Some of the things that consumers think about food and the health properties of specific foods are just strange. For instance many people think that brown eggs are healthier than white eggs when actually shell color simply indicates that the egg came from a colored chicken (black, brown or red) if the egg is brown shelled and from a white chicken if the egg is white. There’s no difference in the contents of the egg at all, yet people will pay a higher price for “healthier” brown eggs.
Apparently there is a similar conception about light and dark meat. I’ve always known that some people preferred breast and some thighs, but apparently in the U.S. white is perceived as being so superior to thigh meat that we export most of our thigh meat.
Now according to this article in Slate (thanks to Laura at 11D) our major customer, Russia, is cutting back on American thighs as their own chicken industry grows, and we now have to figure out what to do with all of the dark meat. The answer seems to be taking the color and fat out of it and turning it into chicken nuggets…….
Now this exporting of thighs seems silly to me. For one thing, buying whole chickens is almost always cheaper than buying pieces of a chicken even in the grocery store. For another thing, pastured poultry producers sell their chickens whole, and their customers happily buy and use the thighs, wings, gizzards and necks.
So what do you do with thigh meat?
You can make almost any baked chicken recipe with it and it will turn out as well or better than the same recipes made with breast meat. Thighs don’t tend to dry out.
Thigh meat is awesome for stewing and soups as it has the flavor to stand up to other ingredients without being overwhelmed.
Keep checking back here for more uses for all the parts of the bird…