Chicken may seem like one of the simplest proteins to master, but as these chefs show, the real trick is in the technique. Here’s how to whip up classic, must-know chicken dishes like one of the pros and have guests at your next dinner party convinced you catered in.

Chicken Gumbo

“This is gumbo 101-the first gumbo you learn in the Cajun kitchen. It’s the easiest one to find ingredients for, and you can feed a bunch of people easily by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the recipe. No matter how tempted you are, do NOT skim the little oil slick of chicken fat off the top of your gumbo!”- Isaac Toups, owner and chef of Toups’ Meatery in New Orleans

F&W Recipe: Chicken Gumbo

Country Captain

“Chicken country captain is such a classic dish in the South because of the way it bridges the gap between different cultures brought together in the Lowcountry. The use of bell pepper and tomato resonates with Southern cooking, while the curry spices speak to the confluence of flavours in a port city like Savannah. It is both unique and comfortingly familiar, and simple enough for a weeknight supper. It is important to let the chicken cook skin-side down in the oven to really render and get crispy. Homemade stock takes the sauce over the top, and be sure to pour the fat out of the pan and deglaze with the sauce. We serve ours with a toasted piece of sourdough to soak up all of the delicious flavours that seep out of the chicken as it rests.” Trevor Elliot, chef de cuisine at The Grey in Savannah, GA

F&W Recipe: Country Captain

Chicken Rice

“Poached chicken and rice is one of my favourite dishes to cook at home for my family; it’s simple, healthy, and super delicious. There are different approaches to how this dish is prepared, the most traditional being Hainanese chicken rice served with chili sauce and cucumber garnishes. It is such an adaptable dish, and I’ve never come across a bad version since my time in Asia.” – Joseph Sergentakis, group executive chef at CÉ LA VI in Singapore

F&W Recipe: Hainan Chicken with Rice and Two Sauces

Harissa-Marinated Chicken

“Using harissa to marinate a whole chicken is a great way to introduce quick flavour. At Soulmate, we use local, dried chilies to make our harissa, but you can find great premade harissa in any specialty market. To make the harissa into a marinade, mix in a little canola oil. The best way to achieve a nice, crispy skin is to marinate the flesh underneath the skin and air-dry the chicken for a few hours in the refrigerator before throwing on the grill. Lightly baste the chicken again (this time on the skin) with the same marinade before cooking for a beautiful colour and delicious, crispy skin.” Rudy Lopez, executive chef of Soulmate in West Hollywood

F&W Recipe: Harissa Chicken with Green-Chile-and-Tomato Salad

Chicken Braised in White Wine

“Chicken braised in white wine is the simplest and most flavourful chicken dish I know. You take bone-in chicken thighs or chicken leg quarters, sear them in a pan, set them aside, add onion and garlic back to the pan, and cook until tender. Return the chicken to the pan, cover halfway with white wine, beer, or even a dry sherry. Bring the pan to a simmer and maybe even throw in some herbs like thyme, rosemary, or bay leaf, and cover until the chicken is falling off the bone. That’s when the magic happens. You can do this all on your stovetop. When the chicken, wine, and onion all cook together, it becomes this rich, savoury dish that makes my family drool, particularly when poured over roasted potatoes.” – Katie Button, chef of Cúrate, cookbook author, and co-founder of Katie Button Restaurants

F&W Recipe: Grilled Chicken with White Wine Jus

Griddled Half Chicken with White Wine Jus Recipe
Photo by David Malosh / Prop Styling by Amy Wilson / Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero

Roasted Chicken

“Not all roasted chickens are created equal. The key to keeping it juicy is to let the seasoning and olive oil sit on the chicken for a while (at least 15 minutes). And always put the herbs below the chicken, not on top.” – Nina Compton, chef and owner of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro in New Orleans

“Whole roasted chicken is a classic that everyone should know how to make. I like to salt brine the chicken so it stays extra juicy and then roast it simply with spices for about an hour. The best part about roasted chicken is leftovers. Don’t toss those bones! Throw everything into a pot, add a few veggies you have lying around, and make a delicious broth.”Marcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur behind Red Rooster Harlem

F&W Recipe: Julia’s Favorite Roast Chicken

Chicken Stock

“A great chicken stock is the most useful tool any chef can wield. It can be used for adding body to sauces, stews, and soups, and is an integral building block in the delicate balance of most dishes. At Le Rigmarole, we simmer the stock slowly over the course of 36 hours after having previously parboiled and washed the bones, and only add garlic as a garnish. We use the stock to make our steamed egg that we season with whatever we feel like: shiitake, watercress, lobster, or truffles.” – Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang, chefs and co-owners of Michelin-starred Le Rigmarole in Paris

F&W Recipe: Classic Chicken Stock

Stewed Chicken

“Sancocho de gallina is a very traditional Colombian dish combining potatoes, yuca, corn, plantains, and chicken. It’s a hearty, stew-like dish, so, naturally, it’s the ultimate comfort food. Though plenty of Latin countries have their own take on the dish, typical Colombian-style sancochos are always served with avocado, white rice, and ají picante (hot sauce) on the side.” – Cesar Zapata, owner and chef of Miami’s Phuc Yea, Arepitas Bar, and Pho Mo

“Ají de gallina is a stewed chicken dish that can be used as a starter for those who aren’t familiar with-or who are intimidated by-Peruvian cuisine. It is a combination of ají amarillo (yellow chili pepper), evaporated milk, breadcrumbs, and shredded chicken. Serve it over boiled potatoes, rice, or with a tortilla.” – Nando Chang, chef at Itamae Miami

F&W Recipe: Mayan-Pepita Chicken Stew

Korean Fried Chicken

“Fried chicken is the universal comfort food dish that people make all around the world. Whether you make Korean fried chicken, which is twice-fried with a rice flour (preferably) and usually tossed in a sweet and spicy gochujang sauce, or Southern fried, it’s one of those feel-good dishes that instantly takes you back to a fond food memory.” – LaMara Davidson, chef and founder of Cornbread + Kimchi

“My wife recently prepared Korean market-style fried chicken at home, and I am fascinated with the technique and ingredients. I was sceptical at first about double-frying, but it produces an incredible crust along with tender, juicy meat. I had never worked with roasted soybean flour, but it contributes a nutty flavour and aroma to the crust.” – Jonathan Benno, chef and partner of Leonelli Restaurant & Bakery in NYC; Michelin-starred BENNO in NYC; and Cafe Leonelli in Houston, TX

F&W Recipe: Auntie Georgia’s Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Sauce)

Rec

“A Filipino staple is BBQ chicken, which is essentially a marinated chicken cooked over fire. I love our BBQ skewers in Miami, and the secret is in the sauce. We marinate our version in Sprite (better if you can find Mexican Squirt), so it becomes tender, juicy, and has an incredible char from the sugar. Pair with a side dipping sauce of vinegar, soy, garlic, and black pepper to achieve maximum flavour.” – Nicole Ponseca, James Beard finalist, author, and chef at Jeepney

F&W Recipe: Smoky Barbecued Chicken

Auntie Georgia’s Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Sauce)
Credit: Angie Webb

Chicken Paella

“For me, as a Spaniard, chicken paella is a traditional dish that every home should know how to prepare. Add some vegetables of your choosing and accompany them with aioli and you will have a great lunch.” Francisco Sanabria Crespo, executive chef of Rosewood Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda, BVI

F&W Recipe: Skillet Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Jerk Chicken

“Growing up in Jamaica, my father raised our own poultry, and we were fortunate enough to have pimento trees and Scotch bonnet bushes growing right on our property. My father taught me how to slow roast over log wood charcoal and branches from the pimento tree, and make a classic marinade from the Scotch bonnets, pimento berries, and thyme. My father would reserve the smallest chicken when he cooked for me as a boy, making sure I had my own. It was undoubtedly one of my fondest food memories.” – Kahari Woolcock, chef de cuisine at Miss Lily’s in NYC

F&W Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Arroz con Pollo

“Arroz con pollo is a quick and inexpensive one-pot meal. I prefer to use bone-in chicken thighs for added flavour, but you could use boneless chicken. Make sure to add your favourite sazón, and substitute half of the water with your favourite beer for an extra hint of flavour.” – Sergio Rivera, executive chef of Azabu Miami Beach, Lolo’s Surf Cantina, and BUBUSAN

F&W Recipe: Arroz con Pollo with Avocado-Green Pea Salsa

Chicken Paillard

“Chicken paillard is a quick and flavourful way to cook a chicken breast by splitting and pounding it like a scaloppine, then marinating it with chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, a touch of garlic, olive oil, salt, and cracked pepper. The paillard is quickly cooked on a hot grill on both sides, brushed with Dijon mustard, and sprinkled with toasted, buttered breadcrumbs. Served alongside an arugula-tomato salad, with fresh herbs like tarragon, chervil (French parsley), and chives makes this a wonderful summer dish.” – Daniel Boulud, chef and restaurateur

“Since the chicken is pounded very thin, it helps tenderize the meat and keeps it juicy. Topping the chicken with a fresh salad of arugula or any greens you have on hand, a drizzle of good olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon makes it a light and fresh dish.” Danny Grant, chef and partner at What If Syndicate 

F&W Recipe: Chicken Paillard with Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Coq au Vin

“Served with mashed potatoes, coq au vin was such a Sunday treat for me growing up in the cold of northern England. It’s one of my ‘take me back home’ dishes.” – Julian Baker, executive chef of Le Zoo in Miami

“It’s quick, easy to make, and the aromas coming out of your kitchen will transport you somewhere else. I always use chicken thighs for this dish, and even though the original recipe calls for a Burgundy wine, I like to experiment and sometimes use a Riesling. I like to serve coq au vin directly from the casserole dish so guests can then help themselves-the way the French would do at the dining table! – Sofian Msetfi, executive chef of Ormer Mayfair at Flemings Mayfair in London

F&W Recipe: Chicken Legs Coq Au Vin

Fried Chicken

Start by dry-brining your favourite chicken cut (bone-in and skin-on is best) in one teaspoon of salt per pound of chicken, along with any herbs or spices you like, overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, dunk in buttermilk before breading in even parts flour, cornmeal, and corn starch for the crispiest crust. Keep the heat low when frying-not hotter than 325°F. You’ll be in Southern-fried heaven in no time!” Brian Morris, executive chef of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville

F&W Recipe: Best-Ever Cold Fried Chicken

Best-Ever Cold Fried Chicken
Credit: Con Poulos

Chicken Piccata

“It’s one of the first dishes I learned to make in a professional kitchen, and the best part is it only takes one pan. I pour a glass of white wine for myself and a bit for the sauce, a blend of brown butter, shallots, a healthy amount of lemon juice and sliced lemon, and, of course, capers!”- Brad Kilgore, chef and restaurateur in Miami

“It’s a dish that can be made with very few ingredients-flour, capers, lemon, parsley, white wine, chicken stock, and butter-that everyone typically has on hand. I love adding a little piment d’Espelette or Aleppo chili pepper to the mix for a touch of heat. Make sure to get a good sear, and I’ll typically char the lemons a bit as well. Charring citrus adds this beautiful, dark sweetness. Make sure to deglaze with wine to scrape up all the tasty bits on the bottom of the pan. Add in your capers, stock, and lemon juice and reduce. Finish with parsley, butter, and maybe an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice.” Joe Vigorito, executive chef of L’Artusi in NYC

F&W Recipe: Anne Byrn’s Chicken Piccata with Artichokes and Olives

Chicken Enchiladas

“They’re easy to make, freeze well, can be reheated in the microwave. Plus, kids love it!” – Scott Linquist, executive chef of Como Como, Serena, and Coyo Taco

F&W Recipe: Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Curry

“Everyone should know how to make a basic chicken curry dish. Purchase a high-quality curry paste or powder and enhance with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and coconut milk. Add a few chili peppers for some heat, if you like it spicy.” – Paula DaSilva, executive chef of Burlock Coast at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

F&W Recipe: Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Squash

Chicken Parmesan

“One of the keys to a good chicken parmesan is a well-seasoned, crispy crust. We use homemade breadcrumbs and add both Parmigiano and pecorino cheese, as well as a blend of house-dried spices (oregano, thyme, dehydrated tomato, and garlic). We add a bit of potato starch into our crust to ensure that the chicken stays crispy, and we add cheese to the egg dredge for a dose of extra flavour. We top it with a simple sauce of San Marzano DOP tomatoes seasoned with just a little olive oil and garlic, and finish it with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh mozzarella cheese.” Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito, chefs and co-owners of Michelin-starred Don Angie in NYC

“Chicken parm is a staple that is universally liked. It’s a great dish for a weeknight supper, and our version uses bone-in whole birds, which will feed the entire family!” – Brian Landry, chef and owner of Jack Rose in New Orleans

F&W Recipe: Chicken Parmesan

This story first appeared on www.foodandwine.com

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