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Ideation: Poultry in Motion

Chefs flock to chicken, turkey and other birds for inventive, crowd-pleasing dishes.

Oven Roasted Chicken with barley, napa cabbage, curry-mustard jus roti

At Sola, an American bistro in Chicago, chef-owner Carol Wallack cooks contemporary cuisine with Asian and Hawaiian accents. Here, the former L.A. surfer gal brings Pacific Island flair to a crisp, golden chicken breast plated with a bold curry-mustard sauce. It goes for $16 on Sola’s dinner menu.

Smoked Jerk Turkey Thighs with banana ketchup

Susan Goss, chef-partner in Chicago’s West Town Tavern, likes the way turkey thigh meat stands up to assertive seasonings. Here, she brines and smokes the thighs, then finishes them off on the grill, brushed with a zesty jerk sauce. The finishing touch is a sweet-hot condiment made with sauteed bananas, citrus juices and lots of spice.

Mandarin Minced Squab

Squab, a young pigeon, has been bred for centuries in China, but now is raised commercially in California. The meat is richer and moister than chicken but just as versatile. At the Mandarin Restaurant in San Francisco, the kitchen chops and marinates the boneless squab, then stir-fries and serves it Chinese-style in lettuce leaves sprinkled with crushed rice noodles.

Chicken with Almond-Pomegranate Sauce

Mediterranean is the focus at San Francisco’s Medjool restaurant and this “Medjool family recipe” is one of the menu’s signature tapas. Boneless chicken is dusted with distinctive seasonings, then napped with a thick, almond-pomegranate sauce to create a rich, complex dish that embodies Mediterranean flavor.

Chicken Club Quesadilla

Daniel Barash, senior director of operations and product development for Moe’s Southwest Grill, specs a mild citrus marinade for the chicken breast that goes into his fajitas, burritos, tacos and nachos. “We attract a lot of kids and don’t want it too spicy,” he says. New on the menu, this quesadilla is a hearty combo of chicken, bacon, cheese, beans and tomatoes.

Chicken Paillard with truffle vinaigrette and shaved mushrooms

Outside Bottega’s door in Birmingham, Alabama, grow edible flowers and herbs the kitchen staff harvests. “It doesn’t matter how simple the dish, if you use great, seasonal ingredients it’s a winner,” says chef-owner Frank Stitt. For this best seller, sauteed breast cutlets are topped with arugula, Parmesan shavings and a light mushroom sauce.

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