The “new natural,” as it relates to meat and poultry, involves ingredients and processing. It’s the complete story behind the food, including how the animal was raised and how it was prepared for serving.
Amanda Barnes, executive chef, Chromium, Chicago, often gets asked “Why is your chicken so delicious?” Her explanation exemplifies the new meaning of natural.
“We use Green Circle Chickens, derived from the famous French Bresse line of chickens (Poulet de Bresse) from the Bresse region in eastern France,” she says. “These chickens have long enjoyed a reputation as being the best-quality table chicken in the world.”
Started in America by D’Artagnan LLC, Union, New Jersey, the Green Circle Chicken program brought back traditional family-farming methods. The chickens’ diet is beyond simply vegetarian. The chickens are fed actual vegetables from local sources, along with wholesome grains. They have free-range living and are Certified Humane raised and handled in a network of small-scale farms that are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
“By combining the wisdom of the past with the best practices of the present, the farm is raising tastier birds and contributing to a better world,” she says. “These birds are raised for flavor, without GMOs or hormones. They are air chilled for maximum flavor and have no added or retained water weight. And, they are hand processed locally in a low-volume facility.”
Barnes prepares the chicken simply. She brines the birds for five hours in a salt-sugar solution and then dries them on wire racks in the refrigerator for two days. They are baked without any extras and served with fried smashed fingerling potatoes and homemade herb salad dressing.