Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It was a chicken-tastic day!

We've been working our way thru the winter meat chickens so this week has been about parting up heaps of meat. I had a complete and total chicken-tastic day on Monday. It was epic.

 Cats love chicken-tastic days. Here they are polishing off some extra broth.

I made curried chicken salad, chicken stock, and fried chicken. It was all chicken, all day - it was amazing.
Don't forget to render all the fat! Look at that!

Several of the meats were what we've been calling "3 or 4 meal-ers." They are huge! The two of us will get 3 or 4 meals out of one bird. And that doesn't include the stock, the good leavings for us which will become chicken salad or egg rolls....and also the not-so-good leavings which are for the cats. It's a terrific food value.

That's a dinner plate, folks. Check out those breasts!

Parting up the meats usually goes like this:

1. Take off the huge legs - either the thighs get cut up into "stir fry size" chunks or the whole leg goes into the crock pot to cook over night. This way I'm getting a double dip - I fill the crock pot with cold water and get a nice whack of luscious stock.... and also cooked chicken for extremely quick meals (nachos, eggrolls, chicken salad, chicken and noodles, etc.).

Chicken chunks for stir fry.

2. Take off the enormous breasts and freeze whole or cut up into fillets. We use these to make chicken piccata, or our favorite - fried chicken. I like to use boneless pieces because they cook so quickly. Soaked in buttermilk, dipped in flour, and fried in lard - this version of fried chicken is just delish.

3. Put the rest of the carcass into the stock pot, cover with cold water, and simmer all nite. I get some good meat for us from this pot... but most of this goes to the cats. The stock is all ours tho.

4. Don't forget to render all the fat! I love using chicken fat for frying. 

Cats get lots of leavings. Our grumpiest cat, Teddi, is finally happy. She loves the necks.

The cut up chicken is portioned into servings and goes into freezer bags. The cooked chicken also goes into freezer bags (for us) or into tubs for the cats. Then I can all the stock. My best idea was to can half pint jars of stock. This is perfect for when I need just a little bit and don't want to open a whole jar.

We still have about 10 creepy meats to go. They will be in the freezer - and the stock pot - soon.  And then we'll start working on those winter pigz......

Happy Wednesday everyone! Anybody else having a chicken-tastic day?


Traci Sumner said...

Once again, you have made me feel inferior and slightly dumb. Seriously, crock pot over night for stock - wow. Never thought of that. Golly jeepers.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Nah ... not even remotely dumb. this is why we share our info with each other. :-D the great thing about the crock pot method is that the stock is amazing.... but you dont get as much. its extremely rich tho.

Nic said...

My cat loves chicken too. But since I unfortunately don't have my own chickens, or really want to clean and pluck another chicken in my life (did plenty when I was a kid after watching them grow from cute little fluffy chicks), and because the smell of chicken fat makes me ill, he gets cooked chicken breast. He doesn't seem to mind though :)

Big Onion said...

Just out of curiosity, how many do you usually raise at a time? Do you just one group a year, and is it enough?

All I could think looking at those pictures was, "Daaaaamn. Dat chicken fat!" Nice.

ann from KY said...

how do you render the chicken fat? then do you use it for frying stuff? need more info! thanks

David said...

You just reminded me I have a quart of crock pot duck stock in the freezer! Doh! I am envious of your chickens. The prowess is a given, though I am sure hard won.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Nic, i'm sure he just loves it. the only time Teddi is happy is if she has a chicken neck. cats. sheesh!

Anthony - we get 25 at a whack which works out just fine for just the two of us. we need to do a better job of "meat management" but it works out to about 2 groups a year. and "dat fat" is the business!

hey Ann! we render the fat just like lard.. cut it up into small pieces, put in a heavy bottomed pan, and cook over low/medium heat. dont turn your back on the stove, tho it cooks really quickly! here is a look at how to (careful these are butcher day pix):

i like to use the chicken fat for all kinds of things. it seems to have a lower "smoking point" then others but i use it "deep" frying eggrolls or when sauteing veggies. it works great!

thanks Dave! hey use your duck stock for risotto! and yep they are a lot of work but its fun.

Unknown said...

What breed do you raise? My Hampshire Reds have big breasts too, but I only do hens...

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hi Nancy - these meats for the Cornish X's..standard meat variety. we have a big mutt-mix of layers. we really like barred rox and RIR's tho. but you cant beat a big ol light brahma roo.. so we have a nice mix.

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