The Farmstead Kitchen – Pastured Chicken & Bone Broth
We are signing up our Pastured Chicken Shares for 2014! This year we are raising our chickens in one group in the summer. Please reserve your Chicken Share before we sell out!
We have raised 2 kinds of chickens for meat on our farm over the past few years- the Cornish Cross, and the older heritage breeds such as Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Dark Cornish. The heritage birds are beautiful, active and very flavorful, but they only dressed out at a 2.5 lb average.We’ll be sticking with the Cornish Cross, aka the BUBSTERS, from now on for several reasons:
They are the most efficient chicken at turning organic grains into muscle. Efficiency is the most sustainable for the planet.
They are DELICIOUS, tender, juicy and extremely flavorful when raised on pasture to a more mature age (13 weeks vs. the standard 6 or 8 weeks)
They forage just as well as the heritage chickens if they are taught to enjoy greens from day one- we bring them shredded kale, grass and clover in their baby brooder until they go out on pasture
They are a beautiful sight to behold outdoors, running around in the sun and fresh air, in contrast to the crowded and dark factory farm barns where this breed is normally raised.
They offer 6-8 servings from their bounty, so one life goes a lot longer on your plate. (Cornish Cross 7 lb vs. Heritage 2.5 lb)
Contrary to what you might have read, Cornish Cross chickens are NOT a genetically modified organism. They are a hybrid, like many of the vegetable varieties we grow in our gardens- genetically selected from a secret patented combination of chicken breeds and parent crosses.
Crockpot Pastured Chicken and Crockpot Bone Broth
Our favorite and easiest way to prepare our Pastured Chickens is in a crockpot. Defrost the bird thoroughly, then rinse and place him in the crockpot breast side down, with a 1/2 cup of water, broth or beer. Generously sprinkle on salt and pepper, add some sliced onions and garlic around the sides, and if you’d like, some herbs and lemon wedges. Cover and set on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 10-12. The meat will be tender, falling off the bone and so juicy and flavorful! You’ll find a beautiful abundance of what’s called “schmaltz” in the bottom, it’s the juices and gelatin from the chicken.
Using a crockpot is a no-fail, energy efficient way to have a pastured chicken ready to go, and after eating dinner, you can stick the crock pot insert in the fridge. Delicious and easy chicken sandwiches are waiting for the next couple days, while simply leaving the bones/skin in the crockpot. When all the meat is eaten off the bones, put the crock back into the crockpot base, and cover the carcass with water. Add a 1/2 cup of vinegar (we use home-brewed apple vinegar) to the water to pull the minerals and calcium from the bones into the resulting rich, delicious and nourishing bone broth. After simmering for 6-8 hours on high, the vinegar won’t be detectable. Strain your broth while warm into jars or freezer bags to use for soups or sauces. The gorgeous fat will rise to the top as the broth is chilled and can be spooned off to use for roasting veggies, or just left there and used as part of the broth.
No Crockpot? You can roast a pastured chicken in the oven as well, we recommend that you keep it covered for the majority of the roasting time to have the most succulent results. We heat the oven to 350, lay the chicken in the roasting pan breast side down on top of a bed of chopped veggies (onion, celery, garlic) and fragrant herbs like bay leaf, rosemary and thyme, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and pour in a few cups of beer, broth or water to help keep the moisture level up around the bird as it cooks. Keep it covered as it roasts for 2-3 hours, check for doneness, and then carefully flip the bird over and stick back in the oven uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes to brown the breast skin.
We are so honored to raise these beautiful, bountiful birds for your table. Please let us know if we can email you the Reservation form!