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The French claim the finest chickens in the world, the volaille de Bresse. Little ones are poussins; a coquelet is a young rooster; a young hen is poulette.

A coq is a cockeral, who might end up in coq au vin; a poule is a laying hen or older bird, perfect for a poule au pot. Pout if anyone calls you a poule mouillée (‘wet hen’)—a wimp.

Poularde and Chapons are plump neutered birds, often served on the holiday table.

A poulet jaune is a chicken that was fed partly on maize; they tend to be fatter than a poulet blanc, fed on wheat and alfalfa. A poulet fermier was raised on a farm rather than in a factory; elevée en plein aire means free range.

Chicken parts

abats: giblets (the liver, heart, gizzard, neck)

ailes: wings

crête de coq: cockscomb. A favourite in Lyon, stewed.

cuisses: thighs

filets: chicken breasts (also called blancs de poulet). They are nearly always sold de-boned (unfortunately)

pilons: drumsticks

sot-l'y-laisse: the small tender bits of dark meat on the back, called oysters in English; in French also call them huîtres de poulet.

Suprêmes de poulet

suprême: the breast and the upper part of the wing


Text © Dana Facaros

Images by danghanfoto, mon marche