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Co-founded in 1985 by Ariane Daguin, a native of the Southwest of France, D'Artagnan® has been producing handmade pâtés, sausages, smoked meats, organic poultry including Heritage Turkey, Quail, Squab, and game. Over the quarter century in the food business, their signature products have expanded to include smoked and cured charcuterie, bacon, truffles, and more.  A full review of all their food products on their website at www.dartagnan.com will amaze you.

D'Artagnan partners with farmers dedicated to excellent animal husbandry, sustainable and humane farming practices and well as being a leader in the free-range, preservative-free, no growth hormone movement.  Ariane has said "A happy chicken is a tasty chicken."  This is evident from the very first bite of their organic chicken or any of the products produced at D'Artagnan.  As a further example of D'Artagnan's commitment to exacting standards from top quality ingredients, with no chemicals, artificial preservatives or fillers, their motto is "If we can't pronounce it, we won't use it."

I'm featuring D'Artagnan's organic chicken specifically as I feel so passionate about its quality and superb taste.  I am loathe to admit that I am overdue in my praise of their organic chicken.  It was my sister who asked me during one of our many conversations about food and cooking a few months ago...."have you ever cooked a D'Artagnan chicken?"  She went on to praise its clean and unadulterated taste and texture ending with "it's the best chicken I've ever eaten in my life".  The very next day I bought one at the only "upscale" food store in my neck of the woods in Forest Hills, Queens in NYC.  Of course I had seen the tightly shrink wrapped organic chickens in many food stores in Manhattan, but for whatever reason, just did not give them a try.  I was still buying organic chickens, but just not the D'Artagnan brand.

   

Organic Chicken features:

No antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal by products
Fed only certified organic grains and spring water
Free range
Contain less than 2% water
25% lower fat content than standard commercially raised chicken
Distinctively rich flavor

Organic Chicken Farm features:

Small Amish and Mennonite family farm located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country
The family tradition of raising poultry makes a world of difference in the flavor of the chicken
Hand processed in a low volume environment, which enhances the quality and taste
Farm to table audit trail
Farms support sustainable agriculture
Certified by Pennsylvania Certified Organic and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association

Organic Chicken Philosophy

For a bird to be certified organic it must meet strict growing conditions dictated by the USDA. They need to be fed exclusively certified organic grains (non GMO's) without animal by-products, protein supplements, growth hormones, tranquilizers or antibiotics.  Also the bird must drink pure spring water without chlorine or fluoride.

In order to be free-range, the birds must be able to forage outdoors, have access to natural light and have at least 1.5 sq. ft. of indoor space. They must also be 8 weeks old, as opposed to 5 to 6 weeks of commercially raised chicken. The result is a healthier, leaner bird with a rich flavor. Be aware of terms such as "Amish", "free-roaming" and "natural".  These terms have no official definition, thus giving producers the ability to use them on labels of mass produced chickens.  Only the terms "Free-Range" and "Organic" are approved USDA terms for production conditions.

My first thought when I unwrapped the chicken was the even, white skin and the firmness of the raw bird.  The innards were in a plastic pouch and my favorite is the chicken liver which I like to roughly chop, sauté in chicken fat along with a chopped shallot, salt & pepper.  A delicious treat for the cook, served on a slice of grilled artisanal bread.
   
   
   

My next thought was that cooking the entire bird for just two people, might be too much.  I could always make chicken salad from the left-over chicken, but I wanted to have just two servings. So using my sharp kitchen shears by J.A. Henckels I cut the chicken in half lengthwise - cutting out the backbone.  There is "chicken part harmony" in our house as I enjoy eating the leg/thigh and my husband likes the breast meat.  Works out perfectly!  I stored the other half chicken in an air-tight storage bag in the freezer for another meal.

There were so many chicken preparations to choose from I finally decided on one of my favorite chicken dishes....sauté the chicken on the stovetop and then finish cooking in the oven. The dish contains, EV olive oil, chopped prosciutto, sliced fingerling potatoes, sage, garlic, white wine and S&P.  Using sea salt & mill ground black pepper when cooking is second nature to me, but I will always say the words "add salt & pepper" to my readers as I know home cooks sometimes under-season their foods while cooking which results in a bland tasting dish.
   

I was so anxious to taste this dish once I served it, I forgot to take a photo of the plate!  But trust me, it was the best tasting chicken I've ever had.  One huge difference that I noticed, was in the color of the thigh/leg meat.  It looked almost like white meat - not the dark color of leg/thigh meat from mass produced commercially raised chickens.  I don't know if that means anything, but even the bones of the D'Artagnan organic chicken weren't as dark in color as other chickens.

My next taste test for this amazing chicken was to make a traditional chicken soup.  While shopping for the ingredients to make the soup (carrot, celery, parsnips, onion, parsley) I bought one package containing all of those ingredients (see photo below) specifically to make chicken soup.  I don't know if packaging these ingredients together is something specific to New York City, but these packages of "soup greens" in New York have been around a long time on supermarket produce shelves. 
   
   

Instead of all water, I used half organic chicken stock for a more flavorful soup.  When the chicken and soup were done, I removed the chicken, deboned it and returned the chicken meat to the soup pot in pieces sized for a soup spoon (minus the skin). 

At the risk of repeating myself, this was the best chicken soup I've ever eaten!

Another favorite chicken dish of ours is a cilantro, lemon, tumeric, ginger, garlic combination served with Basmati rice and a vegetable.  The photo shows baby zucchini cut in half that were pan sautéed served with the Basmati rice.

In addition to these preparations, I have cooked so many other chicken dishes with D'Artagnan organic chicken since I "discovered" their exquisite taste - whenever you see a recipe for chicken on my website, you can be assured that even if I don't mention the name, I am cooking a D'Artagnan organic chicken.

If the top restaurateurs in New York City see fit to use D'Artagnan chicken on their menus, why not serve it in your home?  D'Artagnan products are available in many large supermarkets, specialty food stores, and can also be ordered for overnight delivery from their website.

 

 

 

 
 
           
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