Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Is This Chicken Flipping Me the Bird?

Our beloved, local meat and eggs ranch, Marin Sun Farms, has only been selling chickens for a couple of years. I think I might have bought one of the very first ones that came to market, and I remember it being a very tender bird. Too tender, almost.
It wasn't until I was enjoying a much undeserved feast of Anita and Cameron's fried chicken this past Sunday that I learned Marin Sun Farms uses water processing on its chickens, resulting in... possibly... soggy... flesh.
Oh! The fried chicken was so, SO not soggy. It was a version of Michael Procopio's double-battered fried chicky, all seasoned up with salt and pepper and onion and buttermilk. Crispy, tasty, substantial. And I say undeserved, because Cranky and I invited our pals to join us for a picnic, and then we "let" them bring the food. Hah! (Their cake was really good, too.) I mean, jeez, talk about "Stone Soup."
Now, honestly, Cranky and I did provide a few snacks, and a pretty good time was had by all, up there in the pastorally cow-manure-and-Canada-goose-poop-scented grounds of Marin French Cheese Company (where they've been plying their trade since 1865!).
But I'm glad to have learned this about Marin Sun Farm's chicken. Because a couple of days ago, we roasted one, stuffed with a pierced lemon off our tree, as well as a tangled handful of backyard herbs, onion tops, and more herbs.
For years I have stuffed a lemon inside chickens for roasting. Well! Just the other day I read some wise blogger's observation that a juicy ol' lemon is likely to disrupt the moisture balance inside your bird, especially if it tends toward juicy already.
Jeez. And I thought I knew what I was doing in the kitchen.
Which is why this chicken is flipping me the bird.
But I got revenge.
After we dined on the soft meat, we simmered up a pot of fabulous chicken stock, seasoned with all those delicious herbs that were stuffed inside the bird.
We took the lemon out first.


Anita said...

to be fair, nearly every chicken is processed with (lots of) water. But because you have to eat a farm-processed chicken very quickly -- MSF says no later than Monday/Tuesday if purchased Saturday, I believe -- there's little time for the water to make its way back out. To me, it's worth the tradeoff to get pastured birds and chemical-free processing.

Our trick is to salt the bird when we get it home, then put it (uncovered) on a rack over a rimmed cookie sheet in the fridge, at least overnight. this dries out the skin and also gives the meat a little boost of flavor.

I can take no credit for the glory of the fried chicken -- Michael P. is da man. Or I guess Mrs Webb is da man. (Gosh, she probably would be scandalized to hear us say that about her.)

And you are far too modest. The rillettes and curried eggs and everything else you brought to the picnic were just stupendously delish.

Greg said...

I think the bird is flapping you off :)

cook eat FRET said...

it was me it was me it was meeeeeeeeeee....

(do you think i got enough attention as a child?)

cookiecrumb said...

Anita: Hm. Stuff I didn't know. I was aware you had salted your MSF chicken before frying, but it has somehow not occurred to me to salt the entire hen before roasting, even though I often did that before MSF was invented... (think Zuni chicken). Eep!
We did have a great meal; thanks for being our dining (and feeding) companions.

Greg: Have you seen what those wild turkeys do??

ceF: Nuts!!! Double, big fat wacky nuts!!! You'll love this, though: I checked Heather at Voodoolily to see if it was her. Not you. But, see. I "conflate" you two, and I'd love to be conflated with ya both.
Huge props to Claudia, y'all. xxxx

Rev. Biggles said...

OoOoOo, hang chicken in front of large fan. And no, you don't count as a large fan, I mean the electric bladed kinds.


kudzu said...

I respect Marcella Hazan and she puts two whole lemons (poked so they have little holes -- use a toothpick)inside a chicken, then fastens it shut, as it were (I use toothpicks for that, too) to keep them sealed up. This produces an incredibly juicy chicken. I'm no food scientist but I'm a chicken eater from way back and know when it's damned good.

Stacie said...

yeah, I gotta cut that part off before I cook it for the same reason. I don't like my dinner getting all flippy with me.

dancingmorganmouse said...

You know, if you took some of that chicken stock and cooked some of those wheat berries in it, I'll bet that would taste the bomb (with a little butter, of course).

Anna Haight said...

oh it's enough to have me take a holiday from veggie cuisine. And it's so NOT processed the way I've been reading in 'The End of Food' so far..

I got really brave today and bought a package of green onions seeds...oh my!

Michael Procopio said...

Thanks for the props, but it's all about Mrs. Webb and her son Todd, wherever he is now.

Loved the post!


Heather said...

Well you can still use lemon rind or zest, can'tcha?

The bird is waving you to come closer. Good fried chicken is what got me off a ten-year kick of vegetarianism.

ilex said...

That is one cheeky bird. Cheeky and DEE-lish.

Dang, but now I REALLY can't wait for my farmer's-market-egg-farmer to start selling his birds. Soon... soon...

Sam said...

Errr. Are you me? I did exactly the same thing. I roasted my Marin sun far bird with herb and lemon then made stock without the lemon. Then I went one step further and made soup. If you don't believe me and think I am just saying it to copy you, you can always check my twitter history.

Why are we always thinking about and doing the same things at the same times?

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles: Outside of the fridge? It seems so... E. coli, y'know? But yes, you want to dry off the skin, and maybe even the meat just a bit.
Love, yer biggest fan.

Kudzu: Wow, two lemons. I think we can work this out. Some salting, some drying, some lemons. Yum.
BTW, I use safety pins to close a chicken. How gross!

Stacie: Flippy, flappy... Darn birds. Your solution is good.

Ms. Mouse: I'm DYING for some chick-stock-cooked wheat berries; thank you for the suggestion. Da bombs. Butter.

Anna: Don't cheat! It sounds like your regimen has been good for you. Plus... Planting seeds on your minuscule deck? Applause!!

Michael: Howdy! My new blog-to-read (just added you to my RSS feed).
Ev'body else -- Michael writes really, really well. I like that.

Heather: That's an idea!!!
I haven't heard of ditching vegetarianism for fried chicken; I always thought it was bacon. :D

Ilex: Your farmer really ought to be raising both meat birds and egg birds. I can't wait for you to try one; yum.

Sam: Great minds, eh? Cranky made the soup yesterday from some chicken stock. Check it out: Morels, shallots, handmade (but not homemade) pasta, and sour cream, plus stock. Ohmygod.

noble pig said...

Well it all sounds like a lovely bird to me!

I love the Marin market...sigh.

Michael Procopio said...

You are very, very kind. I've just added you to my blogroll.

Thanks again.

Kevin said...

(Sarcastic)Thanks. I've had fried chicken on my mind for the past two or three days and today is farmers' market day so thanks to you now I'll just have to drive all the way in to the market even though there are no veggies available yet.{sigh}