Chicken with a texture and well-developed flavour that attracts the attention of leading chefs and speciality food retail outlets is a rare bird these days. But, since 2004, producing really good chickens been one of Maurice Kettyle's main aims at Kettyle Irish Foods.
This innovative food company developed out of their 500 acre family farm in Co Fermanagh, and now produces a variety of speciality food products, such as dry-aged beef, Lough Erne lamb, naturally reared Irish rose veal - and chickens raised for flavour.
The beef, in particular, is now well known and is proudly credited on some of the best restaurant menus in Ireland and Britain. The chicken, however, has been a well-kept secret until recently. No ordinary chickens, they follow a carefully planned programme of good husbandry, welfare and feeding - and they are genuinely free to roam and scratch around outside in paddocks.
Like all animals, a stress-free end also has a beneficial effect on the eating quality; add skilled butchery, a processing system that does not use water and the end result is tender, fully-flavoured, succulent flesh chicken like it used to be.