Twitter is a wonderful place. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
One of my big pushes for 2009 and continuing into 2010 has been to really get to know the people who make the food I eat. The farmers markets in Kansas City make that very easy to do with produce, less so with meat. That’s not to say there are no meat producers selling at farmers markets, but there are not a lot. And those that do appear at farmers markets tend to sell non-traditional meats.
That’s why I was so happy to meet Greensbury Market via Twitter. Not only did I get to interact with people who know meat farmers, I also have met people who want the same things from their protein that I want. Name, we want our meat to be healthy, local, sustainable, delicious.
According to their site, Greensbury Market was started by four “meat guys” who wanted sustainable, local, organic meat. As the story goes, they quickly realized other people wanted the same thing, but didn’t have the time to find or the access to the farmers who were making their meat the right way.
Fast forward a few years and today, they offer organic beef, chicken, and pork with products including
- steaks (several cuts)
- all beef hotdogs
- chicken breasts
- chicken sausage
- pork chops
- Italian pork sausage
Now, because they are awesome Greensbury Market sent me a sample of both their organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a couple of organic steaks. Both were frozen and came in vacuum sealed bags. We’ll get to the steaks in another post and just talk about the chicken breasts for now.
First of all, I will admit to having reservations about the fact that the breasts were frozen. While it’s probably unreasonable to expect someone from Greensbury Market to drive to Kansas and slaughter a chicken at my door (not to mention creepy and more than a little illegal) there is always something about meat that’s been frozen. It’s … well … thawed.
Undeterred, I put a couple chicken breasts in the refrigerator and came back the next day to find two perfect looking, whitish-tan chicken breasts that, quite frankly, looked better than the ones in the store. That was a good sign.
I had plans for those chicken breasts (see recipe below), but I wanted to give you, the reader, the fairest assessment of the chicken breasts that I could: the Blog Well Done Official Chicken Test. (What, you didn’t know there was an Official Chicken Test?) It’s pretty simple. I seasoned the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and pan seared it for about 6 minutes on a side and then removed it to a plate. I let it sit for a few minutes and then dove in.
So, the main complaint about chicken is that it’s boring, right? Sort of flat and flavorless? Good news O gentle reader. The Greensbury Market chicken breasts were full of a mild, sweet, but earthy flavor that you don’t get from the frozen bags of chicken from the store.
Which is good. However, there’s one small problem: price. Greensbury Market is not going to replace my weekly trips to my local Hen House anytime soon (come on lotto!). However, the best dishes come from the best ingredients so, next time I have a dinner party and want an ace in the hole, I am so going to order some more meat from them and make something fantastic(er).
Okay, so know that you know they’re good, what did I have in mind for those chicken breasts?
Naked Buffalo Strips
(That manages to sound racy and disturbing at the same time, doesn’t it?)
Anyway, my thought was to marinate the chicken the same way I would marinate buffalo wings, then bake in the oven until done and serve with buffalo sauce and ranch. Sounds good, huh?
Making Naked Buffalo Strips
This recipe is all about the brine, which I cheerfully stole and repurposed from Chef Robert Irvine of Dinner Impossible fame. Even the little bit he reveals on his show never lets me down.
Oh, and don’t worry, this looks like a lot of ingredients, but they all pretty much get poured together. It’s easy. Promise!
You will need:
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 habanero with four slits cut in the bottom
- 4 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1/4 brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white pepper (or black if you don’t have white)
- 4 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 4 Greensbury Market chicken breasts cut into tenders
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 bottle hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- Ranch dressing
In a gallon bag or large plastic container with a snug lid (word of advice, look for the lid BEFORE you pour the stuff in there. I never do and half the time I can’t find a lid. Just saying.) pour in the salt, broth, habanero, garlic, brown sugar, white pepper, paprika, and chicken. Seal and let the chicken brine for about an hour (or more.)
After the chicken has been brined, preheat the oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and put the tenders on it, careful not to crowd the chicken too much. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
(Quick note: pour out the brine into the sink and forget about it. Seriously. Even looking at that brine is enough to give you salmonella. Well, that last part was a joke, but don’t try to reuse it.)
While the chicken is cooking, make the buffalo sauce by melting the stick of butter and adding the hot sauce and cayenne. Then stir well.
Serve the chicken on a bed of rice with the buffalo sauce and ranch dressing on the side. Enjoy!