A few weeks ago Anne-Marie from My Happy Kitchen and I were invited by Ghislaine Melman to learn more about Label Rouge chicken. During a 4 course lunch at Restaurant Kaagman & Kortekaas in Amsterdam we learned more about the origin, the quality and maybe the most important: the taste of this high quality label.
Label Rouge is a 50 years old quality label that was created in the 60’s in France. As French producers of poultry were getting more and more concerned about the emerging industrialisation and therefore also the quality of the produce in the country. They created a label that guaranteed the quality and also the taste of their produce. Nowadays 62% of all the chickens consumed in France are Label Rouge chickens and they have also expanded to other things than poultry such as beef, veal, eggs, flowers and honey.
The chickens are traditional free range chickens and can be compared to the Dutch Beter Leven three-star label. Once you know about these labels and you focus more on these labels in the supermarket you see there are hardly three star labels available in The Netherlands. Luckily Label Rouge chicken is also available in The Netherlands.
The Label Rouge chickens are slow growing breeds that live at least 81 days. They have a varied healthy diet and live most of the time outside. This results in a chicken that has a smoother texture, look better, loose less water during the preparation and have a superior flavour.
There are more than 40 different breeds of chickens but it can be brought back to 3 main differences: the yellow chicken, the black chicken en the white chicken. In The Netherlands you can buy the Label Rouge chicken at Albert Heijn and, if you have a entrance card, at Sligro.
I have prepared this chicken the traditional way: as a whole chicken and in the oven to get the most crispy skin.
Ingredients (Serves 4 people)
1 Label Rouge chicken
half a lemon
75 gram butter
Preheat the oven at 150 degrees Celcius
Remove the package and the elastic bands that hold together the legs
Make small nubs of butter
Carefully detach the skin of the chicken from the meat by slowly moving your index finger between it. Detach the filet and try also to do the legs as this can be a bit harder without tearing it.
Place the nubs of butter between the skin and the meat and divide over the chicken as much as possible
Rub the skin of the skin of the chicken with salt and curry powder
Stuff the chicken with the halved lemon. This provides the juiciness.
Place the chicken on a rack and into a oven tray. The advantage of putting it on a rack is that the bottom of the chicken gets more crispy. You also have the possibility to put some sliced potatoes in the baking tray. They will get baked in the chicken fat which is absolutely delicious.
Put the chicken in the oven for 2 hours at 150 degrees. You can also prepare it at a higher temperature (180-200 degrees) for an hour but this can make it less moist.
To check if the chicken is done, you can check with a thermometer or cut the leg of. The Label Rouge chicken is so tender it just falls off. Do not be afraid for some pink juice, this doesn't mean it isn’t cooked.
Serving the chicken as whole is nice as a centerpiece, but it does need some carving skills of your guests. The other option is to slice it in the kitchen and serve it carved.
Oh and soon more about the fantastic lunch we had at Restaurant Kaagman & Kortekaas!