Monday, June 19, 2006

The Chicken that Came Right After the Egg

We roasted a Marin Sun Farms free-range hen yesterday. It was sold as a three-and-a-half-pound bird, though it looked smaller to me. I'm not complaining; I want to give these people my business.
Before cooking it, we borrowed an idea from the wacky and inventive chefs at Ideas in Food, and brined the chicken in juice from home-cured green olives. It was only in the brine for about six hours, so I'm not sure what effect, if any, resulted. I can tell you that the brine on its own tasted mildly salty and rich with the mellow lactic acid that occurs naturally in fermentation.
Maybe the brine had a tenderizing effect on the meat; I don't know, because this was the first MSF chicken I've tried. But oh, mama, was that a tender chicken.
It was like kiddie porn. The thigh meat hadn't even managed to turn dark. It was juicy, coy, tender enough to cut with a fork.
I half expected we were going to be getting a tough old bird: stringy and tasting like a barnyard. So the texture was a really pleasant surprise.
But the flavor of the meat was a few gizzards short of chicken. Nice enough, but not noticeably farmy.
Marin Sun Farms is new at this venture; yesterday's hen came from only their second wave of birds to reach the market.
I'll give them a little time. I'd really like a much tastier chicken.
But if I'm ever in the mood for some baby-soft poultry, I know where to go.


michelle said...

I love the "kiddie porn" allusion - thigh meat hadn't even turned dark - shame on you! You made me blush, Cookie! The idea of brining it in olive brine sounds really interesting - I can't wait to see what the next bird yields for you.

BTW - great post on the 5 senses of cooking - what a wonderful read.

Sandra Khoo said...

HEyas Cookie,I just started a food blog and hope its alrite if I add your site to my link.

Really appreciate it,thanx!

cookiecrumb said...

Very khool, Sandra. I'm pleased to be in the company of the bloggers you've picked.

Michelle: Well, thanks for noticing my favorite line! ;)

kudzu said...

Well, mine was "a few gizzrds short of chicken". Would be nice if chickens had more than one for people who like gizzards. It's the only organ of the bird I like, and then only fried when it is more like a flavorful rubber toy for a miniature pooch (Beansprout?). I was considered quite odd by everyone in my family for choosing it, along with wings and thighs, when I wsa a kid.

Thank the brining for the tenderness, though maybe the MSF chickens are naturally that way. Will have to try to olive brine trick.

drbiggles said...

HmmMmM, I dunno. If the chicken is a good chicken, you shouldn't need to brine it. While it can tend to enhance, I find it changes what flavors the little dear has to offer. I believe brining is a personal choice. Some people are ga ga over it and I can get excellent results without it. And if I don't believe I can? Wrap the sucker in bacon.

Of course this spew is nothing new to you though, eh?


cookiecrumb said...

Yeah, you two: I probably should have tried my first MSF chicken in its natural state. Jes' foolin' around, I guess, and now I've gone and used up all my olive brine.
Made for some nice chicken sammiches at lunch today, though.
(I've got to try Taylor's new bacon...)

drbiggles said...


Oh man, the bacon is good. I picked up some of Ted's new bacon on Saturday. I forgot to ask what type of piggy it came from, but it's cured and smoked by Angelo up in Petaluma somewheres. It looks very good.
Eat bacon.

cookiecrumb said...

OK, I just talked Cranky into an early ferry ride to SFFP Saturday. Too bad you don't shop in Tha Citay, I'd love a hug.
(PS: We have frozen Black Sheep bacon in the -- duh -- freezer, but I'm up for this NOW.)

drbiggles said...

Yeah, I need to visit the city's FP market some morning soon. Taylor hasn't been to Berkeley in mumfs.

Oh, guess what I found this morning? In back to the side of the barn? In the hay? A ripe plum! Our neighbor's tree is sending forth fruit!


cookiecrumb said...

That plum belongs to you! Did it fall off and drop onto a hay bale? Cute.

drbiggles said...

YES, which is why I saw it. Laying on fresh hay. DOH !! Krikee. I should have taken a picture of it. Ah well, there's always tomorrow.