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Best recipe for heritage chicken

I've been raising a French breed of meat chicken for market. On Sunday, the processor comes and instead of feeding these birds, at long last they will feed me and my customers. I'd like to include a recipe that ensures that the chickens taste as good as possible not to mention enjoy it myself. I've read that these chickens should be cooked a bit longer and at lower heat than supermarket chickens but don't know the details. Can anyone help me out with a terrific recipe?

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  1. I know several people who raise and process their own meat birds, and all of them let them rest about 24-36 hours after processing before either freezing or eating. This way the chicken comes out of rigor mortis so it's more tender. A few of them swear by brining and roasting to get the full flavor.

    11 Replies
    1. re: twj

      Thanks for this tip. I probably would have tossed them right in the freezer. Resting in a cooler or refrigerator I assume.

            1. re: susanl143

              Oh, wow!!! What area are you in?
              For such a prime aged bird any style should be delicious. Especially a simple one like Marcella Hazan's Pollo Arrosto in Tegame (Pan Roasted Chicken). This recipe is a basic; it is in her book, "The Classic Italian Cook Book" It uses Garlic, Fresh Rosemary, White Wine, a little butter, etc.

              What weight do you think your birds will finish out at dressed?

              1. re: ospreycove

                I'm in Southern New Hampshire. The chickens should dress out to 6-9 pounds. Yeah, I know that is big but if these guys ever got full grown, I think they'd be the size of turkeys. They are definitely not your supermarket breed of chicken. Those chickens -- Cornish X's -- would die of their legs collapsing if they got this big. In fact, you don't dare have them live as long as ten weeks. These Beaucoup chickens have strong legs and run well. If I don't collect those who successfully hide from me today and the predators don't get them, they would lay eggs and raise chicks.

                1. re: susanl143

                  At 6lbs+ they would be great as a slow roasted oven bird. Since I live in Fl. I have to pass on buying some from you; good luck on the "round Up".
                  I have had a few "Blue Foot" French chickens they are also a nice textured bird, if left to use their muscles.

                  1. re: susanl143

                    I want one . . . Seriously, how can any 'hound read this discussion and not feel a little envy??

                    1. re: MGZ

                      Perhaps it will make you feel a bit better to know that they will cost $6.99 lb. I hate having to charge so much, although it is the bottom of the price range for heritage chickens, but at that price I still may not actually have a profit. Part of the profit picture will be how many chickens I actually have. I bought a hundred chicks, 107 were shipped to me, and may have 101 grown chickens, or maybe not. They don't stand still for counting and with hiding under my decks, and the crowing I hear from far down the hillside may or may not be an escapee of mine.

                      To make you feel a bit worse for living too far away to get one of these, this breed is supposed to taste like the famous Bresse chickens of France.

                      1. re: susanl143

                        I do not begrudge a grower, his/her price. The taste and texture of a true "backyard" bird is, in my opinion, nothing like the poor production line devils that we are bombarded with every day. Your birds are something special, a true "Sunday Dinner", special occasion, treat.
                        By the way I have paid, (hate to admit it) $69.00, plus overnight shipping, for a 12 week old Blue foot, U.S. cousin of the true French Bresse.

                        1. re: susanl143

                          No Ma'am, I feel no better at all. I am an unrepentent food geek. I would probably pay you two, three times the price you ask if I could have one of your birds before it was ever frozen. I would likely do so even if it meant having to pay some bill late (what's another late fee?) or postponing another purchase ("Don't worry, Honey, I'm sure I can fix the dryer."). Unique food experiences are priceless.

            1. re: pikawicca

              I fogot about Zuni chicken. I've never made it but I've read the raves. I think I'll copy that recipe and include it with my chickens. I'm also going to cook up a chicken and hand out small samples at a bake sale in town in mid August. I was thinking of just doing southern fried niblets as they would taste good cold. Any other ideas?

              1. re: susanl143

                I think a fried coating might mask the true flavor of your chickens. What about plain chunks on toothpicks, with just a kiss of a lemony vinaigrette?

              2. re: pikawicca

                I thought the whole point of the Zuni roast chicken was to use a small, young bird?

                1. re: John E.

                  14 weeks isn't exactly an old hen, but these birds are quite a bit bigger than the Zuni chickens. The dry brine, seasoning, and handling instructions will all work great, but time and temp might need to be adjusted to get fully-cooked meat without burnt skin.

                  1. re: John E.

                    jfood does not know the weeks to pound conversion, but he uses ~4-4.25 size and the Zunis come out fine.

                    1. re: jfood

                      I haven't weighed the chickens yet but the processors said 8-10 lbs and lovely meat. I was raising broilers but think I've got roasters here. They also said that their last meal included many of my precious blueberries. I thought they had gotten all they could reach a couple of weeks ago but guess I was wrong. They got all the raspberries too. Organic fruit fed chickens has a nice ring to it.

                      1. re: susanl143

                        <"Organic fruit fed chickens has a nice ring to it.">

                        ...and a delicious flavor I would imagine.

                        1. re: susanl143

                          Wow 8-10 pounders with a hint of blueberry tones and raspberries aftertaste.

                          1. re: jfood

                            Would the meat reallytaste like raspberries.? I think the poster just said the chicken ate raspberries.

                            It might affect the flavor, but I don't know. We have cows here feasting on sugarcane and I am curious to see if the flavor of the beef would be hanged.

                          2. re: susanl143

                            The feed animals consume really does affect their flavour, but not quite so directly - fruit fed fowl do taste different, but they don't taste of the fruit.

                            So they won't be raspberry flavoured, but they will be the better for it.

                            An aside - When I was a kid the house cow once gorged herself on turnips and so we had turnip flavoured milk for a few days...

                            1. re: AnotherMother

                              Damn, just got finished feeding my birds Cognac!!!!!!!

                              1. re: AnotherMother

                                When I was a kid we bartered eggs for milk. Somewhere in the cow's pasture there was a patch of wild onions. It was only a week or so a year before they got eaten, but trust me - onion-flavored milk does not pair well with breakfast cereal.

                      2. The original comment has been removed
                        1. Cook's Illustrated produced a recipe called French Chicken in a Pot which is their adaptation of a French recipe for a slow-cooked chicken in a covered pot. Here's a link:

                          http://www.slashfood.com/2007/12/20/c...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: John E.

                            Hmmm. I have the French chicken and I have the large Crueset Dutch Oven I inherited from my mother. I think this recipe sounds good for those samples I wanted to hand out to help sell my remaining chickens if I still have any by mid-month. It looks like a recipe where the chicken would still be very tasty even if only luke warm.

                            1. re: John E.

                              I've been on a roast chicken kick lately but I really like this recipe and think that it would work really well with a large chicken.

                            2. Wouldn't it be a breach of copyright laws to include a copy of someone else's recipe w/o permission? Just wonderin'.
                              BTW count me in the envious group. Your chickens sound delectable.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Gio

                                As usual, good point, Joe :) I'm guessing she could only give the link. Just like here. A list of ingredients and then the most one can do is "paraphrase."

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Yes, i thought so. Actually, for a Heritage chicken I'm inclined to keep it as simple as possible, letting the flavor of the breed come forward. I rather liked the chicken recipes we cooked from the two River Cafe Italian books in July. We used organic free range chickens, though, not heritage unfortunately.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Do you know if there are links for those?

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      I made the 3 following recipes. The first link is a to the original recipe and the next two are to my reports. The Vermentino did have a few other ingredients but was delicious.

                                      Chicken Vermentino
                                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...
                                      5th recipe down from the top.

                                      Chicken with Lemon
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7178...

                                      Slow Roast Chicken wuth Vermouth
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7178...