Continuing on my quest for real food, I recently purchased a pound and a half of chicken breast from my local grocery store. They offer a separate meat section to sell free-range poultry from chickens that were not fed antibiotics or animal growth hormones. In this section, you can also find free-range grass-fed beef.
The pound and a half of chicken breasts cost $8.99 (average cost of $4.49 a pound compared to the $1.99 a pound for most commercially grown/fed chicken). The package was pre-frozen and sold under the Stop & Shop’s Nature’s Promise division. Nature’s Promise is their way of joining the growing organic/whole food market.
Still a Skeptic
I’m jaded and I don’t trust large food chains and their newly formed social consciousness. Unfortunately, the closest farm I could find that sold free-range chickens was located a bit too far to drop by on a Saturday afternoon to pickup one or two whole chickens. I haven’t given up on finding fresh chickens, it’s just that I haven’t quite found the perfect solution yet.
Therefore, while I was in the grocery store purchasing the necessary paper products, I walked by the meat display and decided to give Nature’s Promise chicken breasts a try.
What a Difference
Last night I opened the package and pulled out the chicken breasts. The one thing that struck me immediately was the size of the breasts. They were very small compared to the chicken I’ve grown accustomed to cooking. The breast was about the size of the palm of my hand.
The breasts of commercially grown chicken are so large that I usually butterfly them. One breast is large enough to feed two people. Not the case with the smaller free-range chicken.
Taste Buds to Decide
Wanting to get the true flavor of the free-range chicken, I seasoned it lightly with a little salt and pepper then coated it with a light dusting of organic whole wheat flour. I quickly browned the outsides of the chicken and set it aside while I made a large pan of gravy. After the gravy was flavored and thickened to my liking, I tossed in the chicken and allowed it to finish cooking through.
With the chicken, I served Basmati rice, red beans and fresh mustard greens.
I’ve prepared chicken in gravy in the past and although the gravy is well seasoned and tasty, the gravy doesn’t penetrate through the chicken. It’s not until we eat leftovers the second day that the seasoning penetrates the chicken (unseasoned chicken can taste rather bland).
This time was different. Although the seasoning didn’t penetrate the chicken, the chicken was flavorful. Its own natural flavor shone through. I never thought of chicken as a delicacy, but my oh my, free-range, naturally grown chicken is downright delicious.