Ever since I started eating local food, I’ve had a dream of roasting a free-range, happy-except-for-that-last-day chicken. I’d serve delicious roast chicken, pull the rest of the meat for other dishes, and make stock from the carcass. If you’re going to eat a chicken, it seems only right to use as much of said chicken as you can.
But something’s always gone wrong. One time I misread the recipe and dreadfully overcooked the chicken. Last time, Chris was too efficient with the kitchen clean-up and tossed the carcass before I could make stock.
Finally, it all came together earlier this month with a chicken I received last fall as a member of a CSA program run by Judith Winfrey and Joe Reynolds.
I used local parsley and garlic and some not-so-local olive oil and roasted the chicken in a large cast iron skillet as Mark Bittman recommends in How To Cook Everything.
I didn’t serve it on a platter; I let it cool and then carved and pulled the meat.
I grew up preferring dark meat because white meat always seemed so dry. But every time I eat a local bird, I’m blown away by the white meat. It’s got wonderful texture and flavor and isn’t dry at all. So one night we ate the breast meat with some au jus. Honestly, I don’t remember now what we did with the dark meat. Probably a combination of sandwiches, salads, and snitching from the fridge.
The stock turned out well, too. After everything had cooked and cooled, I strained the liquid and picked off the rest of the meat to make soup.
After making the soup, I poured the rest of the stock into ice cube trays for fast freezing and easy retrieval later.
Another note: I tried to follow directions and skim the fat from the stock before freezing it, but there was hardly any to skim. Attempting to skim a 1/16” layer of fat is one Sisyphean task! I guess spending your life running around after bugs and each other is good for chickens because mine was in awesome shape.
All in all, a small kitchen victory. Glad to have eaten chicken, glad to have stock, and especially glad there’s another bird waiting in the wings of my freezer!