I can do a lot with a chicken. Dub worries about the chickens out back whenever we have chicken for dinner. I know this because whenever I reference his dinner as “chicken” he looks out the back window and furrows his brow. Roasting a chicken is an almost effortless ordeal, as it has become second nature for me. It’s an easy dinner, with a fail safe method that I can fall back on if I am in a pinch, and if we are having people over for dinner it’s delicious enough to impress. It works as a whole roast chicken, or roasted and then broken up and added to red sauce and pasta, or tacos, etc., etc.
I always save the carcass and any leftover bones in the freezer and once I have enough I make chicken stock. Homemade stock is also the easiest thing ever, and totally amazing.
I found my chicken roasting method on Smitten Kitchen, but as far as the recipe goes, I work with what I have. Grass-fed butter, and mineral sea salt never let me down, and as far as seasonings go I use whatever is fresh. Failing fresh, I tend to use dried rosemary or thyme. I will just mince garlic and mix that with butter, salt, and an herb and it’s good to go.
This is how I do chicken.
Preheat oven to 475.
Rinse and remove neck and heart/liver etc.
Pat dry with a cute old tea towel.
Snip at the base of each leg.
Lift up the skin and the front of each side of the breasts like so…
Mix softened butter with salt, fresh garlic, and your herbs of choice. Pick that up with your fingers and mush it all up under that chicken’s skin.
Place chicken and chicken parts in a cast iron pan that has been heated well on the stove top (to prevent the chicken from sticking). Place pan in oven and set your timer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes your chicken will look about like this.
Remove from pan. Drain grease, and I even wipe the pan out at this point because that grease tends to ruin the precious crispy skin. Flip the bird over and put back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, depending on the size.
After that, re-flip the chicken and cook another 5-10 minutes.
Finish by broiling for 2 minutes.
The other night I made a red sauce by quickly dipping tomatoes in simmering water and removing their skins, adding the tomato meat to a large pot with garlic, onions, basil, oregano, sea salt, rosemary, and garlic powder, and stewing for an hour or so. I boiled water and cooked some Einkorn pasta al dente. Once the chicken was done I broke the breasts up and added them to the red sauce and topped it off with a lovely, perfectly ripe heirloom tomato.
Right now that chicken carcass (along with a few other fallen soldiers) is simmering away on my stove, making this house smell GOOD. Chicken stock is as simple as this.
A large stock pot filled with cold water.
A whole raw chicken, or a few chicken carcasses.
A couple of carrots chopped.
A couple of celery sticks chopped.
An onion chopped.
A couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Ice (or if my chickens are frozen, I don’t worry about the ice).
Put all together in pot, cover and let sit for about an hour.
After that, bring to a boil, skim scum from surface of the water (many impurities rise to the top with the scum, according to my friend Sally), then add salt, cover, and lower heat and let simmer 12-24 hours. I always do 24 hours. Check to make sure the heat isn’t too high, it should be just barely simmering.
Check on it every few hours to ensure that the liquid isn’t evaporating too much. With a lid on I only have to add about 2 quarts of water in a 24 hour period.
In the last 10 minutes or so add a bunch of flat leaf parsley.
After 12-24 hours turn off heat and allow to cool just slightly so you can carry it to the sink.
Place a colander over a large bowl and pour carefully to avoid splashes and a steam burn (which may or may not happen to me every. single. time. because I am just that smart).
Now all you have to do is transfer to large storage vessels (I use two-quart mason jars) allowing a few inches of room for expansion (if freezing).
Bam. You now have a rich and healthy bone broth from what most people would have just put in the trash. Thank you for using all of the animal. Thanks God for making such awesome awesomeness.
Now, what post would be complete without a picture of the little man?
Growing so fast. Next up, I have made TRUE sourdough starter! I made and kept a starter for years, but this one uses no sweetener to kickstart the fermentation so it is Sally Fallon approved. Time for the seriously most amazeballs bread you have ever eaten, ever. Also, yogurt herb bread. They are both grains that have been properly soaked by very different methods.