OK, so it’s not exactly Oreos going kosher or the advent of kosher “shrimp.” But for the kosher household scrambling to get Shabbos dinner together, Empire Kosher’s new microwaveable whole chicken might be just the ticket.
“The Ready to Roast Garlic and Herb Seasoned Chicken,” which hit stores in recent weeks, is a full-size chicken that can be cooked in the microwave in 20 minutes.
Preparation is hassle free, said Elie Rosenfeld, spokesman for Empire Kosher. “Pop the chicken — bag and all — into the microwave for 20 minutes, and it’s fully cooked. It’s ideal for kosher travelers who want to avoid frozen airline meals or parents who are tired of feeding their kids mac ‘n cheese,” he said.
Despite its un-recession-like price tag of about $15, Empire’s new bird will likely come to the rescue of countless hosts who discover at the last minute that throngs of guests have invited themselves over for Shabbat dinner.
Andrew Linder, a self-described carnivore from New Jersey, recently tasted the dish and gave it a thumbs-up. He said he was pleasantly surprised by the “juicy, tender and well-seasoned chicken.”
“It’s very convenient to make, but it’s not processed like chicken nuggets,” Linder said.
This is the first in Empire’s “Ready to Roast Line,” said Rosenfeld. Empire is now developing other chicken and turkey varieties, including smaller varieties and additional flavors.
The product has elicited raves from the blogosphere. Chaviva Galatz, who writes the “Just Call Me Chaviva” blog, opined that when she first heard about the microwaveable chicken, she was apprehensive. “I thought it was crazy,” she wrote. “You can’t buy un-kosher chicken you can cook in 20 minutes in your microwave, so why on earth would the kosher market produce something?” she mused.
A recent convert to Judaism, Galatz said what she misses most about the non-kosher market is the convenience of heat-and-eat foods, such as Lean Cuisine.
But Empire, with this latest endeavor, came pretty close to hitting a bull’s eye, she wrote.
“All I can think is that the folks at Empire realize that we’re busy — all of us, not just Jews — and having a fresh, delicious, kosher, seasoned chicken ready in 20 minutes is the best thing since sliced bread,” she wrote.
Early indications are that Empire’s innovation is selling well.
At Nassau Kosher Meats in East Meadow, L.I., cashier Helen Markman said the new product is ringing up sales. “Customers are picking it up. They seem to like it,” she said.
When they first spy the microwaveable chicken in their cases, she said, “they do seem surprised by the concept.” But as a longtime food connoisseur, Markman wasn’t content to let her customers cook it up without taking a taste. “I tried it also. It was good.”