Chicken is healthy and tasty, of course. And there are so many different ways to prepare it, yes. But let’s be honest, it can start to taste the same if it’s the only meat we consume. Not to mention, very few of us have the time it takes to put together a delicious chicken dish on a daily basis.
We know protein is the staple of a healthy diet. For those of us who eat meat, chicken is usually our primary protein source. This is true for a number a reasons. It’s lean (say, compared to beef), it’s widely available, and there are so many chicken recipes out there. Even though we’re sick of it, though, rarely do we consider the alternatives.
Wildfowl, a fancy name for birds that live in nature, are great alternatives to consider. While they compare similarly to chicken from a nutritional standpoint, they offer us entirely new tastes to explore so we can get that variety we crave without sacrificing our health.
Substitute #1 – turkey
For those of you who don’t want to venture too far away from chicken, consider wild turkey. Turkey is available next to chicken in most grocery stores so you’ve probably tasted it before. But unless you know someone who hunts turkey, you probably haven’t had it wild before. Wild turkey tastes a bit gamier compared to grocery store-bought turkey. That is, it is slightly chewier and has what many describe as a more complex taste. This is because wild turkey are more active throughout their life than farm-raised turkey. The result is more developed and dense muscles.
Substitute #2 – duck
Duck meat is widely consumed in many Asian countries but it has not gained the same popularity in the western countries. This is largely due to cultural and popular taste preferences. Duck has a slightly richer taste. This is because it contains almost 4x as much unsaturated fat (the good kind) as turkey. While not as popular as turkey, duck is still fairly easy to find if you know where to look. Many Asian grocery stores will carry duck and most Asian restaurants will offer at least one duck-based dish. Note however, that many of these dishes are prepared in sauces that can be high in fat, sugar, and/or salt. If you’re feeling adventurous and looking to introduce variety into your activities as well as your diet, consider going on a hunt to get the duck meat yourself!
Substitute #3 – pheasant
Of the two substitutes suggested thus far, pheasant is certainly the least known and least consumed. Pheasant are beautiful birds that, although native to East Asia, now flourish all over the world in places such as the United Kingdom and United States. Pheasant is a very popular game bird and a taste for it hasn’t taken hold in the same way that one for chicken, turkey, and duck have. However, it’s definitely worthwhile to try because of the complex taste it offers, which is quite a bit gamier than that of wild turkey and/or duck. If you don’t know someone who hunts pheasant, you should be able to find it in some specialty meat shops. However, you may be hard-pressed to find a pheasant-based dish in restaurants.