Searing Proteins vs Breaking Down Chicken - Which is more Fundamental?

bakedbeans18

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Hi cookingbites.Just wondering what y'all think is a more fundamental/important skill for cooks to have. Being able to break down a chicken (both raw and cooked versions), or knowing how to sear proteins to get good browning on them. Trying to teach a buddy how to cook, and thinking of what a bette rlesson would be.

Any input would be greatly appreciated, Thanks in advance.
 

garlichead

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Why not just make it one cooking lesson. Breaking down a chicken is pretty easy and basic but you still haven't cooked anything. Understanding heat and it's effect on your equipment or how different fats are effected by heat and different proteins require different temps and understanding doneness is the more important lesson to be learned. Good for you to help a friend feed themselves.
 

caseydog

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I agree with garlichead, and would add that your friend can start with already broken down chicken. You are not going to be able to eat any chicken until you cook it, so the searing and cooking is more important.

When I am helping a noob learn to cook, I usually do a simple dish, start to finish. They get the reward of eating what they cooked, and realizing it was not that hard to do.

Perhaps de-bone a chicken thigh, sear it and finish it in the oven, and make a tasty chicken sandwich. Very low stress.

CD
 

Morning Glory

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In fact, you don't have to sear proteins. It depends on the dish. If a chicken or piece of chicken is roasted then you wouldn't sear it first. Similarly, you can add raw meat to a curry sauce and cook it through without searing it first. Or you can marinate meat and then add it raw to sauces to cook through or roast it.

This dish uses marinating and cooking in a sauce without searing: Recipe Lamb cooked in yoghurt and turmeric.
 

garlichead

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In fact, you don't have to sear proteins. It depends on the dish. If a chicken or piece of chicken is roasted then you wouldn't sear it first. Similarly, you can add raw meat to a curry sauce and cook it through without searing it first. Or you can marinate meat and then add it raw to sauces to cook through or roast it.

This dish uses marinating and cooking in a sauce without searing: Recipe Lamb cooked in yoghurt and turmeric.
Cooking methods are key to understanding. Roasting, braising, poaching, searing, boiling, deep frying, baking and steaming are the basics all cooks should try and understand intimately.
 
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TastyReuben

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Given those two choices, I'd start with searing.

Why? It's simple. It offers immediate results. It's also easy to get chicken pieces, so there's no real need to immediately know how to break down a chicken.

That builds confidence early on, and then, using that as a starting point, it's easy to move on to more complex things: "Remember that chicken breast we pan-seared? Well, here's where it comes from..."

I've taught guitar to students over the years, and I always follow the method of immediately finding out a song they want to play, and the first few lessons, I teach to the song. It gives them a quick goal, something that will pay off fairly early, it keeps them interested and it gives them confidence early on, which is crucial. I see this as the same thing. Quick instruction, simple method, and we're eating. Now I'm interested.

Good luck and good on you for helping someone out. :okay:
 

NailBat

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Opinions my vary, but I'm completely terrible at breaking down chickens, but I can sear just fine so I'll cast my vote for that!

Searing, I'd say, is one of the fundamental building blocks of flavor. You can get so much flavor out of meat with just oil and salt as long as you get a good sear on it, even before adding any other spices or flavorings. Learning how to properly sear will teach temperature control, knowing your pans, knowing how heat moves through food. Plus, if you do it right you're rewarded with a fond, which leads into learning about deglazing and pan sauces.
 
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