Getting the Best out of your Organic Chicken
At Regan Organic Farm we respect the animals that give us our food. We believe that this involves treating the meat with respect – cooking it to get the best nutrition, the most flavour, the best value out of it.
Here are some ideas of how to do just that.
Roasting your Organic Chicken
This recipe is taken from goodhousekeeping.co.uk
- Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. In a small bowl, mix together butter, lemon zest, garlic and some seasoning.
Pat clean the chicken; halve the lemon, squeeze juice into the chicken cavity then tuck the lemon halves inside the bird along with the thyme.
- Put the chicken on a board and lift the neck flap. Use your fingers to ease the skin gently away from the flesh along the length of the breast. Spread half of the butter mixture under the skin, making sure to work it right over the breast. Rub remaining butter all over the bird. Tie the legs together with string and transfer to a roasting tin just big enough to hold the chicken.
- Roast in the oven for about 1hr 30min, covering halfway through with tin foil. Cook until the juices run clear from the breast and legs. Carefully remove from the tin and set aside somewhere warm.
- Spoon off most of the fat from the tin and discard. Put tin on hob over a medium heat and stir in flour. Return to heat and cook for 1min, then remove from heat and gradually stir in wine and stock. Cook for 3-5min, stirring constantly, until thickened. Leave to bubble for a few min, season to taste and sieve into a gravy jug. Serve gravy alongside the chicken, with roast potatoes and vegetables, if you like.
- Strip the carcass at the end of the meal for sandwiches, curry or whatever you fancy making with the leftovers and simmer up the bones, skin and anything else with an onion, carrot, peppercorns, bayleaf for stock.
Poaching your Organic Chicken
Whole Poached Chicken – this recipe is taken from www.jamieoliver.com
Poached chicken is a much neglected dish but is so tasty, comforting and packed full of nutrition.
- 2 large onions
- 1-2 leeks
- 4 celery stalks
- 4 carrots
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 1 x 1.7 kg free-range chicken
- 3-4 fresh bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon
- 1 large bunch of fresh parsley (or just stalks if you’re using leaves for something else)
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Peel and halve the onions, then chop the leeks, celery and carrots into large chunks. Halve the garlic bulb around the equator.
- Put all the ingredients in a large pan with a pinch of sea salt, then cover with cold water.
- Place on the hob over a medium heat and bring just to the boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to the top.
- Simmer gently for about 1 hour, or until the juices run clear when you pierce the meat.
- Remove the bird from the pan and bubble the poaching liquid for 40 minutes, or until reduced by about one-third (to add more flavour, you could strip the meat from the chicken and return the bones to the stock, too).
- Sieve the stock, then store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Jointing your Organic Chicken
Here is a link to a great video of Delia Smith demonstrating how to joint a chicken into 4 or 6 pieces – she makes it look so easy! Well, it is easy – you just need to have a good, sharp knife and a steady hand!
Delia starts by making a cut through the parson’s nose and then turning the chicken so that it is sitting vertically. She cuts downwards along the back of the bird from top to bottom. Then the bird is laid flat out, skin side down and cut down through the breast bone. Each side is then stretched out flat to find the line to cut through for the full legs. To cut these legs again to have a separate thigh and drumstick, stretch out and you will see a small mass of fat between the the thigh and drumstick – pull it out of the way and you will see the line to cut along. Simple as that! A great way to get full benefit from your organic chicken.
Making a Chicken Stock with your Organic Chicken
There are hundreds of recipes for chicken stock but the basics involve simmering the carcass of the chicken in water with a little flavouring for long enough for the stock to reduce and for all the flavour to transfer to the liquid.
Be careful not to let the stock boil.
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
- 1 sprig of thyme
- bulb of garlic
- Put the chicken carcass, vegetables, herbs in a large pot, and fill with water until all the ingredients are just submerged.
- Bring to the boil, and then simmer, uncovered for 3 hours. Top up the water if necessary. Chicken stock should be simmered – not boiled. Boiling the stock emulsifies the fat, and created a cloudy, flat-tasting stock.
- Skim off any discoloured foam from the surface throughout cooking.
- Remove the carcass from the pot, use a slotted spoon to scoop out other bones and vegetables then strain the stock through a fine sieve.