|Posted by andrewjack.fletcher on November 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM|
Making a meal that provides flavor and texture without edging into unhealthy territory is often a challenge for the foodie, novice or otherwise. Red meat often proves too heavy a dish for those seeking lighter fare, and seafood can be notoriously delicate if you’d like a heartier dish. However, for those seeking a middle ground, poultry is a comfortable go-to that benefits enormously from the addition of sauce and flavor.
Many Mediterranean style dishes provide a masterful balance of flavor and healthy preparation when the preparation strikes the right note between sauce and substance. For dishes that eschew too much heaviness in the meal, the lighter textures of Mediterranean type poultry meals are hard to top.
As an appealing but uncomplicated staple, Chicken Margherita combined the white meat lightness of poultry with the rich, sharper flavors of traditional Italian Margherita sauce. Combining the trinity of tomato, basil, and Parmesan cheese, Chicken margherita can be prepared through either a pan-searing or slow cook method. Chicken Margherita is best cooked at a gentle simmer, as it allows the flavors to meld into one another in a sauce that tastes natural and rich without being overpowering.
For those interested in grain pairings for the dish, Chicken Margherita often combines well with string pastas, and thinner noodles frequently give a nice character to the final meal. Consider filling out the sauce with more Parmesan if you’d like the end result to be a bit more pasta-heavy.
Hailing from a similar part of the world, but with a distinctly different character and body, chicken prepared in the Marsala style combines a white wine sauce with a mixture of mushrooms and herbs. Tart yet delicious, and the wine body is often surprisingly full when made with the right balance of butter throughout the mixture. Marsala chicken also benefits from a slower simmer in the preparation, but should not be prolonged so as to maintain much of the dish’s character.
While much more of oriental origin than pasta, rice makes an excellent grain choice for Chicken Marsala. If you’re seeking a healthier option, brown rice provides both a grain body to the preparation while also soaking up the sauce prepared with the poultry. The dish is especially filling when combined in conjunction with a choice vegetable to round out the ensemble, with zucchini making a particularly fitting partner.
If you’re feeling adventurous, venturing away from the Mediterranean is also a safe bet for the intrepid chef. Curry preparations, both traditional Thai and Indian, pair gracefully with poultry cuts, and also go exceptionally well with rice while having a surprisingly smooth cooking process. Both Indian Korma curry and Thai red curry are delicious over rice, with the latter going exceptionally well with jasmine rice.
Chicken is an exceptionally adaptable meat when working around sauce preparations- and a little experimentation often goes a long way.
Have any health poultry dishes of your own? I’m always open to suggestions and recipe forwards. Feel free to forward them to my inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @FreeTheFoodie.