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Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

Usually the 4th of July holiday finds Bill and I at home, chilling out, having some wine and watching random fireworks from our back deck. This year, however, we ventured out to a friend’s house to celebrate our nation’s birthday together.

4th wine1When you’re wine snobs like us but don’t have the budget for Caymus as a daily drinker, you have to carefully choose your wine to balance cost and quality. Here’s the two we brought to share, Ergot tempranillo (Spain) and Gascon Malbec (Argentina). These two run about $10.99 a bottle at our local wine store, making them a budget-friendly vino, and are very impressive for the price.

We had an appetizer of a chevre goat cheese from Cole’s Lake Dairy (local Georgia dairy) I got in my CSA box. I don’t have a picture of it because it was gone in a matter of moments. Um, it was super yum…trust me.

4th salad1Our salad was a tasty mixture of lettuce leaves, cucumber and red bell pepper (provided by our gracious host) and green peppers and cherry tomatoes from my CSA box. I made a dressing of equal parts honey (local), balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Our host used his croutons to soak up the rest of the dressing in his salad bowl so I think he liked it 🙂 Nothing better than easy and tasty.

The main event centered around a 3.2 lb. pastured chicken from Nature’s Harmony Farm. Using a combination of a few recipes from this website I brined the bird for about four hours, then dried it off and headed to our host’s house. Using the rub recipe they recommend for chicken, we drizzled the bird with olive oil and saturated it with the rub. I felt kind of like I was molesting the bird by rubbing my fingers all over its naked skin, but Bill didn’t seem upset so I guess it’s ok. The rubbed bird went onto the smoker/grill for about two hours with applewood smoker chips smoldering over the coals.

4th chicken done1We were suprised that it finished that quickly, but the thermometer in the breast read 167 degrees so we pulled it. However, even though it looked fantastic we discovered that parts of the thigh were not done and had to go back on the grill for a few minutes. We think the temperature probe maybe wasn’t properly placed. None of us had smoked a whole chicken before so it was a learning experience! Outside of the thigh under-doneness the bird was fantastic. Super moist and delicious (I’ve never had a chicken breast that moist EVER), but I have to say the rub was the big winner of the day. All three of us raved about it and can’t wait to use it on something else. Rub recipe is here. 

4th veg kabobs1We also made veggie kabobs for the grill with baby bella mushrooms, sweet onion, some funky greenish-yellow pepper (CSA box), cherry tomatoes (CSA box), and patty pan squash (CSA store). Everything was good, but that squash was the bomb diggity. Raw or grilled it was fantastic.

We also steamed my CSA green beans in a foil packet on the grill. Just a little butter, salt and pepper and they were heavenly. Real food doesn’t need to be messed with too much. Simple is good!

4th plate done1We enjoyed our meal with a glass of wine, some of my bread that I made yesterday and some good laughs. I’m so thankful for the abundance of food we have at our disposal, the ability to make food choices (local and imported) and the right to fight to keep our choices. God bless America!

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Chicken 3 1/2 ways

I recently obtained several real chickens from my heros at Nature’s Harmony Farm. I was totally excited because I haven’t had chicken in 2+ years (if you missed why, read here.)  What I didn’t know is how many different ways this chicken would display herself…

The first night after the 4.9 lb bird was thawed I dressed it simply with salt, pepper, lemon and rosemary (from my back porch), and roasted it in the oven. I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t think a roasted chicken was blog worthy. I was wrong. Anywho, the chicken turned out well, moist and flavorful, and Bill and I feasted on it along with rice grits and pea gravy. Yum!

Chicken soup

Chicken soup

There was a TON leftover. And since not only was it a pricey real chicken (because of how it is raised) and quite tasty I knew it would be reincarniated a time or two. I hate to disrespect an animal that lost its life so I could eat by letting it go to waste. And so, the second incarnation appeared the next night as chicken soup.

It was a very simple fly by the seat of my pants recipe. I used a mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery), butter, salt and pepper, vegetable broth, bow tie pasta and shredded chicken followed by fresh thyme. It was super yummy! Even test subject Bill, not a huge soup lover, approved. Local ingredients: onion, celery, thyme (grown on my back porch again) and of course, chicken.
Pot Pie out of the oven

Pot Pie out of the oven

The soup didn’t use nearly enough bird. I had a good four cups of shredded chicken left. In a flash of brilliance, Bill suggested chicken pot pie. At first I was like uh…what? I’ve never made a chicken pot pie. I haven’t eaten a chicken pot pie in about 20 years. And I’ve never made a pie of any sort on my own. Lucky for him, that intrigued me.

I came up with this pot pie recipe from my favorite allrecipes.com site. It got good reviews so I decided to go for it, including the from-scratch crust. I’d always been intimidated for some reason by homemade crust. It seemed mysterious. Difficult. But after making this one (I subbed butter for the lard, btw) I will never be caught buying premade crust again. It was so easy and suuuper tasty. In fact, I may intervene if I see someone buying crust in the store. (“What do you think you’re doing with that cardboard??”) I mean, you mash together the ingredients, rest in the fridge, then roll it out. What is the problem??
Plated pot pie

Plated pot pie

Anyway my crust phobia resolved, I followed the recipe pretty closely for the filling. It made a freaking ton of filling, way too much for one crust recipe. (Not to worry. I kept the leftover filling to serve over leftover rice grits.) I was so proud of that pie when I pulled it out of the oven. It was golden brown and delicious on top and warm and savory on the inside. Next time I will likely add garlic and herbs, but even plain jane as is it was worth the effort.

Gratuitous pot pie photo.

Gratuitous pot pie photo.

Test subject Bill was pleased with his chicken pot pie. However, he thought the crust was very tasty but a bit tough…I think he was refering to the bottom part of the crust (which I pre-baked before filling to prevent soggy crust). I didn’t have a problem with it but not sure what to adjust to meet his approval for texture…any suggestions are welcome!

Chicken not pie over rice grits.

Chicken not pie over rice grits.

A single chicken turned into an adventure. 1. Roasted rosemary and lemon chicken. 2. Chicken soup. 3. Chicken pot pie. 3 1/2. Pot pie filling over rice grits. I think I did right by the bird.

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