Friday, June 17, 2011

how to cook a whole chicken

Sunnyside Farm raises pasture raised, GMO free feed, Food Alliance certified chicken.
That means the birds are different in taste, smell and texture. They resemble a grocery store chicken only in the bone structure, and even that is probably different in our birds.

We bring them fresh, not frozen, to market. And what do you do with a bird like this? If you have less than an hour, you can be eating the best meal..a roast chicken. On the grill or in your oven, popped into a crockpot to simmer dor the day while you are at work, easy.

Roast your bird by first rinsing it off, patting it dry. Best to start with a bird that is close to room will get the most even cooking, greatest flavor and texture if you do so. Olive oil or butter the outside, salt and pepper too. If you feel like going crazy: take fresh mustard greens, chop up and combine with softened butter, put between the skin and meat. Or a fresh lemon in the cavity, garlic cloves between the skin and meat.

Put it in the oven at 350 for about 40-45 minutes. Use an instant read thermometer, and when the temperature is about 157 in the breast, pull the bird out. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Or longer. Carve it with a knife or let it really cool and pull every bit of meat off with your fingers..and make a composed salad..lettuce under, chopped up cheese, fresh raw peas, snow peas, radish sliced super thin, hard boiled egg, carrots grated thin..cukes..whatever you have. Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or red wine) and dry mustard, pour some over. Yum. Or cook any kind of rice and mix the chicken with it, with vegetables if you have them.

Save that carcass. If you do not have time now, bag it and put it in the freezer. Add more as time goes on. On a cool day, take all those carcases and put them in a pot of water on the stove. If you have, add onion, carrot and celery chopped to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a very low simmer, and let it be on the stove for about an hour. Put your biggest bowl in the sink, a colander inside that, and pour the contents into the colander. If there is meat left save it, otherwise throw away the contents of the colander. Whats in the bowl? The best feel good item ever..home made chicken stock. Put it in containers in the freezer..some large for a more than 1 person meal, some small for a quick one person meal.

When you want a little soup, take one out and heat it up. Add leftover rice or pasta or potatoes. Whatever cooked vegetables you have on hand. Prepare for a meal that is light but incredibly satisfying. Yum.

And if you put the chicken on the grill, it is the same process. Heat that grill, oil, salt and pepper the bird (go crazy if you want with additional stuff) grill using indirect heat..if you have a Weber, get the coals that are hardwood, not the brand names that advertise, but the real hardwood charcoal. Sold at Trader Joes and others. Use a chimney to start not use charcoal fluid! Put the coals on the tray over the vents, with vents about 1/3 open. On the rack where the bird goes, put it near but not over the coals. Put the lid on, with the vent holes on the opposite sides of the bottom vents, also about 1/3 open. 40-45 minutes later, test the temperature. If the outside of the Weber is not hot, prepare the chimney with more coals so you can add.  Once temperature is 157, remove, let set for 10-15 minutes and eat. Save the bones and make stock, it will have a hint of smoky flavor. If you cook on gas will have to figure that out, as I don't know how to use a gas grill!

Need a demo? Invite yourself over for dinner, we will show you :)!

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