Chicken recipes: 7 amazing ways

Our favourite staple has been given a super-tasty makeover by YOU’s Eleanor Maidment.

Lime and chipotle chicken tinga tacos

Tinga is a Mexican chilli and tomato stew with shredded meat stirred through it. This is a speedy version that makes a quick family meal and is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken.

chicken tinga tacos
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Chicken and avocado salad with basil and parmesan dressing

You can bulk up this fabulous spring salad with other veggies, such as blanched broccoli florets or sliced cucumber. It also demonstrates the best way to cook a chicken breast to keep it nice and juicy – seared in a hot pan and then finished in a low oven. Skin-on chicken breasts make all the difference.

chicken and avocado salad
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Sesame-crusted chicken with pea and radish salad

Coating chicken breasts in a golden sesame crumb is a great way to ensure they don’t dry out during cooking. Usually recipes call for frying breadcrumbed chicken, but baking is easier, less messy and requires less oil or butter for cooking.

sesame crusted chicken
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Slow-roast sticky soy and mandarin chicken

If you have never slow-roasted a chicken before, now is the time. A lower oven temperature, a longer cooking time and a sticky soy-based marinade yields fantastically tender breast meat, juicy thigh meat and dark, lacquered skin. Make sure to use a waxy variety of potato so it can stand up to the long cooking time too.

slow roast soy chicken
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Harissa and yoghurt chicken with quinoa

Skinless, boneless chicken thighs are a great option as they can be cooked quickly, as in this recipe, or can stand up to slower cooking in curries and stews without drying out.

harissa and yoghurt chicken
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Chicken braised in turmeric and coconut milk

This is a gloriously simple one-pan dish that can easily be scaled up to serve more people – just add a couple more chicken thighs to serve 3, or double the recipe to serve 4.

turmeric chicken
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Tray-baked chicken with squash, olives and feta

It’s quite amazing how a single roasting tin can pack in a mountain of Mediterranean flavour. You can substitute the squash with wedges of sweet potato if liked.

tray bake chicken
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5 tips for perfectly cooked chicken

  1. Just as with a steak, take your chicken out of the fridge 20 minutes or more before cooking. Chilled meat seizes up when it hits heat, so this will help it stay more tender.
  2. Always season your chicken. It can be a bland meat so a little salt goes a long way. Do this as soon as you take it out of the fridge before cooking to allow the salt time to penetrate the flesh and give it a good flavour.
  3. Change things up by marinating your chicken. A marinade should usually have an acid element to help tenderise the meat. Citrus juice, vinegar or yogurt are always reliable.
  4. Make sure you rest chicken after cooking to let the juices redistribute through the meat. A couple of minutes is fine for smaller boneless cuts, and at least 20 minutes for a whole bird. Don’t worry that the meat will cool too much… it won’t!
  5. Overcooking chicken is guaranteed to dry it out. If you want to be really precise, use a meat thermometer. Chicken is fully cooked when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 75C. When it’s this temperature, you can take it out of the oven.

Recipes: Eleanor Maidment. Food styling: Sunil Vijayakar. Styling: Lydia Mcpherson