We’ve recently been talking quite a bit about herbs and spices on Silke in conjunction with our little series of tips, and we thought it might be a good idea to very briefly cover some of the stuff herbs and spices are usually mixed with; the ever popular meat. Chances are high you lovely people don’t need either a kitchen site nor a celebrity chef to know what these meats are at face value, so we’re going to give you a little bit of advanced knowledge, and the kind of things these cuts are usually paired up with.
Chicken is easily the most popular form of poultry, and probably the most popular of the white meats; it’s such a popular meat, that there are Babylonian carvings from 600 BC that show consumption of the poor clueless birds; this is, in no small part, due to the flexibility in the ways it can be prepared, what it will go with, and how the different parts of the bird- the breast, thighs, legs and wings- work in those differing combinations.
Roasting is the classic method, either whole in parts and usually served alongside onion and sage stuffing, but grilled and fried variants have gained popularity since the middle of the 20th century, with one of the most popular fast food outlets in the world specialising in the latter. Your choices are practically endless with chicken and you’re bound to pick something that pleases, just be sure to use a non-porous work surface! We can vouch specifically for how well chicken works in the various Asian cuisines; your curries, your ramens, and so on and so forth; the light-but-salty flavour blends very well with dishes that have bitter notes or an abundance of spices in them.
Meat is Beef is Meat
Beef is another popular form of meat and, much like chicken, some of this is down to the variety of cuts of Beef you can get,with each one flavouring different styles of cooking; perhaps the one most of us think of is the traditional Roast Beef cut, but beef has also become a popular cold cut choice for sandwiches, beef short-ribs have popped up frequently alongside pork ribs, and the bones from beef cuts are frequently used to make stocks or soups. Though maybe not quite as versatile as chicken flavour ways, in park due to the strong savoury flavour (and strong texture) beef is known for, it’s still found flavour as a popular BBQ meat, often paired with a sweet yet spicy sauce, is very often ground down into mince and used in many Italian or Mexican dishes (Lasagne and Tacos being the most triumphant examples) and has even found its way into some eclectic cuisine, such as the classic Surf ‘n Turf combo popular along the west coast, where it is paired alongside prawns or shrimp.
Pork is a bit of a misleading term, as it both refers to both all cuts of meat that can be taken from a pig, and a specific cut of meat. Further marking the confusion is that, whilst arguably Dark Meat and White Meat chicken have different flavour intensity, and arguably the differing cuts of Beef have subtle differences in flavour, many cuts from the big have quite obvious flavour differences; Ham, in either roast or cold cult form, tastes very different from Gammon, the latter of which has an incredibly powerful salt taste.
This generally means the differing cuts are used for very different things; the legs, which is the primary source for Ham, are generally used for Roasts, the ribs are usually considered a BBQ or bar food staple, Gammon is typically eaten with chips or potatoes, and Bacon is considered a breakfast staple, but is perhaps the most wildly used cut of Pork in terms of what it’s paired with, seeing use as a topping or additional ingredient in sandwiches, burgers, or atop pizzas. Any celebrity chef on the up and up will also make do to note that Bacon is a name used for two different cuts of meat; in Britain, Bacon generally refers to meat cut from the Loin or Back, whereas in the United States, Bacon is cut from the belly; they have fairly similar flavours, however.
As with our previous articles of this nature, we are aiming largely to give you some inspiration to try different things out with your various cuts of meat; what works for one may not work for the other, and vice versa, and perhaps the greatest joy of working in a kitchen is getting to play around with the ingredients at your disposal.