It is an exciting thing to encounter something new, and it can be even more exciting when that novelty runs concurrent with your values. If you and I are alike in any way (reading this blog, I expect we have something in common), when we consider this excitement in terms of our connection to the food we eat, receiving a whole chicken raised on a farm just miles from your home is REALLY EXCITING! And yet, a gift like your beautiful pasture-raised chicken, with all of the enthusiasm that surrounds it, can be somewhat deflated when you get to the practical point of dinner and you ask yourself, “Now what in the world am I suppose to do with a whole chicken?” Sound familiar?
I mean, your whole bird is a distant standard from what we have come to expect from the place food really comes, the grocery store (sarcasm intended).
“How do I get the wings off of this thing so I can have those delicious, crispy buffalo wings for our friends when they come over for the Oregon-Stanford game?”
“How do I access those tender breast slivers so I can quickly pan sear them with some lemon and garlic, to toss into my salad for lunch tomorrow?”
“I know the thighs are around here somewhere…:/”
“You mean a chicken breast has bones in it?! Nooo, get outta here! Really?! Shooot.”
I am here to tell you that the culinary applications of the wonderful gift you now have in your procession are endless, and some of the most favorable are relatively simple. I will explain.
The simplest option to feeding the family is to just cook the whole bird with some desirable herbs and spices. A friend recently sent me a message afer she cooked her whole bird in a clay pot. She said it was the best chicken she had ever eaten. If this is an enticing scenario, perhaps this clay pot honey-lemon chicken recipe is just your thing. Or maybe the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for lemon and garlic roasted chicken is more to your liking?
If you are interested in a bit more hands-on investment, you can use a sharpened culinary knife to break your bird down into the kind of bites you are accustomed to seeing at the local grocery store. The best demonstration I have seen to date is from The Test Kitchen at www.gourmet.com. Watch the video below…and don’t mind the color of the skin on the bird he is breaking down, there are growers out there who consider a yellowish color, desirable for a chicken.
Whatever you do, SAVE THE LEFT-OVER PARTS!!! Making your own stock could be perhaps one of the most rewarding uses of your chicken. Making a stock is easy, and the creation of a stock extracts the remaining goodness from a bird. Simply put, stock of this quality will be a delicious elixirs perfect for soup bases, gravies, glazes, etc. One of the nicest recipes, and easy-to-use directions comes from The Gourmet Food Source.