Mmmmm. Roasted chicken, a mealtime favorite for me. I used to think roasting whole chickens was so much harder than baking chicken breasts or other options, but eventually I realized how crazy-easy it is (and how much cheaper, too!) and I’ve been doing whole birds with increasing frequency.
My favorite method to date is to prepare a mix of kosher salt and onion powder, then to add either poultry seasoning or an herb mix (usually from Murchies) depending on what I’m making with and the time of the year.
A quick rub of this mix over the skin and in the cavity, then also under the skin on the breast and thighs. Then I let it sit for about 20 mins if I’ve had the forethought to start early enough, and roast until done at about 375. YUM!
This bird was a Rocky Chicken from Petaluma Poultry. I got it as part of a freezer pack plan from Golden Steer in Bellevue, and it is delicious. But not every bird I’ve roasted has been as good… or even good at all, and that’s what I’m thinking about today. Here’s what I want to write about and my question to everyone reading this: what are your thoughts on the taste and value of: local / free-range or natural / organic / feedlot / cheap?
There are so many variables here, and in addition, everyone’s circumstances are so different. There are days when I am adamant about ‘only local + organic’, and other days when I simply say ‘natural + (relative) cheap is good enough’. I’ve moved away from southern-grown feedlot chicken breasts, but I still buy Foster Farms standard. Also, Petaluma Poultry doesn’t exactly fit my definition of local, and the Rocky brand isn’t organic either…
And besides cost, health, and the way food is raised, is the way it TASTES.
There is no other way around it, I am a cook. I have always loved food and always will. Flavor and cooking and all that has to do with home and home-making are more important to me than anything else when I buy food. So, when I bought a locally raised, free-range organic chicken from a seller at the Redmond Town Center farmer’s market a few years ago for $22 (don’t tell the Captain I spent $22 on a single chicken), I was expecting all the glories of heaven to open up on the first bite.
It was possibly the worst-tasting chicken I ever ate.
Now before you think ‘she just doesn’t understand that natural chicken tastes different than GMO feedlot injected nastiness’, please know that I have eaten LOTS of free-range, organic, and hand raised chicken (including many when I was growing up and we raised our own fryers for a few summers). I know the difference between flavor-enhanced and real. This chicken was simply not good.
It really put me at guard against buying ‘just because’ it was local + organic. I felt like I was doing the right thing to support this farm and to eat healthily and well, but I also feel like I got ripped off in a major way. But that experience also helped me seek a balance between budget and good food, so in a way it was money well spent. (right?)
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, not only on how you balance cost and how you dream of eating, but also of your favorite way to roast a bird!