Saturday, September 30, 2006

What's In Your Chicken?

We all have fond memories of sliced roast chicken, that marvelous comfort food that speaks of home and hearth, childhood and Sunday dinners at grandma's house. When I was a kid, the chickens that appeared on our table had been running around in the backyard a few hours earlier. I helped to feed and water them, though looking back, at five and six years old, I was probably more hindrance than help traipsing around behind my Dad. We've moved into the 21st century, and I don't personally know anyone with chickens in his backyard. Do you?

Have Some Drugs with Your Chicken -- No Prescription Needed

Chicken growers and processors have moved into the 21st century, too. With the cautions about eating too much red meat, it quickly became a challenge to meet the demand for chicken and turkey. It was necessary to develop new methods to raise more chickens faster. Today's fowl are dosed with antibotics to fight the diseases that arise primarily because of their crowded living conditions, have you seen what a modern chicken farm looks like? Hormones and growth stimulants are part of their diet to speed up the time it takes to get them big enough to get to market sooner and pesticides are another necessary evil as a result of the cruel and unusual living conditions that are standard in chicken raising today. Then to provide a little flavor and to plump up those breasts, (big breasts --an American fetish) they're injected with salt and water, labeled as natural additives. All of these things that the chicken ingests become a part of its cells -- a part of its flesh -- a part of your chicken dinner.

The succulent, juicy chicken breast pictured above is from a chicken that was raised without antibiotics, growth stimulants, hormones or pesticides. And guess what? It tastes like the chicken I had as a child. Wonderful.

It's a chicken breast from Murray's Chicken, raised in a natural environment in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. For the past 12 years Murray's has been raising chickens in a natural environment. They were the first enterprise to earn certification for humane raising and handling of chickens. Murray's provides chicken to many posh and popular restaurants around the country and their natural products are available in many supermarkets. Find one near you.

I like to cook up a Murray's chicken breast to have on hand for a sandwich or to top off a romaine and onion salad with a little blue cheese dressing.

This chicken breast was dusted with Adobo seasoning (onion, garlic, black pepper, Mexican oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper) from Penzey's. Sautéed in a tablespoon of EVOO in a hot pan for 3 - 4 minutes then transferred into a preheated 400­­° oven for twenty minutes. Rest before slicing if serving immediately, or wrap in foil and refrigerate until needed. Enjoy this great tasting piece of chicken or one of Murray's whole chickens knowing you are not eating pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, growth stimulants and other additives that Mother Nature never intended to be in a chicken. Eat well, it's your health's lifeline.

'till next time . . . keep on cooking.

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