Sorry this is not a recipe for Chicken Kievs, though that may come in time. What I wanted to discuss was last nights Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket. I know I have mentioned this series before, as it aired in Australia that week. And begun with rose veal. I must admit I read the best tweet the other day, where a lady asked if anyone had tried rose veal and to put in perspective (in terms of misconceptions), she added "its just like eating lamb". But back to the keivs'.
The series ended last night with the ‘reinvention’ of the cheap chicken Kiev. I have to admit I was quite impressed with Jimmy's passion. Even if I wasn't too impressed with Tescos buyers. But in fairness they kept to thier word and bothe the kiev and a re-worked version of the sausage made it to stores. (Let's just hope the rose veal makes it too). So Woolworths, Coles this can be done- take notes!
The keiv was probably his most successful product- both in terms of early sales and in meeting the Tesco expectations, as he found a meat source that was cheaper than their commercially bred broilers.
Majority of commercial producers use purpose bred ‘broilers’; a selectively bred Ross cob chicken. I myself have purchased these birds from a hatchery (via a middle man) in the past. I posted at the time of my concerns regarding their development and quality of life... I would not have them again.
|Broiler vs layers (same age)|
Jimmy’s cheap chicken was actually chickens! “Spent hens”, now I am not a fan of this term, but it is a reality that hens raised in the most ethical environments have an expiry date. This is true of battery farmed hens too, but these would not be in any condition to be sold as meat and are often sold for other purposes. The lucky are sold as ‘recue hens’, something I am in two minds about. As whilst the animal deserves a chance of a good life, by purchasing their ‘waste product’ you would be financially enabling them to continue... but this is off topic.
It is true, and I have heard others who breed chickens discuss it in the past that a hen’s prime for laying is its first year. As they do not lay until they are 5 months old. Most commercial and many domestic birds will become surplus to requirements at 18months of age. This may seem a little harsh, but by this time they have served their purpose and are no longer financially viable to support and will be dispatched, one way or another. So I guess a cheap alternative free range meat is a good outcome. I guess there is a stigma about older chickens being considered ‘tough’. Though in the instance of the Kiev the firmer meat was an advantage and the age increased its flavour. I guess it is just a case of using them for the right purpose. They may not be as desirable for a Sunday Roast, but are ideal for mincing or slow cooking. So why do we breed young birds for these purposes?