Swap those pricey boneless, skinless chickens breasts for a cheaper choice -- chicken quarters. Although quarters can be a breast with wing and rib, you'll more likely find leg quarters, which combine a whole leg with a thigh. Like any other cut of chicken, quarters have a mild flavor that lends itself to a variety of cooking techniques, including grilling, frying, roasting, stewing and pressure-cooking. No matter how you choose to cook it, let it continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meatiest part reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grilling Chicken Quarters
Preheat your grill to medium heat, leaving one burner off or keeping the coals spread out over two-thirds of the grill to create a heat-free area where you can move the chicken if you get a flare-up. Grill the chicken skin-side down for 16 to 35 minutes until the juices are clear. If you're worried about flare-ups, set your grill up for indirect cooking by only lighting one burner of a two-burner grill or lighting coals on one side of a grill and cooking the chicken on the unlit side.
Frying Chicken Quarters
Set up your deep fryer, adding cooking oil such as peanut, safflower, soybean, grape seed, canola or corn oil -- all of which can take high frying temperatures. While the oil is heating to 350 to 375 degrees F, sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken and bread each quarter by dipping it in flour, a combination of egg and water or milk, and dry breadcrumbs. Fry the quarters until the outside is browned and the internal temperature of the meat is 165 degrees F.
Roasting Chicken Quarters
Achieve all the flavor of a Sunday-dinner style roasted chicken in a fraction of the time. Season the chicken quarters with salt and pepper and any other seasonings that you enjoy. Some examples include fresh herbs, garlic or dried seasonings such as paprika. Place the quarters with the skin-side up in a greased roasting pan or baking sheet and roast in an oven that's been preheated to 425 degrees F for roughly 30 to 40 minutes.
Stewing Chicken Quarters
You can use chicken quarters to create a flavorful stew. Start by browning the quarters in a skillet or pot, and then add liquid and vegetables. Cover the pot and let the mixture simmer at 325 degrees F for 60 to 90 minutes. You can use any combination of liquids and vegetables. For example, cook a West African-inspired stew by simmering the chicken in a hearty combination of chicken stock and peanut butter, along with sweet potatoes, onion, fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes and fresh mint.
Pressure-Cooking Chicken Quarters
One of the most important steps to prepare your chicken quarters for pressure-cooking is to remove the skin and as much fat as you can. The skin will only get shriveled and rubbery; as an added bonus, you'll reduce the fat in your recipe. Season chicken quarters and place them in the pressure cooker along with stock or wine in the amount of liquid called for by your particular cooker. Add aromatic vegetables such as red bell pepper, onion, garlic and celery. Lock the pressure cooker's lid in place and use high heat to bring it to high pressure, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the pressure high. Let the chicken cook for 10 minutes before taking it off the heat. Use the quick-releasing feature if your cooker has one; otherwise, allow the pressure to lower naturally before opening.
Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.
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