7 Ways To Use A Whole Chicken

Before I started farming, I could cook pancakes, quesadillas, bacon, chicken breast, spaghetti, and hot dogs.  That’s about it. When I started living with people on farms, where fresh, whole food was a staple of every meal, I really started to learn some culinary nuances.  But it took years, and many barely-palatable meals, to get to a place of kitchen confidence, particularly when it comes to meat.

For me, the idea of buying a whole chicken was terrifying.  I grew up eating boiled, boneless, skinless, tasteless chicken breast (Sorry, Mom.  It wasn’t your fault.  We didn’t know that pasture-raised chicken was even an option back then.),  so that was the only way I could imagine cooking chicken. 

 But since then, I have learned that chicken can actually taste incredible, with nothing added other than salt.  And I have learned countless ways to utilize a whole chicken, which is much more economical and more interesting than just buying the parts. It starts with finding good chicken.  My criteria for that, which I’m unwilling to budge on, starts with being pasture-raised.  There’s no other way to produce flavorful chicken.  The chickens need the diversity of diet, the fresh air, sunlight, and room to roam in order to end up with a quality product.

 Next, the toxins have to be eliminated from the chickens’ environment.  No antibiotics.  No mite-control sprays.  No GMO grains.  No Round-Up sprayed on the grains (nearly all non-organic grains are sprayed with Round-Up…even the GMO-free grains).

We’re so happy to be able to supply you chicken with all of the good things and none of the bad things!


Here are my favorite 7 ways:

1. Roast it whole.  This is simple.  Olive oil and salt rubbed onto the skin.  Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes, depending on size, until the juices inside are clear.  I like to chop up some root vegetables, put them in the pan first, and then just set the chicken right on the vegetables.  Then the drippings from the chicken help to flavor the vegetables.

2. Part it out and grill it.  Yesterday we showed you how to part out a whole chicken.  Now rub with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder and throw it on the grill.  It will cook in half the time of roasting a whole chicken.  And in the summer, who wants the oven on for an hour anyways?
3. Part it out and BAKE it.  We like doing this sometimes because you get more crispy, seasoned skin than just roasting it whole.  It also cooks faster.  Probably 35 minutes or so at 375.  We lay out all the parts in a baking dish or cookie pan.  Rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  And throw in the oven.
4. Make broth with the bones.  Anyway you cook it, there will be bones leftover (unless you eat those, too).  We have created a super easy system where we keep a large pot in the freezer.  After every meal, we throw the leftover bones into the pot.  When the pot is full, we take it out of the freezer, fill it with water, and simmer it overnight.  Strain out the bones.  Let it cool for a few hours on the counter.  Then pour it into re-used quart yogurt containers and freeze.  These are perfect portions for us to use as a base for a soup or to cook rice, barley, or dry beans.
5. Make chicken salad with the leftover meat.  Again, no matter how you cook it, you’re likely to have some meat leftover.  Any of the leftover meat will make a great chicken salad.  The simplest version that we do is to just chop up the chicken meat and stir in some mayonnaise.  DONE!!! SO EASY!!!.  You can add curry powder or mustard or raisins or celery, too.  The options are endless.
6. My new favorite is pulled chicken tacos (or burritos).  We use the Instant Pot, because I often forget to thaw meat much before dinner time.  We put the whole FROZEN chicken in the Instant Pot with a cup of water, seal it shut, and pressure cook for 45 minutes.  After it’s done, the meat will fall off the bone and shred easily with a fork.  After I’ve separated out all the meat and shredded it, I just mix in some salt, and then put it in my tacos or burritos with black beans, avocado, lettuce, and salsa.
7. An easy variation on the chicken tacos recipe is barbequed chicken sandwiches.  Prepare the chicken the same way, but rather than putting into a taco, mix in some barbeque sauce and serve on a hamburger bun.  Either of these recipes work equally well in a regular pressure cooker or a crockpot.  A crockpot will take all day on high or 24 hours on low to cook a frozen chicken, but it comes out just as well.

Order your chicken value box today, so that you have a discounted, and steady supply of whole chickens in your freezer for the months to come.
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