Monday, September 17, 2007

Attack of Chickenzilla

The title may sound scary and the size of this bird was frightening, but Chickenzilla was easily the best chicken I have ever had. Three of three family members agree, including our child who was munching a leg in one hand and crispy bits of skin in the other, all the while calling for "More!"

Based on our great success in sourcing local beef, we decided to look for local poultry as well. I had met a farmer who had both chicken and lamb, and he sold me some of his chickens to "try." I meet him, he has two ginormous birds, two smaller ones and a pack of lamb shanks. He asks me for ten bucks. I tried to force forty on him. He met me at twenty.

"You're nuts," I said. "This is a hundred bucks worth of meat at Whole Foods."

He smiled. And just handed over the bag. He's won us over for good.

You see, the natural meats, even at Whole Foods, are not pastured chickens. They are cage free, meaning they have some access to outdoors, but not true pastured chicken. That natural diet of grasses and bugs supplemented with organic grains. For the first time chicken didn't have an indistinct flavor that could be any tasteless meat. Chicken really does taste like chicken. And, I tell you, it's not what you've been eating all these years. Wow.

Here's the menu for our feast:

Apple-sage Roasted Chickenzilla

Honey-Sage Sweet Potatoes with Shallots

Looking for these recipes? They will be part of an upcoming book with Ali at The Cleaner Plate Club.

Dessert? No, we just had chicken skin for dessert. It was that good. The only problem now, I muttered to my spouse over a bite of chicken, is that we can't ever get chicken out again. We're ruined. Sad, but so true.


jen said...

what's all that hair on top? thyme? looks crispy delicious.

Matt said...

I pay about $2.75 a pound for free range, pastured birds in my neck of the woods. They are worth every penny.

Her Grace said...

I can't find a local beef supplier, but pastured chicken we have...and oh, so tasty! Beef I can do without, but if we could find a source for pork (mainly for bacon!) and turkey, I'd be so happy.

I love your herb roasted chicken, I'm going to have to try this one!

The Expatriate Chef said...

The "hair" is rosemary. :)

Thanks, Grace, I like the crispy skin and balsamic with sage for fall. I just ordered my Thanksgiving turkey fresh, pastured, and to be picked up a couple days before Thanksgiving. it will likely get the same kind of rub as this chicken did. Ah, food!

frugalmom said...

Yep, the chickens are way good. i will never go back to the grocery store kind...I have to get stocked up on chickens to last thru the winter!

Corey~living and loving said...

looks yummy! Was it defeathered already or did you have to do that. That job stinks!

The Expatriate Chef said...

Fortunately, chickenzilla came wrapped and frozen. You've just given me a bad flashback to when I was a kid and we decided to do our own chicken butchering ... oh, not pretty. Especially when both your siblings are pre-med and like to gross you out.

Nate said...

Looks amazing! 10 bucks? Damn! You're right, whole foods would make it $100. Heck, our farmer's markets charge like $5 a pound for whole birds.

As for 180º - it's not really necessary, salmonella dies if kept at 160º for 7 seconds, and since the temperature of the coldest spots in the chicken will continue to rise slightly after removal from the oven, it's pretty safe just to remove at 160. It makes for a juicier bird, in my experience.

Max mickle said...

Last summer I ate them at a party and has been looking for an authentic recipe ever since. I made this for dinner last night, and it was so good! Even my meat-loving husband liked it. thank you for shearing your post.