chicken

At Cycle Farm we also raise pastured poultry. We take pre-orders for chickens and sell fresh (not frozen) birds direct from the farm. We have 4 butcher-dates scheduled for this season (2015), in June, July, August, and September. If you are interested in pre-ordering a chicken, please let us know. Chickens are not included in our vegetable CSA shares.

After enjoying your chicken, save the bones in a ziplock freezer bag, until you’re ready to make stock with them. This is a great way to make the most of your chicken, while also providing your family with excellent, hearty food.  We usually just start a gallon-sized bag, label it “chicken bones” and then keep it around until fall hits and we’re ready to fire up the stove and make some stock.  Stock is very easy to make, good for you, and freezes well. Consider using your stock not just for soup, but for cooking up lentils, dry beans, and/or rice.

Homemade Chicken Stock, a recipe adapted from Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

  • bones from 1 whole pastured chicken (also, if available, neck, gizzard, heart, liver, and feet)
  • 1 large yellow onion, ends discarded, washed and quartered and/or a bunch of leek greens
  • 1 cup(ish) celery, leaves removed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup(ish) carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For this recipe, use the remaining bones from the carcass after parting, or what’s left after eating the whole roasted bird. Add the chicken bones to a large stock pot. Fill with cold water until the bird bones and parts are covered by no more than about an inch of water. Bring to just barely a simmer around 190 degrees and skim the foam. Stir the chicken under once—just to allow the last of the foam to rise—reduce the heat, and skim the foam carefully, taking care to leave behind any bright yellow fat that may be starting to appear on the surface.

Add the vegetables and salt and stir them under. Bring back to a gentle simmer. Don’t cover the pot. Some people say the most important part of stock making is to avoid agitating it, which will affect the clarity because the fats, proteins, and impurities will emulsify into the liquid. In a stock pot with the cover off, you simmer it slowly to maintain a steady heat, never stirring it, never ever letting it come to a boil.

Let it do its thing for at least four hours.When ready to store, strain the stock with cheesecloth or a colander and then cool before placing in the refrigerator. If you’d like, the next day remove the layer of fat on the top (this is an optional step, and we don’t recommend doing this. Keep the fat. It’s good for you). For freezing, use odorless plastic containers with tight-fitting lids that allow room for expansion as ice crystals form – we use Nancy’s yogurt containers. Thaw frozen stock slowly in the refrigerator, or slide from the storage vessel into a pot and melt over low heat.

Air-dried slow-roasted pastured whole chicken  This recipe takes time, but it’s well worth the wait. Air-drying overnight in the fridge helps chicken skin to tighten and then crisp in the oven.  Slow-roasting and pre-salting create unbelievably succulent meat.  This recipe is modified from Deborah Krasner’s Good Meat, a thoughtful, comprehensive book on preparing and appreciating well raised meat.

  • 1 3-5 lb(ish) pastured chicken
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, washed and quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves, papery skins left on
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fruity white wine

Rinse the chicken inside and out, then carefully blot it dry on all surfaces.  Generously salt and pepper, both outside and inside the cavity. Place on a plate in the refrigerator, uncovered, for up to 24 hours to allow the skin to dry and tighten.

Prepare to cook the bird by allowing it 30 minutes outside the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Heat oven to 250 degrees F and position rack in the center. Put lemon, thyme, and garlic into the cavity, tucking in any flaps of skin or fat as you go.

Set the bird, breast-side up in a cast-iron skillet or heavy gratin pan. Put chicken into the oven, with feet facing the back wall.

Roast chicken for 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees F.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven while you increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees. Stir together honey and olive oil.

Rub ½ of the honey and olive oil mixture onto the breast of the bird using the back of a spoon.  Pour the wine into the pan and return it to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until the skin is fully browned (or the thigh temperature reads 160 degrees).  Using tongs, carefully turn the bird, coat the underside with the remaining glazing mixture, and return it to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving it. Meanwhile remove the garlic from the cavity and arrange it around the edges of the serving dish for those who like to squeeze out the tender, flavorful insides. Squeeze the cooked lemon wedges into the pan juices.

Use the pan drippings to make a sauce/gravy by cooking them down to a syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally to incorporate the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Barbecue Spice Rub, from The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes
This is our go-to spice mix for a quick chicken feast. Just mix it up and rub it into the meat right before grilling – set the grill to a high temperature, then add your chicken (thighs, breast, wings) and lower the temperature to med. It will cook quickly, with crisp-charred skin. So good.

  • ½ cup chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp paprika

And here’s a recipe from Splendid Table for southern fried chicken.

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