Sunday, November 30, 2014

Eat the Skin! The Glories of Peau de Poulet

Last week I wrote about liver, how wonderful it is for us and a few ways to enjoy this nasty-tasting-but-whoa-so-good-for-you food. Well, my Darling smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving. This bird mercifully came with all it's innards intact, and last night I ground up it's heart and liver along with some grass-fed ground beef and fashioned it into chili! So yummy and no one tasted any yucky liver flavor! It's neck and some bones are currently in the slow cooker for broth, along with divine gelatinous bits that were at the bottom of the drippings pan.

This is called nose-to-tail eating, and it's they way to go, people. Use up every part of that animal! There is so much goodness in the other creature bits. Somehow we've gotten away from eating the whole bird (or pig, or cow, etc.) and it's a shame, because there is a lot of goodness to be had, not to mention the simple efficiency of it all. Especially when you're buying pastured animals (read: expensive), you don't want anything to go to waste.

Well, now that I've thoroughly grossed some of you out, I'm going to talk to you about chicken skin.
Bone-in, skin-on thighs--YUM!

Yay! Chicken skin!

You may find liver kinda nasty, but just about everyone loves a good bite of crispy skin. Sadly, however, skin is one of those foods that was put on the 'no' list during the dark, withering years of fat-phobia. It's a bit of a head-scratcher, though, because really--chicken skin doesn't even contain all that much saturated fat, which we have been erroneously taught to fear. Saturated fat is a post for another time, but even if you're very calorie conscious, eating the skin only adds about fifty calories.

A lot of people are jumping on the chicken skin bandwagon. When I started researching why we should eat the skin, I found a number of mainstream media outlets touting the 'go ahead and eat the skin' message. The reasons given were typically what I mentioned above--it's really not that bad for you, and it's yummy, so go ahead and enjoy a 'guilt-free indulgence.'

But I'm going to tell you more--not only is it 'not bad for you,' it's also GOOD for you! 

Chicken skin contains glycine, an amino acid that performs a host of functions in your body. Glycine plays a role in healthy metabolism, muscle development, sleep... wow, lots of stuff. In fact, I first learned about glycine and chicken skin in my never-ending sleep research. It's called a 'non-essential amino acid,' which means our bodies can manufacture it on their own, which is a good thing, because we'd be basically screwed without it.

Eating glycine-containing foods is a good idea. Other rich sources include bone broth and gelatin. Interestingly, muscle meats are high in another amino acid called methionine, which can deplete glycine, so that's another good reason to eat the skin.

The One 'Con'

The only caution I'd mention about skin is don't eat it every day. I learned it is quite high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6's are good for us, but they must be balanced by omega-3s, and most of us in the west get plenty of omega-6 and not enough omega-3. So maybe have some nice, wild salmon the day after eating your chicken skin.

And it's just yummy. Oh my, good, crispy chicken skin is so incredibly yummy. The best recipe I can recommend is Michelle Tam's Cracklin' Chicken, which you can find here. I will warn you that it is incredibly messy--you need a splatter screen. Or just wait until your kitchen is filthy and needs a good cleaning anyway. You will weep bitter tears if you have just scrubbed your stove top--mark my words.

The biggest fan of skin in our house is the Darling Son #1, who will troll around begging crispy skin off anyone who will listen. So if you still can't bring yourself to eat the skin, bring it on over. I have a very willing customer who will take it off your hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment