Chef Tim Says...

Salad in a Jar Construction Kit 08/03/20
Cooking: the real aromatherapy 05/18/20
Get Started Cooking with Stews 01/09/20
Paella 07/16/18
How to make your own shrimp stock 10/09/17
All "Chef Tim Says..." Columns

Dr. Tim Says...

Not So Magic Rice 04/09/18
Leaky Gut Syndrome Quackery 10/02/17
4 ways to protect your brain with diet 07/18/17
Chicken skin: to eat, or not to eat 06/19/17
Change is here 06/12/17
Medical technology 03/27/17
All "Dr. Tim Says..." Columns


Dr. Tim Says....

Chicken skin: to eat, or not to eat

Peruvian Chicken recipe from Dr. Gourmet

Roast chicken recipes beg the question: skinless or not?

For years we have been told to not eat the chicken skin. It is one of the foundational pieces of advice when people are taught about eating healthy.

I think that this is bad advice. Not because I want you to eat more calories or more saturated fat - I would prefer just the opposite - but eating healthy and eating well is about striking a balance between just that: eating well and eating healthy. And sometimes you want to have a piece of chicken with the skin on. Yes, there are a lot of recipes on the Dr. Gourmet website that call for skinless chicken thighs or breasts. But not all of them.

For years we told people to not eat eggs because they contain high amounts of cholesterol. While this was well intentioned advice, the science now tells us that eggs in moderation are actually a pretty good choice. What is moderation? In the case of eggs, it works out to no more than about 6 per week. Getting past that number and the health risks kick in. That is, however, the same for almost anything. The skin adds about 60 calories, most of it in fat, to a 3 1/2 ounce serving of chicken breast. That's not a tremendous amount unless you do that every day.

In my opinion it is not chicken skin that is the culprit, it is the balance between most of the time having the healthier option of skinless chicken breasts with the occasional roast chicken dinner, skin and all. There is a third alternative to the skin or no-skin debate. Roast your chicken with the skin on, bit don't eat the skin. Testing shows that this technique gives you a moister, juicier chicken, but with the same calories as if you roasted the chicken without the skin.

This Peruvian Chicken recipe calls for roasting the chicken in the oven, but it can be slow roasted on the grill outdoors for even more flavor. Move the chicken away from the hot coals and keep the lid on the grill with the temperature in the same 325°F range.

The chicken itself has bags and bags of flavor on its own. The combination of the simple spices is great, but the soy sauce really brings out an umami punch. Peru might be the first country to have fusion food without reason of fashion. There has long been a large Japanese population and many Asian ingredients have made their way into Peruvian recipes. The main example of this is Nikkei, the name for the sushi that combines Japanese and South American flavors.

As for flavor, the rub for the chicken is best if you use smoked paprika. The combination of the soy and smoke really make the chicken shine. Secondly, if you don't like your food too spicy, cut back on the number of jalapeno peppers. There is still some heat, but the green sauce will be mellower and still a great complement to the chicken.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet