Saturday, October 1, 2011

Farm Fresh Poultry (with bonuses)!

I found a source for local poultry for a reasonable price recently. I am very excited about it, as we eat a lot of chicken and I want to feed my family the cleanest meat I can.

Today was my pickup day. When I went to the farmer's market this morning, my poultry guy said that he had picked out two special chickens for me, but the killing team wasn't quite to them when he had to leave. He made arrangements to pick them up and bring the to me in the afternoon. WOW! Clean meat and superb customer service!

When we met up later, he handed me my bag and said that since I had asked for feet to be included, he had told that to the killing team. They packed a few extra in my bag since so few ask for them. I love to add them to my broth for extra flavor and gelatin. When I got the bags home and began putting things away, I found a surprise. If dead chicken offends you, stop reading here, for beyond is photographic evidence of my fortune.

They included the heads, too!

There were actually 10 feet, already cleaned, and 10 heads, also clean, along with all the internal organs except the intestines. I am very pleased. The livers were large, beautifully colored and healthy. The hearts were bright and ready for dissection. My anatomy students are well-pleased to have a bonus project for Monday.

I did a chicken anatomy lesson on-the-fly, since we had a neighbor child over who had never seen the feet and heads, let alone the insides of a real chicken. He didn't want to touch anything, but he did listen intently. I also pulled a tendon in the feet to make the toes move. We just learned about tendons on Thursday, so that was very timely. It also brought to mind a story.

I wonder if he will tell his parents about what he saw at Mrs. Mommaofmany's house today? hehehe

I also have to share this hilarious photobomb that I caught. Jack makes the best faces. He often makes us laugh at his accidental expressions in pictures. This one was far from accidental, but too funny!

Chicken Stock

4 pounds chicken pieces, including necks and backs

2 or more chicken feet, if desired (they REALLY improve the flavor and nutrition of the broth)

1 large onion, quartered

4 carrots, washed and chunked

4 ribs celery, cut in half

1 leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise

10 sprigs fresh thyme

10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems

2 bay leaves

8-10 peppercorns

2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 gallons cold water

Place cool water, chicken (and feet), veggies, spices and vinegar in a 12 quart stockpot. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Cook on high until just boiling, then turn the heat down to medium. Skim the scum occasionally. Add hot water, if needed, to keep the bones and veggies submerged. Simmer, covered for 6-8 hours or up to 24 hours. (If simmering overnight, turn heat to very low and keep tightly covered.)

Strain stock through a colander or strainer into another large pot. Discard the bones and veggie scraps, but save the chicken meat. Put stockpot in sinkful of ice to cool quickly, then refrigerate overnight. Remove solidified fat from stock if desired. Keeps in fridge a week or more, or freeze for 3 months.

When refrigerated, the stock should be solid from all the gelatin.

You can also make this in a crockpot. Let cook on low for up to 24 hours.

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