Cooking in the Raw: Microwaving Chicken
Most people use their microwaves to cook already prepared foods or to reheat leftovers. However, there are some really good dishes that can be prepared using the microwave if “done” right. This is especially important when cooking chicken.
Raw chicken can be cooked using several different methods. Due to busy lifestyles, the use of the microwave has become a popular means of cooking meals. However, due to food safety concerns, some worry that cooking raw chicken in a microwave might be unsafe. The most important thing to know about cooking chicken using any method is cooking it to doneness.
When planning to cook chicken in the microwave, it is best to use a recipe with instructions that are specific to microwave cooking. There are different settings on the microwave that should be used when cooking meats or other dense foods. Additionally, liquids have to be adjusted for microwave cooking, and the improper amount can affect the taste and texture of the chicken.
Chicken should always be cooked to a core temperature of 160 degrees. The thing to remember with microwave cooking is that the food is heated from the inside out. For best and safest results, a microwave thermometer is the best choice for testing meat temperature.
You also want to be sure to use a microwave-safe dish that is specific to the type of food cooked. Often-times foods do not come out right due to not having the proper cooking dish, or having it properly covered. Microwaved food should never have been cooked uncovered due to the loss of moisture, and also due to splattering.
If you are “roasting” a chicken in the microwave you will not get the golden-brown skin texture you get when roasting in the oven. However, properly seasoning the outer skin of the chicken with some olive oil and a variety of herbs promises a good flavour. Tip: place chicken in 400 degrees and preheat the oven for 10 minutes after it finishes microwaving to crisp up the skin.
Whether roasting a hen, or cooking cut up pieces in the microwave, it is possible to produce a delicious dish. If cooking parts of the chicken, be advised that breast pieces are thicker and take longer than the leg, thigh, and wing pieces.
You will want to adjust your cook times accordingly. It is important to remember that the thicker the meat, the lower you will need to have your microwave cook setting. Again, using a recipe specific to microwave cooking, and your specific size/strength microwave is essential.
Do not try to cook frozen chicken without thawing first. Microwaves come with a defrost/thaw setting and foods are defrosted or thawed according to weight or number of portions. Follow your microwave manual instructions. If you have lost these, they are more than likely available online.
If you follow microwave instructions and safe-handling practices for raw chicken, there is no reason that you should not be able to safely, and deliciously prepare microwave chicken dishes. Enjoy!