Thursday, March 15, 2012

They were just running around yesterday...

Shopping for food has been a huge adjustment for me.  Case in point:  chickens.  I've found some nice poultry vendors at the Mercat Galvany (Monica Avirum or something like that)... developing a rapport with the vendors is very important to me.  That's also the key to getting better service, or just learning more about what you're getting or what you can special order...

Here at Monica's, they carry lots of interesting poultry and prepared foods.  They also sell rabbit, which i'm still curious about.  I tried the "Cordoniz" which i'm not sure if it's a cornish hen or a poussin.  Actually, I'm not sure anymore if it was the Cordoniz that I got or the really tiny little guys at the bottom left of this picture here.

But their whole chicken is what I usually get... though i've been getting the "conventionally" raised birds rather than the organic or cage free birds that I prefer (on principle).  It's strange - in LA, when I'd get my chicken from Lily's Eggs (at the Hollywood or Santa Monica Farmers markets), they'd be 3-4 pounds each - small birds.  But here - the pasture raised hens are huge - like 6 pounds or so. 
But those pasture raised hens are like 18 Euros each - way too expensive.  That's like $25!  These birds pictured above are the conventional ones.  And they are very fresh - they were just alive and running around the day before!  They still have the heads attached and they have their innards.  So when you get a chicken from these market vendors - the people behind the counter provide full-service. 

 I wanted my chicken butterflied for this one recipe I was trying out.  So without hesitation, Jessica grabbed a chicken, lopped off the head, trimmed the feet, butterflied and gutted it... saving the gizzards and liver for me.  Even the cheap chicken is expensive and I'm not letting any of it go to waste. 

They also usually have carcasses available if you're looking to make stock or broth... but if there aren't any available, they'll just grab a chicken, remove the parts, clean out the interior, and in about a minute, you have a carcass with a good amount of meat to add extra flavor to your stock/soup.  I made lots of stock this year.  I wish I had a bigger stock pan - my biggest pot is pretty small... I could hardly get enough stock for one soup recipe.  The carcasses are pretty cheap - like a euro or 2... and they will toss in a handful of Italian parsley sprigs if you ask. 

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