“Think as I think,” said a man, “or you are abominably wicked; you are a toad.” And after I thought of it, I said, “I will, then, be a toad.” ― Stephen Crane
18th century poultryModern poultryAt a glance, can you notice any difference? That right there will the be the biggest difference in flavor between chickens of yore and their exceedingly heavily managed progeny now. Except in France. Where they still care about such things. And Colorado and California and similar states with farmers who do the same thing and sell their product for like, $35.00 per chicken. Try it. You can have one. Just to see. A test. Come on, you're rich. Retired. American. You deserve it. Experiment. Judge for yourself. You can cook one plainly for taste experiment, and go, "HEY! This chicken is certainly NOT worth $35.00. I could have pheasant for that or Guinea foul. And it's not even that gamey. Finally, Jacques Peppin concluded after discussing with his nieces these differences between French farm and American battery chickens, maybe it's better to have no flavor at all, where today in America you have a blank slate to apply flavors. The scant lemon juice and verjuice for mere three hours will barely impact the intense gamey flavor of true free range, bug eating, worm and maggot eating, seed eating, anything that moves and doesn't move eating type of compost eating henhouse chicken. They eat their own eggs. Left alone, they're pure radical and taste that way.One time I baked three real free range chickens at once. They were small and frozen. Each had it's own glass casserole dish to bake. They came from a health food store downtown, now closed by competition. Only weird things in there. So I tried them as experiment. They worked very well and since that store closed I haven't found anything comparable. I can report this from my long and intense chicken studies. Whole Foods and the like, place like Tony's, the chickens they sell are not actual free range like that. It's not possible on any kind of industrial scale. But their products that you can buy whole, various degrees of free range and organic feed, they all really do make superior stock. When the bones are boiled there is a LOT more chicken-y goodness. When chilled the whole batch turns to gelatin and that's a very good sign of well packed alimentation right there. Very rich broth. From one bird. That's how you can tell. The broth is actually better than the flesh. Fried chicken is my worst thing. I've seen it done many times but mine is always crap. Tough and bloody inside. Just the worst. This guy here showed us chicken tempura.
I wish I could remember it, but there was a series on ancient foods of many civilizations and how they looked and were made. Very interesting stuff.
God yes!!! The chickens we get now, in the grocery store, are giant Godzilla sized. I'm old enough to remember when a frying chicken weighed about 3 or at most 4 pounds. Now they are 9 pounds or more. That is what we used to call stewing hens. Old, tough and HUGE. The thighs and legs and breast are all giganto. Fried chicken: You can't use the old method because of the grotesque size of the chickens. I now only fry the thighs and use the rest of the chicken parts for something else. I slow fry (if that is a term) by seasoning and flouring the chicken. No batter. Just flour. The fat is half oil, half crisco or lard. Oil is about half an inch deep in the skillet. (Cast iron preferably). Fry at a hot temp on both sides just enough to crisp up and seal the outsides. About 5 minutes or so. Bone side down, skin side down. Then flip over to bone side down and turn down the heat so the thighs are simmering in the oil, not deep frying but just bubbling along hot enough so they aren't soaking in the oil. I then cook the thighs turning over about every 5 to 8 minutes (about 30 minutes total depending on the Godzilla size of the meat). Salt and pepper occasionally. THEN. when the chickens don't have any color to the juice when you stab them. Turn the heat back up to high and re crisp the skin side and bone side too. They are done all the way through. Juicy. And crispy.The crisped up bits of flour and some of the fat in the pan with the chicken juices in it make a good base for milk gravy. Pour off all but a little more than 1/4 cup, of fat and keep the crispy bits. Flour to the pan, make a roux. Salt and cracked pepper. 2 cups milk.....stir with a flat whisk until thickened..... gravy nom nom nom.I might try that marinade though for the chicken. It sounds tasty.
How about soaking the chicken in a mixture of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar overnight? That oughta flavor-up the essentially flavorless chicken available in the supermarket.
Like Chip, I have a real tough time w/ fried chicken. Regarding, Jacque Pepin, it is counter intuitive but I find Pepin one of the most practical, unpretentious and down to earth TV chefs.
ricpic, I'll try it. One of the modest successes I have w/ fried chicken is soaking it in buttermilk. DBQ looks to be a fried chicken guru. I mostly find restaurants that do it well. The best I've ever found it Stroud's in KC. I've heard Rush praise it from his KC days.
We vacationed in Colonial Williamsburg often...like about a dozen times. Watching them cook was about the most unappetizing experience you can have. Positively disgusting. I never was tempted to taste anything they were preparing. Watching that video was a nice reminder that I should be grateful not to be back in the 18th century.
Free range chickens can be delicious, but they are what they eat. If young and not allowed to peck around out door meth labs and abandoned cars leaking fluids, they are superior. Older laying hens and roosters are not going to be good for regular eating. Pretty much they are soup birds.
windbag, what disgusted you about cooking at an open fireplace? What I understand is most 18th Century cooking was sort of practical (unless you could afford a slave or servants cooking all day), often cold left overs in the morning (who wants to wait for a fire to get hot), a more substantial meal at lunch involving roast meats and veggies, lots of ale and cider, often stews and soups because they involved one pot and could simmer and be ready at night.
ripic, soaking chicken in acid like that over night would partially "cook" it like cerveche. You could cook it then. I would not eat it raw, but I know in polyanesia and micronesia, they cook the chicken, chop it into cubes and then soak it in lemon juice with coconut shaving, onions, shallots, hot peppers, salt, and the result is delicious.
We have some great cooks here, Evi is in the upper echelon.
Evi, it wasn't cooking over an open fire; I've done enough camping and open fire cooking myself. It was the preparation in the kitchen that was disgusting. Flies and bugs everywhere. Food set out in the open for far too long. 18th century cooks would have been oblivious to the filth and potential for food poisoning. The kitchen set up was not one for efficiency or cleanliness.
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