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The Cook's Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry Hardcover – July 27, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Cook's Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry is, bar none, the Great Mother Hen of all poultry cookbooks. If it is incomplete in any way, it is only that the editors have not included poultry recipes from absolutely every culture in the world familiar with the birds. But with this book tucked under your wing, you can check out poultry recipes in cookbooks from all corners of the globe and know exactly how to get the results you want. Thanks to the Cook's Illustrated magazine test kitchen, all possible contingencies have been exhaustively covered.

There are 38 chapters in this book, starting with a guide to buying poultry (the more expensive birds are better than their commercial sisters) and ending with a note on smoking. You won't even get to Chicken Salad until chapter 23. You will find nearly 500 recipes, the perfect roast turkey among them. There are 300 pen-and-ink illustrations demonstrating everything from carving a bird to getting the pit out of a mango. Want to know which is the best canned chicken stock? The best countertop deep fryer? The best roasting rack? The best way to sauté chicken cutlets? It's all in here, in meticulous detail. That stir-fry that has always given you trouble? It's a thing of the past. Always felt intimidated by duck? Forget about it.

Plan on getting lost in The Cook's Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry once you open the cover. You will surface only long enough to go to the grocery store. Your life will never be the same. It's that kind of book. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

For the moment at least, this is the definitive collection of nearly 500 recipes for cooking chicken, turkey, pheasant, Cornish hens and other birds in a broad variety of ways. While introductory remarks to the 38 chapters (on Fried Chicken, Grilled Chicken Kebabs, Roasted Goose, etc.) echo the somewhat pedantic style of Cook's Illustrated magazine by recounting details of rigorous recipe testing, the recipes are consistent models of clarity and promise meals so boldly flavored that it's difficult to restrain oneself from grabbing a bird to cook. Dishes such as Spinach, Tomato, and Chicken Pot Pie with Parmesan Biscuit Topping and Saut?ed Chicken Cutlets with Rice Wine and Szechwan Peppercorn Sauce exemplify the savory offerings, but also included are such homier dishes as Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls and Stuffed Roast Turkey with Giblet Pan Gravy. Accompanying the recipes are a cornucopia of tips resulting from the editors' extensive testing, including advice on brining a bird before cooking and using a large skillet for stir-frying rather than a stove-top wok because it heats better across the cooking surface. As the title says, this is about as complete as one cookbook can be. Some 300 drawings demonstrate preparation and cooking techniques. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (July 27, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 060960063X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609600634
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid cook and, while I no longer subscribe to "Cooks Illustrated" magazine, I respect editor Christopher Kimball and his expert "Cook's Illustrated" kitchen crew and have had good luck, more or less, with their recipes which, if followed exactly, are virtually foolproof. I also never fail to learn something from their informative kitchen commentary. All in all, Kimball's recipes and advice are beneficial to both novice and experienced cooks.
That having been I have to point out that taste is, of course, subjective. For instance, I've found, from trying a number of Kimball's recipes, that he is a salt-a-holic. I prefer to cook with little or no salt, as I find the taste harsh and unpleasant, and if I followed Kimbell's recipes exactly I'd be drowning in the stuff. I prefer pepper and tend to double or triple the often meager amounts Kimbell calls for in his recipes (usually he calls for four or fives times more salt than pepper, and I almost reverse that ratio). But, if your taste is the same as Kimball's when it comes to a particular food, his well-researched and thoroughly-tested recipes will be amazing! (In this particular cookbook he endlessly recommends "brining" chicken before cooking, which means soaking it in salt water. This is something my grandmother has done for years, but with vinegar and water, instead of salt. I still prefer the latter method and use either apple cider or white vinegar--half water, half vinegar--with great success and no salty after taste.
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Format: Hardcover
Ever get tired of chicken? This book will certainly liven up your standard chicken recipes. I didn't know there were so many ways to prepare chicken. This book has recipes that are clearly written, illustrations, and has the reasons behind why you do things. I have used several recipes from this book, and they have been fantastic. In fact I didn't know broiled chicken could taste so good. They have a marinade recipe in here that bets everything that I have ever tried hands down. So if you cook a lot of chicken, and need some new recipes to liven up your dinners this is the book to get.
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By Cissa on January 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of my go-to cookbooks, even after 13 years.

The approach to cooking goose would make it worthwhile, even if it had nothing else. Many recipes have goose cooked quickly at high temperatures; while that can make a lovely goose, it also completely trashes one's oven so that it needs an immediate cleaning, AND burns all the lovely fat that the goose renders. This book's approach has us cook it low and slow- more like a beef roast than a bird- and finishes it with some high heat to crisp the skin after the fat's been rendered and the bird is done. Since I tend to buy somewhat larger geese, I also increase the cooking time by at least an hour. I have not made the stuffings (I have a special fruit and nut one with no bread that I use instead), but the recipes for stock and for gravy are superb (though a bit scanty).

Since it is over 10 years old, it does not cover turkey-roasting techniques such as dry-brining. However, its basic recipe approach to the Thanksgiving bird is excellent, and one can easily add more newfangled variations. I love that I can get the gravy made several days ahead of time! And there are many excellent recipes for the leftover turkey; one of our favorites is a simple, spicy sandwich.

The recipe for cooking duck breasts rare is also fabulous, and very handy if one has bought a couple of ducks mostly to confit the legs; this is something lovely to do with the breasts, possibly for a "duck 2 ways" sort of thing.

But- there's also many recipes for chicken! Whole and pieces! and everything from the simple and easy to more elaborate. I've tried a number of them and been very happy, but thus far have not had any single one stand out so we eat it again and again; it's more about the variety.

The only real flaw is that many CI books have: the binding isn't very good, and cracks quickly. The recipes make it worth it, though.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
Last week me and my boyfriend made the basic roast turkey recipe and it was the best turkey I ever tasted. The skin is cooked crispy but not burned. The meat, even the white meat is juicy and tender, and the gravy compliments the bird so well you'll want to make turkey every week. Some may be discouraged that you need to soak the turkey for 12 hours beforehand, but believe me, the end result is worth it.
This book is worth buying just for the praise you would get on holidays from making this recipe.
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By A Customer on January 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Almost every recipe I've tried from this book has been marvelous. I do, however, have a BIG problem with the curry recipes. As any good Indian cook knows, it is essential to fry the spices before adding the liquid. You can't, as this book says, add the liquid and the spices to the oil at the same time and expect the spices and oil to "separate" from the liquid. The spices are more likely to blend with the liquid, not the oil, and not fry at all. This makes for an unpleasant curry. I have to wonder how well-tested the curry recipes were.
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