Chicken breasts have long been considered the healthiest part of the bird, but top chefs favour the flavour of dark meat. (RECIPES)
WHAT THE PROS KNOW | Why it took so long, I’ll never know, but North Americans are beginning to wean themselves from the breast—the chicken breast, that is. “The dark, tender meat of the chicken thigh is the most flavorful part of the bird,” writes Nate Appleman in his cookbook A16 Food + Wine, the International Association of Culinary Professionals cookbook of the year in 2008. To prove it, he includes THIS AWESOME RECIPE for Chicken Meatballs with Peperonata.
International superstar chef Daniel Boulud (who once set up shop in Vancouver) gave chicken thighs two thumbs up this past winter when he used them in THIS GREAT RECIPE for Chicken Lasagna, which appeared in Elle Décor.
Neither of these chefs would ever stint on ingredients or sacrifice quality because of cost. Both cook with chicken thighs not because they are always cheaper than breasts but because they taste better than breasts. Simple as that.
But here a small voice interjects, “But what about health? Aren’t chicken breasts a whole lot better for you?”
In The War Room: Chicken Thighs vs Chicken Breasts
Here’s the 411 on breasts and thighs from 811, the toll free number you can use in B.C. to have a registered dietitian answer your questions about healthy eating, food or nutrition.
Nutrition Facts—When our “Dial-A-Dietitian” compared a 75-gram serving (2 1/2 oz) of roasted skinless chicken breast with the same size portion of chicken thigh, she discovered that the breast had 110 calories, 24.5 grams protein, 0.42 ml iron and 1.5 grams of fat. The thigh had 125 calories, 20.53 grams of protein, 1 ml iron and 5 grams of fat.
Diet Considerations—Unless you’re on a seriously restricted diet, the 15 extra calories in the thigh are negligible, she told me. And while the fat difference between the two pieces is significant (13 percent of the calories coming from fat for the breast, 36 percent for the thigh), chicken thigh is still considered lean meat. “The difference between breasts and thighs isn’t what’s going to make or break our diet [unless, of course, we already consume too much saturated fat], what does that is usually sweets an treats.” —C. Rule
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