Monday, June 25, 2012

First, You Take The Chicken...

I feel like chicken chicken tonight!
Roasting a chicken is something that I do…oh, at least twice a month.  It makes excellent leftovers, and makes the house smell divine while it cooks:  The only thing is, it’s not the speediest process in the world. But being willing to plan ahead a little for chicken thawing,  chopping some vegetables, throwing oil on the bird, and putting some kind of spice rub on the outside (and in the cavity) - really does yield a lot of bang for the buck- with the bonus that you don’t have to stand over a stove. 

We lucked out with our Tara Firma Farms  box a few weeks ago: We got a bona-fide pastured chicken in with our meat share. We usually buy the double pack organic whole chickens from Costco, which is still a great option- and they aren’t $25+ each! So this was a welcome novelty.

The only thing is….I ended up roasting the chicken in the oven tonight, because I ran out of time.  Usually at this time of the year, I hate the thought of heating up the house, but DINNER MUST BE MADE.  And honestly, I think it was worth it! I just preheated the oven to 375, tossed baby carrots and onions and snap peas in the bottom of the trusty Dutch oven, oiled and spiced the chicken up (I also may have violated it with an onion) and nestled it in the middle of the veg. Popped the lid on. 1.5 hours later, chicken goodness was ours.
                            Here's proof: 
If you’re now hankering for chicken, I have a few ideas that are more “heat-friendly”. If you literally want to fix it and forget it, one of my favorite chicken roasting methods is here, at A Year of Slow Cooking.

That’s right, you can “roast” a chicken in a crock pot, and it turns out a little zippy, savory, and amazing. The skin won’t be crisp like a traditionally roasted bird, but it’s still flavorful- and easy-and incredibly tender! 

 Or, if you don’t want to spring for the rotisserie (we simply don’t have room, why give your counter space away to another seldom-used gadget?), you can procure a vertical chicken roaster (this one on Amazon is reasonably priced, easy to clean, and has great reviews)  and just make a cleaned-up version of The Food Network’s “beer can chicken”   right on the grill. It doesn’t take a lot of tweaking to make it Primal or Paleo.  Obviously- you can sub chicken stock or even just water with herbs for the beer.  Use whatever spices you like, and the oil of your choice- personally, I would go with butter or ghee or coconut oil, just because heat on a grill is subjective.  

Shred any meat leftover on the carcass to eat cold in lettuce leaf wraps or in your salad the next day. Both those recipes are easy, and basically make their own stock, if you care to save it. Please inset your own “two birds, one stone” joke here.  

Speaking of birds and stones, SG and I noticed something interesting when we were savoring our chicken victim at dinner tonight. There was a huge difference between the bones of the pastured chicken, and the bones of the typical organic or supermarket chickens. The bones from our free-range, pastured bird were much more solid. The fat content was considerably less.  It seemed to roast a little more quickly than anticipated. This morphed into a discussion of how the free-range eggs we got are more difficult to crack- the shells are harder. 

Obviously, these are only the differences we can see. But I can only conclude that animals, when they eat the way they are supposed to eat, are healthier, and make healthier food for us. This makes the consumer healthier.  Does it make our bones harder? Does it make us more impervious to damage?  I say yes. This doesn’t seem like a complicated conclusion to arrive at.

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