Friday, July 1, 2011

Roasted Chicken

A whole, free-range, organic and local chicken from Cedarville Farm.

I used to be vegetarian. I learned all about the impacts of factory farming and how resource intensive raising meat was during Intro to Environmental Science my freshman year of college. As the years have gone by and my knowledge of food has become more sophisticated (as well as being married to someone who does indeed enjoy his meat) I've come to the understanding that meat is OK to eat under certain conditions.

Conditions like those at Cerdarville farm, where the birds are raised on pasture, fed only organic grain, and given comfortable shelter.

Another thing I have come to believe is that if you are to consume meat you should experience the meat for what it is. For instance, though butchered, this still resembles a chicken. Many of the comments on the recipe I followed mentioned that this was "so gross" and "the skin is disgusting." It's not so bad, you just need to follow proper sanitation practices. If it's gross, then don't do it. Be a vegetarian. I am thankful to the chicken for contributing to my vitality, and find contentment in knowing what exactly I am eating because I can see it. There are some chicken products that you can't be too sure about.

A story from Ross: "In boy scouts I knew this boy named Tom. On the way back from a trip we stopped at McDonalds - and Tom's grandma ordered 'chicken nuts.' Tom was embarrassed and told his grandma that they were called chicken nuggets, to which she unabashedly proclaimed 'there's no nuggets on a chicken!' " 

I mostly followed this Crockpot365 recipe for roasting a chicken. I never seem to follow them precisely as I have my own ideas for what would be delicious. (Not stoked about these pictures... still waiting for a new camera!) 

This chicken has no entrails to be removed, and I thought perhaps we needed to take out the neck, but it wasn't coming out as much as we tried! I even called my mother-in-law moments before church seeking advice on roasting whole chickens. Turns out the neck is just fine to roast along with the whole thing. So I rubbed the chicken inside and out with the spices. 

I stuffed it with some chopped veggies: potatoes, celery, carrots and onions on a recommendation from Ashley - a fellow grad student. 

Then I filled up the slow cooker with more of the veggies. 

I added about 3 cups of water and a bouillon cube. Not sure why - it is a chicken after all. I covered it and stuck the temperature probe into the chicken taking care not to have it touching the bone. I set the desired temperature at 170F and cooked it for about 8 hours on low. (I love my slow cooker - thanks Jess!)

When I removed the chicken from the pot the meat was so tender it just fell off the bone!

And I carved my first bird, sampling as I went. 

I served up the delicious and moist chicken with the tender veggies. 

It reminded me of the pot roasts my grandma used to make growing up, roasting with veggies and noodles. It felt a little out of place for a warm summer evening, but it sure was tasty! 

Ross was very complimentary and said, "Thank you for making a delicious and healthy meal." I love that boy. 

After we savored our meal together I placed the carcass and half of the veggies back in the slow cooker overnight on low to make chicken stock

I ended up nearly filling 5 of these juice bottles (32oz) with stock - and it smelled so very good! I loved that I was able to use every part of the chicken except the bones - which we can put in our Food Plus Recycling. I put the bottles in the freezer and am anxiously awaiting the inspiration for a recipe to use them! 

Coming soon will be ideas for those leftovers!

What are your personal meat eating preferences? Why?