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Old 21.02.2012, 16:31
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Poulet de Bresse

Did anybody ever splash out for Bresse chickens - either to cook themselves or in a restaurant? I saw them just across the border last week but pretty expensive

Is it worth it - is there a noticable difference? I've always thought of chicken as being a pretty blank canvas, but getting more experimental with cooking techniques now (sous-vide, brining etc) and wondering if it is worth trying that type of bird
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Old 21.02.2012, 16:37
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

mrs. and I buy them from time to time.. they are definitely meatier, and probably a bit jucier, but a run of the mill standard free range chicken, well cooked is just as good IMHO.


( fav. method.. a whole head of garlic ( broken into cloves ) shoved up it's butt, along with a couple of lemons, cover with olive oil and a bit of romarin.... shove into a hot oven for 10-15mins... turn down heat to finish cooking according to size )
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Old 21.02.2012, 16:42
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

Yes. I have had them and they really are very good and much better than run of the mill supermarket chicken.

However, I don't buy them any more after I found out how they are raised.

A good fresh farmer's chicken from the butcher is what I get now. But TBH I still think they are better than these too.
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Old 21.02.2012, 16:44
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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However, I don't buy them any more after I found out how they are raised.
ohh ohh... you mean they don't run free in the wilds of France? do tell...
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Old 21.02.2012, 16:59
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

Poulet de Bresse is a good bird, not your blank-canvas chicken, but a bird. I think they are a little over-priced for what you get. You get two versions; 1. the plastic wrapped version which is cheaper or 2. the fresh bird with head on that requires trussing which is the very expensive variety.

Another much cheaper option, the St. Sever chicken is IMHO a very tasty, meatier bird that reminds you of what chicken should taste like.
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Old 21.02.2012, 17:03
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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ohh ohh... you mean they don't run free in the wilds of France? do tell...
Yes. They run free until the last 8-14 days of their lives where they are closed in a box to get fat.

*Actually, I stopped eating them because I heard they were closed in a box with no light for 2 weeks. But now that I'm trying to find info to back up my reasoning, that doesn't seem to be the case. They just get put in a small cage. But they also take out their nails so they don't scratch themselves. So I'm guessing they don't like being in that cage. I'd certainly eat a free range Bresse chicken. Do they really need those last few days of fattening?
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Old 21.02.2012, 17:05
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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Yes. They run free until the last 8-14 days of their lives where they are closed in a box to get fat.


*Actually, I stopped eating them because I heard they were closed in a box with no light for 2 weeks. But now that I'm trying to find info to back up my reasoning, that doesn't seem to be the case. They just get put in a small cage. But they also take out their nails so they don't scratch themselves. So I'm guessing they don't like being in that cage. I'd certainly eat a free range Bresse chicken. Do they really need those last few days of fattening?
You are confusing the Bresse chicken with the cruel rearing methods of the Ortolan bunting which is a tiny bird, locked in a dark box and drowned in Armagnac.

Two very different stories.
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Old 21.02.2012, 17:06
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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Yes. They run free until the last 8-14 days of their lives where they are closed in a box to get fat.
oh is that all !?!?! ... I used to do that with my dates all the time
(before mrs. G of course )
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Old 21.02.2012, 17:10
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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You are confusing the Bresse chicken with the cruel rearing methods of the Ortolan bunting which is a tiny bird, locked in a dark box and drowned in Armagnac.

Two very different stories.
Probably not. I've never heard of that! Terrible!

It was probably just a "lost in translation" moment. I must has thought and "epinette" was a closed box... or the person who was telling me the story might have said "box".


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oh is that all !?!?! ... I used to do that with my dates all the time
(before mrs. G of course )
LOL.

According to this site they live outside wild & happy & free, cute little birds.... until the very end, which apparently is obligatory for them to get the appellation.

http://www.moulin-de-montjay.fr/Poulets_de_Bresse.htm

I've made a mess of this thread haven't I!? Sorry!


Chips: Yes! Bresse chickens are yummy!
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Old 21.02.2012, 17:12
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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Yes. They run free until the last 8-14 days of their lives where they are closed in a box to get fat.

*Actually, I stopped eating them because I heard they were closed in a box with no light for 2 weeks. But now that I'm trying to find info to back up my reasoning, that doesn't seem to be the case. They just get put in a small cage. But they also take out their nails so they don't scratch themselves. So I'm guessing they don't like being in that cage. I'd certainly eat a free range Bresse chicken. Do they really need those last few days of fattening?
You are correct.

They are reared to strict standards for 4 months and given a minimum of 10 sqm to run free. The last 10-14 days of their little feathered lives are spend in an epinette (dark wooden box) where the over-feed on account of the darkness.

The Bresse chicken: 10sqm, 4 months to run free, 10-14 days in epinette
The Bresse poulard: 10sqm, 5 months to run free, 30 days in epinette
The Bresse capon: 20sqm, 8 months to run free, 30 days in epinette

Link
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Old 21.02.2012, 17:13
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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oh is that all !?!?! ... I used to do that with my dates all the time
(before mrs. G of course )
Ah, you found that the small box and lots of Armagnac work better, right?
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:02
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

Minimia is correct. The chickens are kept in cages for the last few weeks of their lives and overfed, not unlike the geese which are force-fed to produce foie-gras. Thus, as a matter of principle and animal rights, I refuse to purchase either. I also boycott anything produced in Norway, because they (and other countries) hunt whales in contradiction of international law.
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:26
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

Almost all of what I have heard on here is contrary to what I have experienced. What you need to buy are Label Rouge, the highest rating given by France to it's agricultural products.

As you may or may not know is that Bresse chickens are only reared in the Bresse region of France, east of Macon. Like wine is given an AOC for where each variety(Pouilly Fuisse, Sauternes, Loire, etc), so is the same for birds.

When I was still working in France, and because I was new(or American, I hope it was because I was new, not because of the latter), I worked at a Chateau just outside of Beaune that had it's Bresse chickens brought in daily. And they definitely were not in cages. They also have to be individually tagged because, under french law, if your menu reads Bresse chickens, it has to be, and controllers need to be able to verify that in the kitchens. Anyways, each morning about a dozen to 20 fresh neck cracked birds would come in that I had the (mis) fortune of beheading, gutting, and cleaning. What sucked for me is that they were still twitching a couple of hours of being cracked. Unless those cages were on the ground, outside, and caged birds normally are not, they wouldn't have gravel combined with feed still in their beaks and necks right before death.

These birds are the closest thing to game birds, or wild chickens that is available in France with the exception of the pintade or a wild turkey; of what you can get on the market. They are meatier, and that would be impossible if they were in caged as muscle formation allows for a more gamey taste. They are beautiful in taste, and in life.

They aren't the blank canvas kind of bird you would get with a industrial raised chicken. Even beefiest type sauces will work with Bresse chickens. So, what I mean to say is, don't try to over power it with seasoning as the true taste is in the meat and the texture, not what you might blanket it with.

I hope that helps.
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:28
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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Minimia is correct. The chickens are kept in cages for the last few weeks of their lives and overfed, not unlike the geese which are force-fed to produce foie-gras. Thus, as a matter of principle and animal rights, I refuse to purchase either. I also boycott anything produced in Norway, because they (and other countries) hunt whales in contradiction of international law.

But, are you a carnivore? Or a herbivore that feeds on lands that use nitrogen as a stimulant for crop growth?
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:34
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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You are correct.

They are reared to strict standards for 4 months and given a minimum of 10 sqm to run free. The last 10-14 days of their little feathered lives are spend in an epinette (dark wooden box) where the over-feed on account of the darkness.

The Bresse chicken: 10sqm, 4 months to run free, 10-14 days in epinette
The Bresse poulard: 10sqm, 5 months to run free, 30 days in epinette
The Bresse capon: 20sqm, 8 months to run free, 30 days in epinette

Link
Yes. But is an epinette in this case just a cage or is it a dark box? That seems to be the question.

Either way, as good as they are, this practice listed on that site put me off eating these chickens.

(and I'm sorry, again, Chips, for taking this your thread in this direction. sometimes I should just be quiet! lol)
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:37
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bresse_(chicken)

Please note the last sentence of the third paragraph.
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:44
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

The advertising always shows free range chickens running in the lovely Bressan countryside. They never show the 10 to 30 days spent in small individual cages in semi darkness, do they?

I do (not) wonder why the Wiki page was deleted?
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:51
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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The advertising always shows free range chickens running in the lovely Bressan countryside. They never show the 10 to 30 days spent in small individual cages in semi darkness, do they?
The three weeks in the épinette/cage/whatever were (rather surprisingly I thought) mentioned on that Raymond Blanc programme that's currently running on BBC2. It certainly went against my preconceived idea of what free range means.
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:54
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bresse_(chicken)

Please note the last sentence of the third paragraph.

In the deleted page link?
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Old 21.02.2012, 19:56
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Re: Poulet de Bresse

Free ranged but slaughtered. I think if you are going to eat meat, the free range, or "humanitarian" death given to animals meant for food are really about how the animal tastes, not if you are actually concerned about eating flesh or not.
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