“ Type: Meat / Food quality: Organic food „
I decided to pick up an organic chicken instead of my regular chicken from Tesco to see if it really was better than my normal one.
A large organic free range chicken costs £8.24 compared with the same weight of non organic chicken costing £3.42.
The chicken looked thinner than my usual chicken; the breast did not have the usual plumpness but the legs looked fatter, the skin was looser and it was pinker around the cavities.
I cooked it as I normally would. I stuffed the back with pork sausage meat and the neck cavity with skirlie (a mix of oatmeal, onion and lard) and placed in the oven for a little over 2 hours.
There were less juices in the pan after I cooked the chicken and I did not have to drain off a lot of fat like I normally do. The breast looked less plump and the chicken did not seem to crisp up to the same extent, the wings did not go as crispy as they normally do probably because they were not sitting in a layer run off fat. The chicken smelled exactly like a roast chicken should and there was very little colour difference.
Meal one was a roast dinner. I served my chicken with mashed potatoes, the stuffings, broccoli, carrots, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.
I deglazed the roasting pan and made gravy using the juices and commercial granules. The gravy was tastier than usual, more chickeny.
I served up some meat. The breast seemed dryer and more brittle during carving and the legs were plumper and had a darker colour. I was disappointed that my wings did not have the same crispness because that's my favourite bit.
Now for the taste test. It did have a slightly more intense taste than my regular chicken but not enough to make a massive difference to the meal overall.
We had leftover chicken with oatcakes and salad the next day. Again, the cold meat had a slightly nicer taste. I also made a favourite of mine, chicken in a white sauce made with mushrooms, onion and garlic. There was no taste difference at all here.
When I roast a chicken I always make stock by boiling up the carcass for a couple of hours. There was a massive difference in quality here. It took less time to produce a more intensely flavoured stock. There was also a lot less fat to scoop off the top once it had cooled. I'm sure it will make a nice pot of soup when I get round to making it.
In taste terms alone, I cannot justify spending more than double the amount of money on an organic chicken. The taste difference was negligible. It was apparent from the appearance though that this chicken was healthier with nice plump legs from being more active and it was definitely a leaner bird.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of various celebrity chefs and chicken activists, I think I'm going to be sticking with my regular chicken from now on.