21 April 2013

First homegrown chicken dinner

I cooked the first meal from our first homegrown chicken this evening, somewhat as planned.  Our grilling idea was pre-empted by more rain (and the fruit trees and garden boxes rejoice) so I cooked the white quarters in the cast iron with some bacon on top (since I skinned him) and the lid on with low heat for a good 45 minutes before taking the lid off and starting the rest of the meal - corn on the cob, salad, and dinner rolls.
1st homegrown chicken dinner
Hubby and I consider this to be a big milestone for us, as processing a chicken I had raised from a day-old chick seemed daunting.  We did it as a team, and tonight we both feel it is worth it (zombie chicken weird dreams aside).  While the meat is certainly superb - firm and flavorful without being too chewy - there is a certain satisfaction knowing that this one had opportunities to eat some grass and flap around the yard a couple times a day.  We are both well aware of how commercial broiler operations are done, and I have been inside a Tyson-contracted broiler house when I lived in Texas in the early '90s.

We kept saying he tasted good ... and I remarked about how novel it is to actually know our dinner.  Hubby will need to articulate his philosophical thoughts about responsibility and appreciation in his own post.

When I cook up a whole chicken, I try to stretch it as far as I can into multiple meals ... now that seems even more appropriate.  My plans for the rest of the first Nugget are to wrap the leg quarters in foil with potatoes and carrots and cook them in the coals Tuesday when we resume burning the third tree trunk (there were no limbs left on that one).  The heart and neck will go into chicken stock, along with any leftover meat from the quarters, and become chicken 'n' dumplin's, which usually makes two meals for us.

Even though he was the smallest, least feathered, and most heat stressed of the Nuggets, here he is next to a one gallon waterer.
smallest Cornish-Rock broiler next to 1g waterer
And, despite yet another focus disagreement with the digicam, here you can see how poorly feathered he was:
the pink is bare unfeathered skin
The pics of in between him turning his butt to the camera, and coming out of the skillet, are on hubby's camera and I am hogging the connection tonight.  He should get them posted soon along with his thoughts on this new experience for us.

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