Chicken Party!

I already told you all about sending our birds to the slaughterhouse. Mike and I can both say, without hesitation, that it was the best $70 we’ve probably ever spent! A million times better than spending a weekend butchering at home. To celebrate we ate chicken this weekend.

First up, stock. I cracked the last quart of my homemade stock a week or so ago so it’s time to re-up. Three small bantam birds when into my stock pot with carrots, celery, onions (skins on), fresh thyme,  some bay leaves, and whole peppercorns. I topped it with cold water, brought it to a simmer, and then lowered the heat and let it gently bubble away all afternoon.

Later I tossed the used up veg and poured the stock through cheesecloth. It went into the fridge and in a day or two I’ll skim the fat, reheat, and pressure can. Homemade stock is a pantry essential. And it’s super easy. Go make some.

Next up, chicken for baby. I put a bantam hen in the crock pot with carrots and celery and fresh thyme. When it was done I pulled the meat from the carcass and chopped it up.

chickensparty002Dark and white meat all mixed together – the way it should be. I pulsed the meat in my food processor with some of the cooking liquid and made baby friendly chicken. It tasted really good and she loved it. She ate it alongside some carrots we scored from Birdsong Farm at the Haymaker Farmers’ Market.

Birdsong’s carrots are so good they don’t need anything so I just steamed ’em a little and smushed ’em up. On a side note, Ellie (so far) is a pretty good eater. Bananas, avocados, pears, nectarines, apples, peas, green beans, egg yolks, carrots, and now chicken. I’m so proud. Especially about the egg yolks.

carrots04

And finally, dinner for mom and dad. Way back at Easter my aunt and uncle gave us 4 chicks. Two were laying hens and the other two turned out to be broilers. Broilers, aka Cornish Rock Cross, are ready to butcher in just 8-10 weeks. But 8-10 weeks after Easter we had a baby so it wasn’t a high priority.

We lost one of them to a predator but the other has been hanging out ever since. She was a sweet bird and even though she was technically past her prime she still managed to get out on the grass and peck around a bit. But she was big. So big that the woman at the slaughterhouse made a comment to my father-in-law about her size.

I weighed her – 8.5lbs all dressed out. Good lord.  A small turkey. I decided I’d roast her.

I seasoned the cavity with salt and pepper and then stuffed it with a chopped onion, some lemon slices, and some fresh thyme. I rubbed the whole bird with olive oil, seasoned very liberally with salt and pepper, and then roasted it along with some homegrown potatoes (thanks in-laws!), Birdsong turnips, and Breezy Hill onions.

It. Was. AWESOME!

Oh my goodness. It was easily one of the best roast chickens I’ve ever done. Mike was busy installing our new pellet stove so we didn’t sit down to eat together. Instead, I pretended to listen to him talk about pellets and fans and fuel savings while standing over the carcass cutting off slivers of meat and dunking them into the pan juice.

When I was about to clean up he asked if I’d taken any pictures. Nope.

Here’s the aftermath. (My shoddy carving is the left hand side). Boy oh boy was this good. Tender and juicy with perfectly crisp, salty skin. There is really nothing better than a Sunday roast chicken, especially when it’s one of your own.

chickenparty001

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About Barton Farms and Gardens

My husband and I are bringing an old family farm back to life.
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