Chicken in Milk

Recently I made Chicken in Milk based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe.  Here is my variation:

Chicken in Milk - EAS Variation

The original recipe came from here.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb. chicken, or one that will fit in the closed pot.
  • Olive oil, butter or other fat
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dried sage or a good handful of fresh sage
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 10 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Fry the chicken in a snug-fitting pot with a little oil, butter, or fat until golden, turning the chicken as best you can to get an even color all over.

  3. Remove from the heat and put the chicken on a plate. You'll be left with fryings at the bottom of the pan which may give you a lovely caramel flavor later on.

  4. Put the milk in the pan and mix with the fryings on the bottom of the pan. Add the cinnamon stick, sage leaves, lemon juice, unpeeled garlic cloves and stir. Put your chicken breast-side down back in the pot.

  5. Cover and cook in the hot oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until cooked through. The lemon juice will sort of curdle the milk, making a tasty sauce.

  6. Take the chicken out of the pan and put on a plate. Let it rest.

  7. To thicken the sauce in the pan, put the pan on the stove top and bring the sauce to a boil.  Meanwhile, take 1/2 cup water and add 1/4 cup flour.  Stir until it is mostly smooth.  Once the sauce is (close to) boiling, add the flour and water mixture, stirring all the time.  When it thickens, turn off the heat.

  8. Divide the chicken as you normally would.  Put it on the plates. Spoon the white gravy over the meat.  Serve with rice or potatoes and put the gravy over them as well.

This was yummy and well-received!  Enjoy!

Bone Broth – Part 2

Last time we talked about bone broth.   Specifically, we talked about using marrow bones to get a nice beefy broth good to drink or to use in smoothies or soups.  But there are more bones out there than just marrow bones.  Chicken, venison, pork, and goat are some of the ones available.  All of these can be cooked together or by species in the crockpot for 36-48 hours and will produce a nice broth.

I tend to make my broths on the stove top and I do it for a shorter time period.  Earlier this week we had chicken in milk.  After we ate the chicken, I took all the bones, the carcass, the meat that was still on the bones and any skin and put it in a 4 quart pot.  I filled it up with water to within 1 1/2 in. from the top. (If I can’t cover my bones with water, then I will use the 8 qt. stockpan.)

Then I put the lid on and brought it to a boil.  Once it started to boil I turned it down to low and let it simmer for 3-4 hours.  (I cook over gas and tend to have a hot stove top.  If low doesn’t let you simmer the broth, then you need to turn the heat up a little so that it simmers.)

Then I turned it off to cool, so that I could handle it.  And this time since I didn’t have time to handle it, I put it in the refrigerator so that it wouldn’t spoil.

Chicken bone broth that is cold and gelatinous

When I pulled it out several days later, the broth had become soupy solid,  a gelatin.  As I wanted to use it and it is easier to get out of the container when it is a liquid, I heated it up again until it was not longer a solid.  Then I added it to the soup pot, thinned it with some water and set my soup to boiling.  I picked the bones over to get the rest of the meat off and set the meat aside for another meal for another day.

Chicken bone broth after it has been rewarmed

This method is a touch faster than the crockpot method. However, it doesn’t pull as many nutrients out as it could. But if the broth gets to the gelatinous stage, I consider it adequate. And the only way to tell if it is a gelatin is to cool it. In my experience 3 hours tends to be sufficient. Even if it doesn’t get gelatinous, I will still use it and won’t try to cook it down longer.

Once I make a broth I like to use it or freeze it. All broths can be used for all things. Chicken broth has the mildest flavor and is the most versatile. Beef broth or venison broth is good for vegetable soups. Pork broth or goat broth is good for bean soups. Smoked ham broth is good for bean soup or for split pea soup. All broths can be used for soups or as the liquid to cook rice or as liquid with veggies that you would put over rice.

If you purchase meat, look at it as being several meals, especially if it has bones.  The meat proper is one meal, leftovers are for a second (or more) meal, and the broth is part of a third meal.

Further Adventures of the Taj Mahal

Our Taj Mahal chicken coop was parked behind the barn over the winter. This gave us easy access to the chickens and provided a way to give them a protected area outside of the coop for eating and exercising.

In late March it was time to move the coop away from the barn so that the chickens could begin their free-range activities.

The chicken Taj Mahal in its winter location behind the barn.

We used a chain to pull the Taj Mahal back through the cows’ muddy winter access path.

Then we had to navigate out of the barn yard itself.

Continue reading “Further Adventures of the Taj Mahal”

Creamed Chicken – A Comfort Food

This month the local cooking challenge focus is chicken.  As we sell our chickens as whole frozen birds, a lot of my chicken meals begin that way – chicken over rice or chicken over potatoes.  But usually I have leftovers, especially if I have cooked 2 chickens at the same time.  These can be made into chicken soups, chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, or chicken casseroles.

Recently I made Creamed Chicken, a recipe that I grew up with that came from the Mennonite Cookbook.  It is one of those comfort foods, warm and nourishing, good for a winter evening.

Continue reading “Creamed Chicken – A Comfort Food”

March Challenge – Chicken

The March 2018 Local Food challenge is chicken.  As with other months, find chicken local to you, use it for a meal, and then comment here or email me about what you did and how it tasted.  For additional rules see the original post.

Whole chickens can be boiled, roasted, cut into parts and fried, or cooked in a crockpot or instant pot.  They can be served over rice or potatoes.   Leftovers can be used in soup or casseroles or sandwiches.

If you are local to us, chickens can be purchased from us for $5.00 / lb through March 31, 2018.  They were raised outdoors on our farm in fresh air and sunshine, were fed non-gmo grains, were processed by us and frozen, and are 4-6 lb.  I have been using them regularly as a main dish and for chicken broth and stock.  They taste good!

Chicken Taj Mahal – Part 2

A while ago we posted about work we were doing on a new mobile chicken coop. That new coop is now in service.

It took several days for the chickens to learn that they had to walk up the ramp to get back inside the coop. The first few nights they would walk around  the coop knowing they had to get up in there, but unsure how. It  would have been comical except that we had to try and herd them to the ramp. Now they all routinely go in as the sky starts to darken at night.

We designed the coop to hold 60 chickens comfortably, and we have about 45 at present. By moving the coop regularly, the chickens don’t find alternate places to lay their eggs, which means we are not spending time searching for clutches behind trees or under weeds.

Sometime in November we will give the coop a good cleaning while the chickens are out. Then we will park the coop near the barn so that the chickens can have some artificial light. (This helps keep them producing eggs.) When snow arrives, they will be limited to this coop and a covered outdoor eating area.

When the weather warms, the coop will get another good cleaning, and the chickens will be off to the pastures again.

Both the chickens and the humans are enjoying the benefits of our chicken Taj Mahal.  Our thanks to the Farmer’s father for the idea and to the father and the Farmer’s sons for building it.  Excellent job!

Chicks! From the Post Office?

Lots of things come from the Post Office: bills, refund checks, Amazon packages, catalogs, magazines. But did you know that we get baby chicks in the mail? That’s right!

Box chicks come in

We get day old chicks from a hatchery in Pennsylvania. They are hatched at the beginning of the week, shipped overnight or 2 day air, and we get them when they are a day or two old. We get a phone call from the Post Office that they have arrived and then we go pick them up. Here is a picture of a box with baby chicks. This box holds 100 chicks – 25 in each quarter. So yes, our baby chicks really do come from the Post Office.

About 25 chicks in 1 quarter of the box

How can the chicks survive the trip? They have each other to stay warm as they travel. As for food, my understanding is that part of the egg stays inside the chick and feeds the chick for the first week of its life. So the chick doesn’t need a lot of food and water right away, which allows hatcheries to ship birds.

Brooder – notice heat lamps above chicks

Once the chicks arrive here, we put them in a brooder in the barn. This is a protected area that keeps predators – weasels, rats, cats, hawks – out and keeps the chicks in. It also has heat lamps that the chicks can live under so they can stay warm until they have the necessary feathering to go outdoors. We dip their beaks in water so they can find the water in the future. Sometimes we also dip their beaks in the (non-gmo) feed, so that they can find that again as well. The birds will live in the brooder for 3-4 weeks depending on how they grow and feather out and depending on what the weather is like.

At 3-4 weeks we move them outdoors to a larger protected pen. They sleep in an old truck cap or in this moveable hut, eating grain, drinking water and eating grass and vegetation and insects. They are protected by fencing from our guard dog, Gaia, and she in turns protects them from other predators – weasels, rats, hawks, foxes and coyotes. We move them regularly to fresh grass.

Movable hut
Truck cap model with Gaia, the guard dog, in front

At 10-11 weeks we process them and sell them as fresh or frozen chicken. Our chickens will probably weigh between 3 and 6 lb.

So how can you get some chicken this year?

1. Join our meat CSA and get 1-2 chickens each month as part of the monthly share. Reply to this email to let us know you would like to be part of our monthly Meat CSA.
2. Pre-order chicken by putting $5.00 down on each chicken you would like. Any chickens that are pre-ordered will be $4.75 / lb. We can take the $5.00 in cash, in check or at our website by using a credit card or Paypal.
3. Purchase chicken as you want or need it for $5.50 / lb.

I hope you will purchase some chicken from us this year. Reply to this email if you have questions. And once you have done that I hope you can enjoy some fresh air and sunshine! We wish you strength and joy in your day!

One other note: Westcott Farmers Market is on Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m. If you would like regular emails about currently available items, subscribe here! See you soon!