Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicken Teotwawki!


Many thanks for all the chicken info and advice, folks.  It helped!

We're eating it.  While I would certainly not eat a chicken I found dead somewhere if I was uncertain about the cause of its demise- my 99.99% was not lightly arrived at.   The other rooster killed this bird- to go through the entire diagnostic procedure would be boring- but it was plenty long.

And borne out by the autopsy- the carcass was flawless- except for peck wounds to the head- not a bruise on it.  There was even some fat (not much) which I was glad to see.  No trace of any gut taint smell once cleaned and rinsed.  One thing worried me at first, until I realized what I was looking at- the legs and thighs almost looked like they were bruised to me.  But- it's just that the dark meat on this bird is really dark.  Looking closer it really didn't look like bruising; the dark color was totally uniform.  Half the time these days, when you eat chicken thighs, the color is barely darker than breast meat.

It's a substantial bird; and is being made into a pot-pie sort of thing; which does involve boiling it until the meat falls off the bones.  And while simmering- it smells VERY chickeny.

We're going to add potatoes; make gravy; add carrots, peas; and simmer until done; then on the recommendation of my old Joy of Cooking, put biscuit dough on top and bake it.  They caution strongly about the hazards of soggy crusts in pot pies- and I'm thinking we'll put trying that off to another day.

And, I'm delighted for the advice on rooster numbers; I am a first time chicken herder, in spite of all the school; and I hadn't seen that info elsewhere.  We'll wait until we've got a bigger flock to try adding another.

We'll let you know how it tastes.  Smells wonderful, simmering on the back of the woodstove.

Do you remember the extra verses to "She'll be comin' round the mountain"?  Do they still sing them, or is it not pc, any more?  "We will kill the old red rooster, when she comes."  And, "Oh, we'll all have chicken an' dumplins, when she comes."   Tradition.

13 comments:

Willa said...

The biscuit on top pot pie from JOC is may favorite- I love the way the biscuit is floury, goojy on the bottom and browned on top. Around here, pot-pie is a noodle dish, called slippery pot-pie. It's a Pennsylvania Dutch thing. I posted about it a couple of years ago here
http://yumminessnsues.blogspot.com/2007/02/community-food-and-slippery-pot-pie.html. I wish I was coming to your house for diner- yours sounds WAY better.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I've never had a problem with soggy crusts in my chicken pies. I absolutely hate when pies have raw bottom crusts, so I make sure to cook it on the bottom rack of the oven for the last 10 minutes.

My recipes here if you're interested:
http://farmersdaughterct.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/chicken-pot-pie/

Wish I had seen your earlier post or I would have sent you the link sooner. Oh well :)

Crunchy Chicken said...

The kids just watched Chicken Run for the first time last night, so your pot pie adventures are cracking me up. "Chickens go in, pies come out!"

Jason Crowson said...

my mother in law knows umpteen verses to the song; I've never heard most of them, but i did hear the chicken ones...

Anonymous said...

Lots of great info here:
http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Home.html
EJ

Shadow said...

Yummm - biscuit topping is the BEST way to finish pot pie. I say this as a nouveau southerner, but biscuits beat phyllo dough or pie crust any day of the week.

Verde said...

This fall we killed 11 young roosters. After eating the first one, I've been looking for recipees to tenderize them ever since.

Our best result was marinating in wine overnight and then slow cooking on the wood stove. The next day we put it in with (home) canned pickled peppers and things to make a cajun dish. That was the most tender the roosters have been yet. Now it's getting to warm to have the wood stove going all day.

We sang that song in elementary school but I suppose that's getting to be a while ago.

Anonymous said...

Make capons or brine them for more tender meat.

Nettle said...

I didn't know that was a Southern thing - I'm a New Englander and we always did the biscuit crust thing - when I think of a chicken potpie, I don't think of pastry or phyllo dough, I think of a big fluffy top layer of biscuit.

The chicken-and-dumplings part of the song was always my favorite, because it sounded tasty.

Tara said...

The first rooster I ever cooked also had VERY dark dark meat. Even the "white" meat was pretty dark. It was delicious! I've always had good results stewing them. Hope you enjoy it!

kathy said...

My kids generally insist on dumplings rather than biscuits to go with chicken and gravy. I am remembering that, several years ago, my DH brought home a little quail he had hit with his car. He cleaned and skinned it on the spot but I refused to eat it because it was road kill. How times change. I would be delighted if he brought one home today.

Susan Och said...

I like to render the chicken fat and use it to make the crust of a pot pie. Makes it nice and yellow with a nice flavor.

If you simmer the bones long enough, all of the gelatin will be out of the bones and they will become soft and crumbly, a good supplement for dog or cat food.

Healing Green said...

Mmmm -- Rooster! When we cooked our rooster this fall, his meat was literally the most beautiful raw meat I ever saw. It glowed, I swear. You can ask my husband. It was translucent and the kitchen lights shone on it and through it like dark and light citrine crystals with a hint of ruby in the dark meat. The colors were so rich. We made him up into a Coq au Vin with spanish rioja which coked only about 2 hours and wasn't stringy or tough at all. We ate him the same day we culled him. He was 8 months old. We toasted him with a 10 year old wine and moon shaped homemade biscuits (his name was "Moon", courtesy of my son.) We loved him, but the last two months of his life all his roo hormones kicked in and he became very, very mean, and refused rehabilitation. Ah, moonie. We thought it would be hard to kill and eat him, but we felt OK about it, and look forward to having a large flock someday for eggs and meat (right now we just have two hens for eggs, and hoping to get two more in a month.)