Ever since reading Jacques Pepin’s memoires about cooking chicken in his home-region of Bresse, I’ve wanted to try one of the birds myself. And long before leaving for France, acquiring and cooking a Bresse bird was firmly on my list of things to do while in Burgundy. AOC chicken. I had to try it.
Admittedly, I wasn’t aware that buying such a bird would be so costly. Twenty-odd €. My inner cheap-ass cringed, but my to-do list was resolved, and we bought the bird at the market in Chagny from Ferme des Gautheys.
Luckily, for that volume of dough, the farmer will prepare the bird – removing the head, the organs, feet, trussing, and so on. They also provided us with directions to cook it for 2:15 at 180C. Precisely. No fat was to be added. Only salt and pepper.
The expectations ran high.
Verdict? Their cooking instructions were bang on, firstly. Thankfully. There is certainly a noticeable difference in intensity of flavor. They who are used to their boneless-skinless-breasts may not even recognize the flavors as chicken. It’s richer, denser, and more fragrant than I believe we’re used to here. If you appreciate intensity of flavor in your meats, this bird is for you.
The final thoughts crossing my mind as we ate the Bresse chicken soup a couple days later? [you're damn right we made stock from that bird, at that price] “I see why the fuss – definitely a difference in quality. Worth every penny to try, and have experienced. But man, it falls short on QPR [quality/price ratio]“.