Posted by johngl
There are a lot of buzzwords flying around the food world these days: organic, natural, and free range are just a few of them. The sad thing is, only one of those words has any regulation behind it: Organic. Worse yet, large organic farms can be nearly as bad environmentally as any other farm.
One more thing, just because it is organically produced doesn’t mean it tastes any better. It also doesn’t mean it tastes worse. It all depends upon the producer. Some do it right, some do it because it’s the latest craze.
So, I found myself at a farmers’ market standing in front of a booth with a sign that stated: All-Natural Organic Free-Range Chickens. I bought a bird.
Before I go farther down the road toward Chickendom, I have a thing or two I need to say about us Americans. We are a very stupid and gullible lot. We fall for anything if it’s in print. Take for instance this blog. How do you know what I am telling you isn’t totally made up hogwash?
I walked into a burger place a couple of weekends ago. It advertised 100% Angus Beef in it’s burgers. Let me tell you something folks, Angus is not a grade of beef. It is a breed of cattle. Certified Angus Beef is the name of a company owned by the American Angus Association whose primary purpose is to market Angus beef. These folks are marketing geniuses.
My point is this 100% Angus Beef statement is not an indication of quality. Angus cows can be broken into grades — select, choice, and prime (among others) — just like any other breed of cow.
The burgers were meh to okay.
The fries were excellent.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had prime Angus steaks that were exceptionally good. I’ve also had some other grades of Angus that were nearly flavorless and tough. All that I ask is that you educate yourself and beware of ingenious marketing people.
Now, back to chicken. There is no grading authority for chickens. There is no such thing as select, choice, prime. You are entirely on your own in selecting your bird.
The most glorious spousal unit prepared our all-natural organic free-range yard bird in the usual manner.
She cleaned it inside and out. Dried it. Oiled it up. Seasoned it…
and stuffed aromatic herbs (sage, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, etc) into it’s…uh…hole.
I suppose I could have said something like “body cavity” but that wouldn’t have been nearly as fun.
And now that I am typing this and looking directly at that photo, I’m finding it a little gross; it might be best if you told your children to leave the room.
We also wanted some taters and onions to go with the bird:
Oiled up with olive oil and hit with some salt and pepper, this is about as easy as it gets.
Into the oven it went and about an hour later, things were looking pretty darn good. The juices ran clear, the legs and breast were properly cooked (180° and 170°, respectively — that is why it is breast side down) and the skin was nice and crispy.
I sliced off a hind quarter (leg & thigh) and plated it up with some of those potatoes and cole slaw.
I sliced off a bit of breast meat, not wanting to wait to plate it.
The breast meat was chewy. Not that rubbery thing that happens if you overcook chicken breast — this was almost fibrous…as in tough.
I think what we got was an all-natural organic free-range two-year-old-laying-hen-that-outlived-her-usefulness and not one of the young birds that are great for roasting. I mean, it was edible, but this bird was destined for the stock pot.
The chicken was meh to okay.
The potatoes were excellent.