The Poulet Rouge Challenge
Back when it was cold and rainy outside, my friend Justin Marx approached a group of folks with an amazing offer. He had a shipment of beautiful heritage poultry coming in, and he wanted to give it away. The only condition was that we did something interesting with it, and we wrote about it.
I was crazy enough to take him up on the offer, and took several birds off his hands - specifically 3 poulet rouge and 3 pheasant
. The birds mocked me from the confines of the freezer until I could come up with suitably interesting treatments - but when I was ready, the poulet rouge came out first.
A poulet rouge is a small heritage breed of chicken. It is deeply flavorful, meaty, but lean. It's smaller than a grocery store chicken, and even smaller than a grocery store free-range bird, but perfect for 2 people with a few leftovers for the next day.
I decided I wanted to use these in recipes that would typically call for chicken or pigeon, and because I also got 3 pheasants that would go well in some fairly traditional preparations, I picked a part of the world - the Middle East and North Africa - that I felt would allow me to explore spices and flavors that were a little less traditional. I picked dishes from Morocco, Persia (Iran) and Palestine for this challenge, and I'm thrilled with the results of each.