Chicken breast seasoned with roast spices and lightly wood smoked.
My household is equally matched in its opinions of sliced chicken, two of us can't stand the stuff and two of us enjoy it to varying degrees. Having run out of ham, my youngest decided that sliced chicken was on the menu for her sandwich and grabbed this. What I really liked was how easy it was for her to get it open, other brands are a real struggle and she always has to ask for help, so the joy in her voice at opening it unaided was infectious. My child, who is like myself and doesn't like shaved chicken, gave this a try and promptly gave her slice to the cat, at least the cat enjoyed it...
My other two children gave it a go, one adding it to their sandwich and the other just having it straight. The one who added it to their sandwich decided that the flavour wasn't strong enough and ended up having added a total of pieces to one sandwich before deciding it was enough and had added some good flavour. Both found that eating it straight meant they could still get enough of the flavour. I tried some but found that I still didn't like it, it was too thin and I didn't like the texture of it, I prefer something a bit more substantial when it comes to chicken. For the price and the fact that it wasn't enjoyed enough added to foods, I can't see us buying this.
When it comes to meats chicken is without any doubt my absolute favourite type of meat, so much so that I would happily have chicken at meal times each and every day and not even bother with any other types of meat if it wasn't for my meat eating partner and daughter who simply would not survive without their daily meat! Our household goes through quite a lot of different sandwich meats, mainly ham and we have loved all of the rest of the Farmland's sliced meat range which we have tried so we were looking forward to seeing how the chicken would compare!
The chicken comes in a 100gram plastic package, which is simple to open by peeling back one corner of the lid. The labeling itself is attractive and would be easy to stand out on a supermarket shelf, I love that half of the package is clear and see-through as this allows you to see the product you are purchasing before actually buying it something which I always appreciate when shopping. For a 100gram packet of meat there appeared to be a lot of meat so this product was certainly great value for money, especially as it is made here in New Zealand!
To begin with my family all sampled a slice of the chicken roll and whilst we liked it we did all agree that it really needed an extra flavour boost, on its own it was okay and you could taste the chicken flavour, but we believed that as soon as we were to pair this with more flavorsome ingredients that the chicken was likely not to be noticed at all, sadly we were right. After we had opened up the chicken it was close to lunchtime so we decided to whip up some chicken salad sandwiches using this product. We popped 3 slices of the chicken on to a slice of wholemeal bread along with some lettuce, tomato, cheese, cucumber, and mayonnaise followed lastly with another slice of bread to the top. As nice as the sandwiches were we sadly couldn't taste the chicken through the tomato and mayonnaise.
With the remaining chicken slices, I prepared a homemade pizza. I chopped up the chicken and some bacon and sprinkled these over a tomato sauce base, which I then added capsicum, mushroom, pineapple, and cheese to. Sadly once again the chicken was hardly able to be tasted through the other rich flavoursome ingredients, you could see it but it could not be tasted.
As much as I have loved the rest of the Farmlands products I have tried this one is not for me, however, I do believe that perhaps making a sliced chicken product with herbs or similar could perhaps be a much better option.
The thing I love about meat is the texture. Being able to tear through the meat breaking apart the filaments. It's why I will always prefer the KFC Zinger Burger over the McDonald's McChicken, as the McChicken patties are made from blended meat that loses the natural filament structure, compared to the Zinger pattie which is glorious in comparison. It is also why I generally prefer to purchase either a whole chicken or the shredded chicken option from the delicatessens at the supermarket. Sliced chicken, especially sliced this thinly, does feel rather highly processed. In fact, if you look at the ingredients, only 70% of the weight of these chicken slices are actually made up of chicken. But as this is a product that I haven't tried yet, I'm willing to give it a try.
The product comes in a plastic tray, with a clear window that allows full transparency when viewing the meat. Sealed well, but the plastic sheet on top does tear easily which makes closing the packet after opening a less than viable option. The slices are incredibly thinly sliced, to the point that there is a slight transparency value to it. It has a thin rind along the edge, but it is not particularly tough, so it doesn't create a fuss if you eat it. The slim nature of the meat, combined with the fact that chicken does naturally have a rather subtle flavour, means that you really need a few slices if you were to make a sandwich with it, as the flavour would not really come through with only a single slice. But this is coming from a man that can eat six cheeseburgers in a single meal; large quantities and strong flavours are what I crave.
Where this meat would excel is when subtlety is needed, and lower calorie options are wanted. This product has less than a gram of fat and sugar with two-thirds of the calories or less when compared to the other varieties. If weight loss and portion control were the aims of my game, this would be ideal. The product gives me very standardised sized slices and a much longer shelf-life than many other deli slices of meat
This is not for me though. My love for natural meat texture is too strong. Thinly sliced processed chicken just cannot compare.
Preserved meat that is versatile enough to be used cold with a salad or as a sandwich filling as well as being served hot is always a useful item to have on hand. I don't like buying loose slices as there is always some uncertainty as to how long they can be safely stored, even if they are overwrapped and kept in the fridge. This product is sealed away from possible contaminants and the expiry date is clearly printed on the label, so this makes it a far safer - and more convenient - option. The packaging is transparent so the contents can be easily seen, and once opened, any remaining slices are good for five days as long as they are kept chilled.
I am a great fan of chicken sandwiches, so my first experiment was totally predictable. I used some thick sliced farmhouse bread as the base then added chicken, lettuce, sliced tomato, and a dash of light mayonnaise - nothing too strongly flavoured because I wanted to ensure I could taste the meat. Because the chicken is fine sliced, I included two pieces as I thought one might not be quite enough. I am glad I did this because a single slice would certainly have been overwhelmed by the other ingredients.
For dinner, I had planned a creamed vegetable pie. I had purchased these in the past and found that, although they were pleasant enough, they did not have enough flavour for me. My idea was to make some chicken rolls and decorate the pastry with them. These pies are big enough for two people, so I invited one of my friends to come and share it with me and give me his opinion on the chicken at the same time. He is a meat lover so a good person to help out.
Our meal was otherwise very plain - mashed potato, half the pie each, and several rolls of chicken to add protein and more flavour. We were both hungry so started eating in silence, but after he had eaten his second chicken roll, he admitted to thinking at first that I was feeding him luncheon meat, so he was very pleased to discover that the meat had an authentic chicken taste. I too had realised this quickly. When it was part of a sandwich the flavour was not so apparent, but served with the pie it was unmistakeably chicken flavoured.
It is important to be creative with this product so that the full chicken effect is apparent. My sandwich might have been better without tomatoes as they have the tendency to mask more delicate flavours. As a pie topping, however, the flavour was much more pronounced. Next time I plan to try the chicken on its own with a side salad rather than incorporating it with other dishes.
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