Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One Chicken: Many Meals

Here are five quart jars and a half gallon jar of one batch of chicken stock made from one seven pound chicken. This is not like chicken stock from the store. This chicken stock gels and thickens as it cools. Sometimes I have to use a spatula to scoop it out. I roasted one of our Cornish Cross Chickens last week. After picking all the meat off of the carcass, I started a batch of chicken stock with some extra feet that I pulled out of the freezer along with some carrots, onion peels, celery, pepper, bay leaf, apple cider vinegar, thyme sprigs and salt. The stock takes a couple days I bring it to a boil, simmer on low, let it cool over night and then reheat it the next day back to a boil, let it cool and then strain. I try to get as much of the nutrients out of the bones and feet and all.

With the chicken meat I made a big pot of a cuban chicken and rice dish which we've been eating all week in various forms, mostly rolled up with beans, tortillas and salsa. Then I made about six cups of chicken salad with homemade mayo, celery and onion. Finally I still had several cups of meat leftover, so I made a large pot of chicken vegetable soup, which I plan to add noodles to as we eat it. This one chicken has fed us at least one meal every day for a week. In addition, I have a few quarts of chicken soup and several quarts of chicken stock in the freezer.

This chicken was a Cornish Cross souped up hybrid. They grow so fast, it is not right. When we first started looking at meat breeds we hesitated to raise these unnatural birds. At the end of the summer we would see them stand up , take a few steps, sit down and rest, and then stand up and take a few more steps. Kinda sad, and I know how this sounds but it does make easier to kill. Last year we fed them our own whole grain feed which slowed down their fast growth drastically, but added significantly to their cost. This year we are going to feed them commercial grower feed, and raise them for a much shorter period. We might even stagger harvest days and kill the biggest ten at the end of July, and then the remaining twenty a month later. That way the birds aren't overly crowded in their final days, and we have chicken earlier in the summer.  This past week as we've slowly worked our way through this one chicken, I have but one thought;
I love Cornish Cross Chickens.


Bruce King said...

I'll be doing an experiement comparing the cost of cornish cross and heritage roosters over the next couple of months.

Emily said...

Bruce, I tried to comment on your post, not sure if it made it or not. But I can't wait to see how your experiment goes. That is awesome. We are going to be much more diligent about saving every feed bag receipt so that we can figure out exactly how much it costs us to raise the cornish this summer. On a different note, I'm trying to decide between Bourbon Reds, Naragansettes and Blue Slate, from your experiences do you have a preference as far as setters and natural mothers go???