Now we are offering home cooks a second option with our heritage-breed Green Circle Chicken.
These old-breed chickens are raised longer than the others in the program, and were an exclusive for chefs … until now.
Sold whole, with head and feet left on, these birds offer an intense “chickeny” flavor.
Chefs love the old-world taste, and often serve the Green Circle Chicken whole roasted, sometimes with the feet left on, as Clement Restaurant in New York City does.
The Bistro of Beautiful Birds
Among the chefs who are serving the heritage Green Circle Chicken, there is one so particular that we raise birds exclusively for him.
Chef Antoine Westermann opened Le Coq Rico, his first New York restaurant, last year to rave reviews. For a discerning chef looking to replicate chicken dishes he made famous in France, finding poultry up to his standards was not easy. Simply put, there is no equivalent in the United States. Enter the Green Circle Chicken. Read more about it in this Esquire article, where you will also find one of his chicken recipes. Perfect for you to try when your Green Circle Chicken order arrives.
What to do with Whole Chickens
In these days when the boneless, skinless chicken breast rules the roost (so to speak), encountering an intact chicken is uncommon. But it’s the hallmark of a serious cook to break down a whole animal, even a chicken.
You will notice that the heritage Green Circle Chickens have an elongated body, smaller breasts, and a yellow color. These are the results of their breeding, outdoor living, and special vegetable diet.
Be prepared: the chickens come 5 in a bag, and are not individually wrapped. Unless you have a large freezer or refrigerator, you will need to process them quickly. If you plan to keep some of the chickens in the freezer for another time, you will want to bag, or better yet, vacuum-seal them individually.
Before you do that, remove the feet at the knee joint with a sharp chef’s knife, and do the same with the head, cutting through the neck as close to the body as possible. Freeze these parts separately to use in your next batch of chicken stock. They are the secret ingredient that will make ambrosial stock.
In Defense of Chicken Feet
Chicken feet contain a lot of collagen, which is a building block of the human body. As we age, we make less collagen (hello, wrinkles and join inflammation), and need to supplement the diet with collagen. Besides supporting skin, nail, hair and bone health, collagen is crucial for maintaining gut health. Read more about the health benefits here.
Chicken feet are prized by those who make their own chicken stock, because they impart valuable collagen, which gives the stock a gelatinous consistency and a rich flavor. Here’s our blog post on how to make chicken stock, which is fairly easy to do, and far better tasting than anything you buy in a can or box. Save all the bones from these whole chickens, and stash them in the freezer until you are ready to make stock.
In case you hadn’t noticed the craze for bone broth, AKA, stock, here’s a quick recap on the health benefits of chicken stock.
What Else Can I Do With Chicken Feet?
Eat them. Many Asian cultures enjoy chicken feet as a nutritious snack (yummy collagen!). The Daily Meal explained the concept of eating chicken feet to a presumably dubious audience.
Chicken feet? It’s a dim sum thing. Maybe you’ll want to try chicken feet at a dim sum restaurant before you go to the trouble of making them at home.
Then there’s this Serious Eats post on deep-fried chicken feet recipe. Let us know if you try it!
Can I Eat Chicken Heads?
You can, but do you really want to? There’s not a lot of meat there, and they don’t have all that collagen to recommend them. We reserve the heads for the stock pot.
Read all the details about the Heritage Green Circle Chicken at our website, and order yours today.
Featured photo: Whole Roasted Green Circle Chicken, Clement Restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel.