I took a whole chicken and turned it into real food. I am beyond excited!!
I finally feel prepared enough to be stranded on an island - Survivor style, not Survivorman style. A warm place close to the beach with animals running about and 20 other people to constantly remind me why my life rocks. Actually I would prefer to be stranded on an island with just Jason and the kids. Jason knows how to field-dress a deer so I'm sure he could do the same for other wild animals we would catch on our private island. He is also a master gardener. You know what? We're leaving. That's IT! I'm traveling with my crew to this fantasy island and leaving TV and toilet paper behind!!!
Ahhhh...A girl can dream right? (Photo Credit)
A few months ago, I spotted this post by Heavenly Homemakers: How to Stretch a Chicken to Make Six Meals. I was so excited. Remember those $15 free-range chickens I bought from Windmill Meadows Farm? Those bad boys have been sitting in my deep freeze for a couple weeks now. Every time I open the deep freeze, I first have to pull out the $15.00 chickens to find what I need. They are the ever-present reminder taunting me from their ice-cold prison, "You paid $15.00 for a chicken?!?! You don't even spend that much on a shirt!!"
I needed to tackle my deep freezer like one should tackle debt: Pay off your debts in order of their emotional impact. I needed to get rid of the chicken - and FAST!
This was a fairly daunting process. I was intent on getting the most from my chicken so I documented the whole thing in pictures. I also followed Heavenly Homemakers guide to making Chicken Broth. I have posted a lengthy tutorial on tackling a chicken for anyone else out there interested but too overwhelmed with the idea of it all.
Toss the chicken (thawed out as much as possible) into a pot with some water and salt.
Add some vegetables. I did onion, celery and carrots.
Cover your pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmmer and leave it for a few hours. I started mine at 9:30 am and had to grab the kids and run out to get the carrots and celery!
About 3 hours later around 11:30 am, I grabbed my slotted spoon and pulled out all the chicken to a bowl. While it was cooling off, I pulled out the carrots, onion and celery and put it in a separate bowl (for Chicken Noodle Soup!).
When the chicken had cooled off enough to handle, I grabbed some forks and started the de-boning process. I thought I was an expert you know. I DID, after all, help to cut up the deer I shot in Texas.
I heard my husband say over my shoulder, "Uh honey? Put the forks down. Just use your hams..." (We call them "hams" around here. Pronouncing things the way Leo does makes the act of saying even the most boring of words soooo much more fun!) There were so many jokes he could have cracked at my expense. He was nice enough to not say "Hey Yankee! Step away from the carcass and let a real man take care of this." My husband would never say that though. He's too intelligent.
You know what else goes in the trash pile?
Maybe the spine should go back in the pot with the other bones. But I couldn't handle it long enough without getting sick. The spine is proof of God's existence. This thing is equal parts cool and disgusting. It moves in sync and twists and turns. I played with it for a minute but then started feeling ill when it broke apart in little pieces in my hams. I'm just too queasy (read: sissy) for that stuff though.
I put all the chicken on a pan to cool off completely.
Once it was cool, I packaged it into ziplocs and kept a little for the Chicken Noodle Soup.
The bones should simmer in your broth for a couple more hours. You can toss in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help suck out all the marrow from the bones. I simmered them until 3:00 pm.
Next step is to remove the broth and strain it to get it nice and clear. You could blend up the veggies to include them in the broth but I had other plans.
I grabbed my ice cube baby food trays for broth.
And here is the final tally for the chicken.
1 batch of Chicken Noodle Soup
5 four oz bags in the freezer for later
2 ice cube trays of broth for cooking
4 containers of broth for soups
1 creepy looking Leo head
Not too shabby for my first try!
Let me know if you have any questions. But I'll probably just google the answer for you :)