The worlds most popular poultry is loved by young and old, so it is only right it has its own day.
The second Thursday in October is known as World Chicken Day. And why the cluck not?
From the sticky chicken wings to a crispy drumstick, chicken strips, burgers or à la king, there’s no denying the deliciousness and versatility of this meat.
At a recent pot luck with a group, chicken was the unintentional star of the show with the white meat featuring in almost every dish - from a creamy chicken and mushroom to butter chicken, to chicken kebabs and roast chicken.
We were surprised to see how many chicken dishes there were, each one different from the next.
Some of the biggest fast food restaurants in the world built their success on the humble chicken- KFC, Nando’s, Chicken Licken, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, to name a few.
Cocotte, la french rôtisserie is a French style chicken eatery in Sea Point.
Cocotte is a child’s name for “hen”, or French slang for baby chicken or chicks.
Co-owner Catherine Lauria says chicken is not only good, but ‘pleases the whole family from parents to kids”.
Lauria explains the difference between the portions and why we love it so much.
“Chicken is very good when eaten warm. You can eat it with mayo, or a low fat herb sauce or just with Dijon mustard like the French do. The next day if you have leftovers, cold chicken is delicious with a green salad and Dijon mustard.
“Darker meat from the bird, things like chicken legs, chicken wings and chicken thighs, have a higher fat content than the white breast meat, mainly because they contain more connective tissue which hold the fat.
“That said, just as with beef and red meat, that connective tissue is amazing in its own right for distributing moisture in the cooking process, making chicken taste amazing.
“It’s for this reason that chicken thighs and wings taste incredible when they’re slow roasted, because the fat and collagen melts and keeps the meat tender and juicy during the cooking process.”
There is no doubt that South Africans love chicken, be it on the braai, in a stew or from their favourite fast food restaurant.
And so do the French, as Lauria explains.
“Chicken is very, very healthy and délicieux (delicious). The French are going to the rotisserie to buy their chicken like they are going to the boulangerie to buy their baguette.”
“In France, rotisserie is a strong part of the French culinary heritage, dating back to 1248, when King Louis IX ordered the establishment of guilds, including one called ‘Les Oyeurs’ or ‘goose roasters’.
“By 1509, when King Louis XII was in power, the guild’s knowledge was extended to include the preparation of other meats, including poultry and venison,” she says.
Lauria adds: “Delphine (her business partner) and I, we are passionate about food and we were wanting South African people to discover this French tradition and Cocotte’s goal is to bring that simple but delicious and healthy food to South Africa.”
Rotisseries are widespread across French cities and celebrates the traditional way of cooking chicken at a very slow rotation.
“The slow rotation intensifies the flavour, resulting in tender, delicious tasting meat.
“It also roasts without retaining fats and oils and without the charring effect of barbecuing. This results in a chicken that is healthier and juicier,” Lauria says.
So here’s to the cluck!