Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Chicken Out

I've been eagerly looking forward to seeing Hugh's Chciken Out programme on Channel 4 having become really intrigued by his chicken play pen we saw whilst mushroom foraging at the River Cottage. There were quite a few references throughout the day to Hugh's "Second Life" chickens. Not pixelated chickens in digital format but birds that he has taken out of the intensive system shown on his show and reared in peace and harmony. Just look at the fun you'd have in this little field!

Having only watched the two epsisodes so far it's very compelling stuff. I've always tried to buy free range eggs and chickens, mainly because they are tastier. I guess it's hard to always be able to afford it. If you decide that you can afford free range chicken then you're obliged to buy free range pork, bacon, sausages etc as well. I've not got much of a clue about pig farming but I have heard it is every bit as depressing as intensive chicken farming at its worst.

What struck me yesterday was how top heavy the intensive birds were. Toppling over because they were growin so much breast meat so quickly. The odd thing is that on the continent they much prefer leg meat and breed their birds the opposite way round. I wish we did that here. There's nothing quite like a tasty chicken leg.

This recipe for chicken leg confit looks delicious. Thanks to Brian Garthwaite

Well done Hugh for throwing his heart and soul into the plight of the UK's chicken. I can only hope that our supermarkets can find a solution. It's appalling that they won't even talk to Hugh on camera. But then again I can see their PR gurus going beserk about the possibility of being shown up by the UK's most idealistic cook. At the end of the day it's all about business.

Be sure to sign up to the campaign here. And be sure to watch Jamie Oliver's Fowl Dinners on Friday night on Channel 4.

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