After a bit of a hiatus from blog life and cooking in general, I’m back. And what better way to ease back into the swing of local eating than with a whole chicken from Stokesberry Farm in Olympia, where the animals rotate pastures with cows. My first thought was to roast the bird according to Marcella Hazan’s amazingly simple and foolproof method. Her chicken comes out a gorgeous golden brown, with the crispiest skin and most succulent meat, and it goes with whatever else you feel like eating. It’s really the perfect winter food.

But a whole roasted chicken is kind of an extravagance for two people. In our household, much of the carcass goes into stuff like leftover chicken sandwiches — of which I’m not a huge fan — or to chicken soup and stock. So given the current economy, I broke the chicken down which works out as follows:*

1. Two breasts

2. Two thighs

3. Two drumsticks

4. Two wings

5. The back

Quick figuring suggested this could make four dinners for two people at the very least, with back and bones put towards stock and remnants boiled down for the dogs. Everything would be used well. (There wasn’t a head, neck, giblets, or feet.) Suddenly the math wasn’t looking so terrible on a $19 chicken, and one that came completely local, organic, and pastured to boot.

One issue was convincing a reluctant husband to eat all the various parts. He’s a big fan of what’s known around here as White Guy Meat, which is to say boneless, skinless, chicken breast, though he isn’t completely hopeless — he did try chicken feet once, back when he was still trying to impress my dad.

Still. I was well advised to start with something that would taste good to him, and I opted for a lemony chicken piccata from a halved breast, buttered noodles and a salad. It tasted pretty darn good to me, too; I’ll post that recipe in a day or so. And stay tuned. As we speak, thighs and wings are soaking in buttermilk for homemade fried chicken.

Marcella Hazan’s Whole Roasted Chicken

3-4 pound whole chicken, giblets removed / salt & pepper / 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse entire chicken under cold water then air dry on a rack, about 10 minutes. When skin is dry, rub salt and pepper generously into the skin. Puncture lemon with the tines of a fork, place in the cavity, and tie drumsticks together across the cavity with kitchen string.

Place chicken on a rack, breast side down, and roast at 350 for about 30 minutes then flip chicken so breasts are up. After 30 minutes more, increase heat to 400 degrees. Chicken is done when juices run clear, 20-25 minutes per pound. Remove lemon before serving. Feeds 6-8 generously.

*Check out fellow blogger Katrina’s post on the Kyocera knife for thoughts on good chopping.

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