All Chickens Are Not Created Equal-Comparing.....
Anyone who eats chicken a lot knows when a chicken is really good, and we apply those standards accordingly; was it juicy and warm from the store? Was it overly greasy and is the time it was cooked on the tag? No one wants yesterday’s chicken. Was it meaty and could I get a few meals out of said chicken? I am a rotisserie chicken aficionado. I eat chicken almost every day. I’ve been around to all the local supermarkets and have eaten a lot of these chickens, so I know what I’m talking about here. For there is nothing more delicious than a fresh rotisserie chicken, still warm from the store. You eye it as you drive home, wanting to tear off a leg and just get down and greasy right there in the car. Down girl.
I decided to do my own comparison. I went to Winn Dixie, Publix, Walmart, and Sweet Bay. Most chicken is acceptable, no matter where you go, but there are some very important differences. Most chickens from the above markets were the same: a little on the small side, maybe a little dry the next day, and you couldn’t really get a second and third meal, or make chicken salad or chicken soup because there was not that much meat on the chicken in the first place.
Sweet Bay wins hands down, and maybe that’s because they keep it simple. They don’t make chickens in assorted flavors, and I’ve never gotten a little tiny chicken from the Rotisserie at Sweet Bay. Their chicken is bigger than the others, always fresh and I can get maybe 3 meals for two people from one chicken. I am amazed at the difference in size, the plump and juicy tenderness of the chicken, and of course, the ability to squeeze out a chicken salad the next day and save the carcass for soup. This is the way we’re having to live, trying to get the most out of our food dollars in the present economy. With this in mind, and in an attempt to eat healthy but keep it interesting, I would have to say Sweet Bay gets the Golden Sarasota Post Award for Best In Rotisserie Class.
If you want to make a simple, but excellent and hearty chicken soup, leave some meat and skin on the carcass. When you boil that baby in water, the skin and the carcass give a rich flavor to the soup. This is how I make mine:
Recipe for Laurie’s Chicken Soup
One Chicken Carcass, meat and skin left on
Salt and Pepper to taste
Two or three bouillon cubes ( I use Goya large sized cubes)
Carrots cut in small pieces
Celery cut in 1-2 inch pieces
Egg Noodles or Brown Rice
Boil two quarts of water in a large pot
Put chicken in and cover. Let boil for an hour.
Remove Carcass and pull meat off, separating bone from meat
Go through soup pot, pulling out skin
Put chicken meat back in pot
Put celery and carrots in soup
Boil or simmer half an hour
Put the noodles in for just 6 -7 minutes so they don’t get mushy
If you prefer brown rice, make half a cup of rice, which yields a cup
Cook rice and dump it in soup