What better way to celebrate my birthday than by posting this round-up of entries to Let Them Eat Chicken? It has been wonderful to see the enthusiastic responses arriving in my mailbox. Chicken welfare is very clearly high on the agenda for many of us.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part in this event to raise awareness of conditions in the broiler chicken industry. Without further preamble (apart from to say that I’ll make it prettier with photos later – family are arriving now to celebrate my birthday ), here then are your favourite chicken recipes (ordered loosely according to date of entry):
Marie from A Year To Oak Cottage posted the very first entry in which she shared this tasty recipe for Chicken with Parsley and Capers. Marie describes how she and her husband made a decision last year to eat only free-range and organic meat, even although it means they eat meat less often now. However, this has allowed them to “eat with a conscience”.
David Hall, a BBC MasterChef finalist and food writer, buys Northumbrian free-range chickens from his local butcher, Gordons in South Tyneside. They are “utterly delicious and simply no substitute for the fatty, poor tasteless intensively reared birds that everybody buys from the local HUGE Asda!” Here’s the recipe he sent me for Moroccan Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Fennel.
Rona Amiss from Higher Fingle Farm offered her children’s favourite recipe for chicken sticks. She recommends sourcing chicken reared to high standards from local producers for a less expensive option than buying organic meat in the supermarkets.
Fiona Bird from Stirrin’ Stuff works in partnership with schools and nurseries across the UK to educate children and young people about food. You might have seen her demonstrating this recipe for Poached Chicken and Couscous Salad at the Royal Highland Show earlier this year! Fiona devised this recipe for the Co-operative to showcase the higher-welfare Elmwood chicken standards that are now the minimum requirements for all their fresh chicken. She says that poaching “really is child’s play and keeps the chicken moist as well as being a quick and healthy method of cooking.”
Sarah Hartley reflects on the Chicken Out campaign on her blog of ‘Life Through Food’ at the Manchester Evening News. She offers a scrumptious recipe from a friend for Sharon’s Chicken Enchilada Pie. A tasty way to use up any chicken leftovers, this pie is ideal for serving to groups of hungry party guests.
Fiona Beckett of The Frugal Cook describes an intriguing procedure for a barbeque show stopper she calls Beer-Can Chicken. You might need a sous-chef to help with this in the final stages, but Fiona believes it’s “the best chicken recipe of all”.
Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures agrees and gives us a variation on Beer-Can Chicken from across the the Atlantic. She emailed me to say, “the free range chicken I used for this recipe is from Trader Joes and it was incredibly moist and flavorful.”
If you’re looking for something that uses chicken stock and thighs, Anna’s Avgolemono is the perfect treat at Morsels and Musings. This flavoursome Greek chicken and lemon soup can be served as either a starter or a main course.
As a contributing editor to Living Earth, Elisabeth Winkler from Real Food Lover wants her food to be grown “without chemicals and with respect.” She gives some valuable advice on how to eat organic chicken on a budget and includes a recipe for Roast Organic Chicken from Sheepdrove Farm, Half Price!
Henrietta Green and the team from Food Lovers Britain supported this event by posting a delicate summer chicken recipe in their newsletter, Food Scoop. Although it may sound strange, the accompanying lettuce sauce is perfect for using bolted lettuce.
Alex, undoubtedly the Princess of The Princess and the Recipe, uses free-range chicken breasts from Tesco* to make a wonderful Thai Green Chicken and Mango Curry with Spiced Cauliflower. She always buys free-range chicken and believes “it really does pay off in terms of taste and texture”.
An incredible Sticky Lemon Chicken from the Antics of a Cycling Cook is “simple to prepare and tastes great.” Sam is passionate about this event and urges everyone to think carefully before buying their next chicken.
Leemei from My Cooking Hut hits home about taking responsibility for choice when allocating your shopping budget in a post on Free-Range Chicken. With beautiful photos, she describes how she uses a Label Rouge chicken from France to create a late Sunday lunch of Maple Roast Chicken.
Cakelaw from Laws of the Kitchen selects a scrumptious recipe for Spanish Roast Chicken to bring awareness to the plight of broiler hens. She roasts a free-range, “lovely, plump large bird” from Prahran Market in Melbourne on a bed of lemon and chorizo flavoured potatoes – superb!
For an easy meal that looks like a lot of effort but is heavenly, try Leigh’s Easy Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potato and Garlic Mash from The Good Stuff. He also offers a beer match. As he says, without our independent food and drink producers, “we’d be in a really depressing state”.
Despite struggling against software problems, Kadeeae from Consuming the Harvest secured her entry by emailing me her recipe for Creamy Chicken Tagliatelle. She uses free-range chicken thighs from Tesco* and serves her dish with garlic bread and salad.
A Sceptical Cook, author and food-columnist for the New Statesman, Nicholas Clee bravely shows us how to achieve a spatchcocked chicken for laying flat on the barbeque. His chicken is a Label Anglais, a special slow-growing breed that thrives in free-range pastures.
Ning from Heart and Hearth writes movingly about the difficulty she faces in sourcing a free-range or “native” chicken in her home-town of Manila in the Philippines. She offers a cherished, nourishing soup made originally for the family by her grandmother that uses four Chinese herbs to comfort and nourish the body.
Mallika posted an entertaining account of an encounter with thighs in A Thigh For Your Conscience at Quick Indian Cooking. She was very serious about her recipe for chicken curry however, and used an organic chicken from Waitrose that “rocked” and was served with “a content smile”.
Mark, who specialises in growing Mediterranean crops and forgotten fruits at Otter Farm, has been extremely helpful and supportive of this event. He searched for a recipe but confessed that, “to be honest there’s not much else I like to do with a chicken than roast it with herbs and butter pushed under the skin and eat as much of it as I can!” That sounds more than good enough to me!
Elaine from A Series of Kitchen Experiments uses grain-fed chicken drumsticks from the farmers’ market in March Atwater to cook a spectacular Ayam Masak Merah Madu, or Honeyed Red Chicken. She finds that the taste is excellent in comparison to that of cheaper, supermarket chicken – more tender and sweet.
For a worrying moment, I thought I might be at risk of missing my own event! But I managed to fit in a post between the school-runs and the nappy-changing offering my own recipe for Garlic Chicken Kiev.
At Feast With Bron, an expensive, Old Fashioned chicken is transformed into an economical purchase. Bron was inspired to cook with devotion to match the care she knew had been taken in the rearing of this bird. Her final meal provided this recipe for Chicken and Tarragon Soup.
Kitty from Boring History Girl offers a special-occasion recipe for Roast Chicken Spaghetti – a true birthday treat! She invites comments on her opinion that “basic, nutritional, sustainable food cooked into simple to prepare meals is within reach of all but most unlucky of western society.”
Nick from The Tracing Paper works for East Anglia Food Link to increase the availability of local and sustainable food. He takes us on an investigation to decode the origins of the chicken he buys in Where’s That Chicken From? and concludes with an illustrated guide to jointing and a recipe for chicken tagine.
Let me wish a Happy Birthday also to Jules, a Domestic Goddess in Training! She uses a tasty, succulent chicken “that doesn’t leach water when you cook it” to rustle up this fantastic Coconut Chicken Masala.
And finally, Derek Armstrong contributed a last-minute entry for Coq à la Pêche – something that certainly sounds simple but different!
… but wait, that’s not quite all! Warren Murray has squeezed in an extra entry this morning over at Word of Mouth. He questions readers’ shopping habits and casts a vote for the RSPCA’s Freedom Food standards in Chicken Check-Up. He gives not one but several recipe suggestions for ensuring that the chicken’s better-than-average life didn’t go to waste.
Joining the after-dinner party is Jeanne from Cook Sister! Lamenting the drizzly summer, she nevertheless offers a sizzling barbeque recipe for Smoked Chicken with a Curried Stuffing with leftovers that lasted at least 6 delicious adult meals. As she says, “show me the battery bird that can do that!”
Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey? has returned from her vacation with promises of a wonderful, creamy Indian chicken dish. Meeta’s process of cooking with care, thought and love starts from the moment she considers which products will be on her shopping list.
*When Tesco raise their minimum welfare standards, I’ll add a link to their website .