Double Trouble - Amazon.com made me an offer I just couldn’t refuse.
I get a lot of use out of my other Weber cookbooks, all written by Jamie Purviance. His cookbooks tend to be recipes that are simple to make, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. These new books had two new wrinkles that differentiated them from the other Weber cookbooks. First they specialized on one cut of poultry or meat only per book and secondly they promised to cover sides dishes. I am trying to cook more sides on the grill so this seemed perfect. Let me actually get the one negative out of the way up front. The section on veggies contains 20 recipes in each book and the recipes are often paired with items that have a similar cooking method, time and temperature. the problem is out of the 20 recipes, 17 of them are exactly the same recipe. I found this very, very disappointing, but the bottom line is I would have still bought the book if I knew this in advance. I mention this because there may be folks for whom the Sides, which are given equal billing on the cover, are the main attraction. For you you might want to look at the book at the bookstore and see which of the 3 differing sides appeal to you more. While the duplication of sides surprised me, one thing I was afraid of didn’t come true. I thought perhaps the chicken recipes would be assembled from other Weber cookbooks and given new home here. To the best of my recollection I don’t remember seeing these recipes in the 6 other Weber cookbooks I own.
This new to me cooking technique for paninis on the grill may be worth the price of the book by itself. A sheet pan weighed down with a brick produces a panini that looks like you used an indoor panini press.
Let’s talk about the positives, because they far outweigh the negatives. The book is a bit smaller in size than most cookbooks, measuring about 10” x 7 1/4” x 5/8”. This actually makes it easier to handle. These days I try to keep cookbooks out of the Kitchen and the recipes I make get put into Yummy Soup (see blog entry), but the smaller size was easier to handle. The chicken recipes tend to fit neatly on one page or two if there is a photograph of the recipe. The sides fit one or tow to the page. Speaking of photography I have always liked the photography in the Weber Cookbooks I’ve owned. The book has some pages in the front about fundamentals, including cooking techniques, prep, and tool used for cooking chicken. Next come the chicken recipes numbering 66 total. They are organized loosely by parts, starting with a whole chicken and moving onto various parts. Within the groupings by part there are often several types of cooking methods for each part, such as rotisserie, direct or indirect cooked. The recipes come from around the world, BBQ from the US, classic French, Moroccan, Asian, Indian, Mexican. The chicken isn’t just cooked as parts either: You get things like chicken burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken kebabs and skewers, wraps & tacos and chicken used in salads. The variety is wonderful and there is a chicken recipe(s) for every occasion. Next come the various side dishes, 20 in all, which look good other than the previously mentioned duplication with those in the Steak & Sides book. Lastly are some sections on tips for grilling chicken and veggies, a cooking chart, some techniques for prepping chicken illustrated pictorially, recipes for sauces, rubs & marinades, safety tips and of course the index.
The first recipe taught me a new technique and made one of the best paninis I’ve ever made .
I don’t have a lot of time in with this book yet, but I am very excited about the wide range of recipes found here. I was heading off to the barber shop for a hair cut yesterday and as I was leaving the mailman was coming up my driveway with an Amazon box in hand. I took the mail off his hands and brought the Chicken & Sides in with me to the barber shop to peruse while I waited my turn. I really liked what I saw and decided I would stop at the supermarket on the way home to buy what I needed to make a Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini. It was nearly lunch time when I got out of the barber shop, but this recipe was very quick to make. One of the things that appealed to me about this recipe was the technique it used to press the sandwiches. The recipe used a half sheet pan and two foil wrapped bricks to press dow on the sandwiches. Since I was cutting the recipe quantity in half I decided to use a quarter sheet pan and one brick. This technique worked like a charm: I got a nicely toasted pressed sandwich with deep grill grate depressions. It could have come off an indoor panini press. This is one of the best paninis I have made and marked a great debut for this book. I spent some time last night looking at both the chicken and steak cookbooks.
The variety in types of chicken cuts used and in recipes from around the world is very exciting. I know I am going to like these books based on the six Weber cookbooks I already own.