Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘chicken’

Best Chicken Ever: The NYT Review of Le Coq Rico

Congratulations to Chef Antoine Westermann and his team at Le Coq Rico: The Bistro of Beautiful Birds for a 2-star review in the New York Times!

We are proud to play a part in this delicious story. Chef Antoine is very meticulous, and spent a long time working with us to procure the ideal chicken for his first restaurant in New York City. We collaborated closely with him and our chicken farmers to raise heritage breeds to exacting standards, on specific diets, for longer periods of time than the industry standard. The result is a unique chicken that tastes better than the average bird … much better. It certainly belongs in The Bistro of Beautiful Birds.

Read the entire review to find out how Le Coq Rico serves our squab and foie gras, as well as the crowning glory: the perfect chicken. And then plan your visit.

Le Coq Rico Review NY TIMESHere is one of the behind-the-scenes photos from Chef Antoine’s first visit to our office for a chicken tasting. See more in our earlier blog post.

l-r: Pierre Moreira, The Westermanns, Ariane, Robert Arbor

Reinventing Chicken

Esteemed French Chef Antoine Westermann recently opened his first New York City restaurant.  It’s called Le Coq Rico: The Bistro of Beautiful Birds. And when you want beautiful birds, D’Artagnan is the place to find them.

NY Post Chicken Article

Read more

What is Air-Chilled Chicken?

Why does air-chilled chicken taste so much better than the average bird? Here are a few of the key reasons.

Chill Out

Since the mid-1990s the USDA has required that the temperature of a chicken carcass be lowered to at least 40 degrees within four hours of slaughter. Most processors cool chickens in vats of ice cold water, a technique that does the trick, but allows the chicken carcass to absorb water—mostly in the skin (the last place you want it!).

Studies have shown that water-chilled chicken absorbs anywhere from 2 to 12 percent of its weight in water on average. While it might superficially appear that added moisture would be a good thing in a chicken, in fact it dilutes the flesh and flavor, makes it soggy and prevents the skin from crisping when roasted. There is also an increased risk of cross-contamination, since many chickens are dunked in the same water.

D'Artagnan Green Circle Chicken Raw2

A Better Way

In the air-chilling process, chickens are suspended separately from a track that moves through several chambers. In the first, cold, purified air is run over each bird, which quickly reduces its body temperature. Then, depending on the system used, the chickens will cycle through one or two more chilled chambers for anywhere up to 3 ½ hours. The air-chilling process takes longer than the water bath, and the facility is more expensive to set up, but many feel the results are worth the time.

While air chilling chicken and poultry has been in practice in Europe since the 1960s, it was only introduced in the U.S. in 1998.

ZCHIORG112-1_VA0_SQ

Our organic and air-chilled chicken wings

Read more

Making Chicken Stock

“Indeed, stock is everything is cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.”  –Escoffier

Forget about the cans and boxes of watered-down, flavorless stock in stores. The best stock is made at home and the good news is: it’s not difficult to do. You will be amply rewarded with glorious, golden liquid that will boost the flavor of sauces and serve as a base for soups. Professional chefs confess that they dip into a constantly bubbling stock pot when water is called for in a recipe.

Stock cooling in quart containers

Health benefits

When Brillat-Savarin said, “Soup is a healthy, light, nourishing food, good for all of humanity; it pleases the stomach, stimulates the appetite and prepares the digestion,” he was not referring to canned soup or low-sodium, thin broth. Bone broth rich with gelatin was the basis of soup in his day. And French studies on gelatin have found it to be useful in treatment of many diseases, and helpful to digestion.

Rich, homemade chicken stock has been called “Jewish penicillin” for its healing qualities. Bone stock has minerals that the body can absorb easily—important ones like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. Why pay for supplements like glucosamine chondroitin, which supports joint health, when you can get it naturally from bone stock?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How it’s done

Whether making chicken, fish or beef stock, the first thing you will need is a pile of bones. And the next is a stainless steel pot. The one we used is a 14-quart stock pot, but depending on how many bones you have, you can do this in a smaller (or larger) pot.

Waste not, want not. Start a bone collection; save all the bones, wing tips, backs, necks and gizzards from any poultry that you eat. Seal the bones in a bag and store in the freezer until you’ve collected enough and are ready to make the stock. No need to defrost them–frozen clumps can go right into the stock pot.  And you can mix raw and roasted bones and bits together in the pot.

If you can get hold of chicken feet, throw them in–the collagen in them makes a gorgeous, gelatinous broth that jiggles when refrigerated. This is the holy grail of chicken stock.

We used a combination of a fresh, raw chicken carcass mixed with frozen chicken bones.  Toss the carcass and bones into the pot with the onion, carrots, celery and bay leaves. Cover with water. The rule of thumb here is that meat, bones & water + heat & time = stock.  All you need to do is fill the pot with as much water as possible and let time and heat do their thing.

Bring the whole thing to a boil, and skim the foamy scum off the top. Always skim! The effluvium that rises to the top can spoil the taste of the stock, and it looks pretty nasty, too. You can use a broad, flat spoon or a fine-mesh strainer to do this.

Then reduce the heat and simmer for 6 to 8 hours. The longer you cook it, the more concentrated and flavorful the stock will be.  You can cook it for 10 hours if you like, or even 24. It will just continue to reduce and become more delicious.  About 10 minutes before finishing, add the optional parsley (just throw it in whole), for added dimension and brightness.

Allow to cool a bit before attempting to remove the bones, chicken scraps and soft vegetables with a strainer or slotted spoon. Strain the stock into another pot or large bowl. Allow to cool and skim off the fat as it rises to the top. Be sure to save the fat. Chicken fat, aka schmaltz, is a valuable cooking medium, and a necessity in chopped chicken liver. Or leave the fat in the stock, and pour into quart or pint containers.  Do not fill to the top, as the stock will expand when frozen. Store a quart in the refrigerator and put the rest in the freezer. When you chill it, the fat will separate and you can remove it then.

Use chicken stock in sauces, soups and sautéed vegetables. Add some to the water when cooking rice and pasta. You will soon find it an indispensable ingredient in the kitchen. Add salt and pepper when you cook with the stock, but never in the reducing process, or it will get too salty.

What You Need for Chicken Stock 

1 whole free-range, organic chicken (or assorted bones)
2-4 chicken feet
1-2 onions, cut in half
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2-3 bay leaves
Bunch of parsley (optional)