. If it's a braise, and I want the chicken left in large pieces for presentation (I can think of a couple of recipes where that's the case), then I remove brown the skin hard, leave it on for the cooking, then remove the pieces from the broth, put them on a broiler pan, and run them, skin-side up, under the broiler, to revive the skin.

Best. Idea. Ever.

When I roast or fry the chicken, crispy, crunchy, chicken-fatty goodness is the goal, and I will, as others do, scarf the skin before I touch the meat so it doesn't lose that crackle.

Flabby, soggy skin is disgusting. I won't even feed it to the dogs (though I'm *sure* they'd hoover it on down....)

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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maybe Tyson needs to genetically engineer a chicken with twice the skin? I think as GMOs go that would be ok with me *sarcasm*

With all the skinless chicken breasts sold wouldn't you think there's a secondary market for the skin? :laugh:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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With all the skinless chicken breasts sold wouldn't you think there's a secondary market for the skin? :laugh:

I wonder if they sell the extra skin to corporations like McDonald's to make the McNuggets and so on.

edited to add: I'm sure it isn't just thrown away. It's ending up somewhere...in pet food or people food.

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

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Isn't the whole point of chicken, the skin? :biggrin: I eat it. For braised chicken pieces, such as coq au vinm I simply crisp the chicken pieces under the broiler, after they are done braising.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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When I do something like a gumbo, or a stew or soup, where the skin is integral to the flavor of the final dish,

How is it integral? Do you mean that stewing the skin with the broth infuses the liquid with extra flavor? I've always been unsure of that, and believed that most of the flavor comes from meat and connective tissue.

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