Friday, June 1, 2012

A Chicken Story

We have had a number of inquiries about how much chicken two people need in a week, or how best to use the chicken. We thought we might share the journey of a chicken in our kitchen.

Let's assume we start with a whole, fresh chicken weighing about 6 lbs, which is actually on the small side for our farm.

1. First thing we would probably do is take the wings off the bird. The wings don't do anything really special when roasted, but turned into hot wings are amazing. We keep a zip lock bag in the freezer. Once that bag hits about 6 full wings, we know we have a dozen split wings (like you get in a bar) which is plenty for the two of us to pig out on.

2. I love to brine poultry. It keeps it super moist, and lets us experiment with all kinds of flavors. You can find all kind of recipes for brine online, we usually play around and add some herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary).

3. Once the chicken has been set in a brine- it becomes a roaster. Usually, we roast with a mix of carrots, potatoes, kale and onions directly underneath the roasting tray. That way- it's a full meal with a nice side salad. The recommended serving size for an adult of meat is about 1/3lb. We probably average closer to 1/2lb after a full day of farm work. Well, at least I do.

4. Once the chicken has cooled down a bit, we 'pick it'. This means, we clean a bunch of meat from the carcass. I usually set aside about 11/2cups for chicken salad for lunches the next day.  Curried chicken salad is a favorite on homemade bread. Of course, it can also be used as chicken for tacos or burritos, mixed in with rice and veggies etc. The rest is for soup.

5. Truth be told, I firmly believe the best stock doesn't come from an already cooked carcass. But, wasting isn't in the farmers nature, and the stock tastes pretty darn good. So, in a large pot, we set whatever is left from the roaster (picked meat aside) along with half an onion, salt, a bay leaf, maybe some herbs, and  couple cloves of garlic and let it slooooowlllly simmer covered in water for several hours, covered. Then we strain the stock, and leave enough out for a batch of soup (maybe 4 cups for a small batch). The rest is put into containers and stored for a rainy day.

6. Chicken soup. A good chicken soup can heal you, warm you up, and keep you going. In a later post, we will outline how to make an easy one.Usually, we make a batch up, and keep it in the fridge for lunches, or a quick snack on the go. 

This way, we usually get at least 4 meals from one bird, all of them different, and all of them delicious!

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