BREAST FRAMES? IN THE GROCERY STORE??
It’s true, and they cost a mere $.99 a pound. One of my all time favorite markets is Uwajimaya where I shop regularly in the new Bellevue store, east of Lake Washington. Owned and operated by Seattle’s Moriguchi family, Uwajimaya’s bright blue roof has symbolized multi national foods for northwest shoppers and tourists since 1962, when the Seattle store opened in the center of the International District.
The huge inventory of fresh, frozen, refrigerated and shelved Asian foods is both fascinating and mind-boggling. Not only are many product labels written in Asian languages, but shoppers are faced with choosing among 40 or so brands of Soy Sauce, noodles and other staple Asian foods. On each visit I select a new product to Google search when I get home.
Uwajimaya’s fish department is amazing, and with the experienced help of fishmonger Gordie, I have bought perfectly fresh and perfectly cut fish each time. While Gordie cuts and skins, I stare at the live lobsters, mussels and crab or admire package after package of specially prepared seafood cut for sashimi and sushi.
The meat department is staffed with butchers who actually cut the meat on site (there’s a concept!). In addition to its wide range of traditional cuts of fresh red meat are others with special cuts of pork, many of which are unfamiliar. I have tried several that were tender, delicious and cheaper per pound than any other market where I have shopped.
Last week, after buying gorgeous Black Cod and ambling through two or three aisles of mystery Asian products, I decided to look at the poultry options. They seemed pretty standard with the additions of previously frozen duck and multiple trays of chicken hearts, livers, gizzards and chicken feet. Then there they were, four packages of Breast Frames. Not quite as sensuous as the name might imply, each package contained 4 chicken frames with a good deal of breast meat still attached.
Along with a stock bag of vegetables, one package easily produced 6 quarts of stock, chunks of cooked breast pieces and lots of scrap meat, all for $3.64. If you are a stickler for financial transparency, add on the cost of a few pinches of salt, 15 or 20 black peppercorns and 3 tsp. dried thyme.
I wanted the breast meat to cook through and remain tender, so I removed the frames after twenty minutes, took the breast meat off the bones, returned the frames to the pot and simmered the stock for another 90 minutes.
When the stock was done, I strained it, separated the frames from vegetables and removed the scrap meat. Weighed together the breast and scrap meat totaled just under 2#, and there were 6 quarts of delicious stock.
Here are some ideas for using the stock and meat:
Chicken Soup: stock, ½ breast meat/ ½ scrap meat
Chicken and Dumplings: scrap meat
Chicken Meatballs: scrap meat with fresh chicken sausage added
Chicken Quesadilla, Empanada, Taco or Burrito: scrap meat
Spring Rolls with Chicken: scrap meat
Chicken Salad Sandwich: half scrap, half breast meat
Chicken Omelet: Scrap meat