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The ONE secret to a great Free Range Chicken Dinner

Nothing is better than Fresh Farmers Market Chicken
There is  nothing as amazing as a Chicken dinner that is cooked just right. Everyone has a recipe and everyone has a secret ingredient or technique including us so read on....

Our local Farmers Market makes a compelling case for never buying any meat that isn't fresh, local and humanely grown.  The animals are healthier and the meat just tastes better.  We have an amazing organic free range chicken farmers at our market who always has a range of whole chickens that are fresh and ready to cook.  The benefits?  Besides the fact that the chicken are fresh and never frozen (the first thing that makes them taste better), they haven't been fed a bunch of hormones, antibiotics or arsenic which can stay in the meat (like commercial mass produced chickens) and they are not dipped in chemicals after they are processed (which is done on mass produced chicken processing lines).

Ok... we get the fresh part you might say.... but  what is your secret to cooking them..?  Like many buyers i would look through the chickens and pick out the biggest one to take home to cook. My farmer would always tell  me the little ones taste better and i would laugh and think he was just trying to sell me until he convinced me to do a taste test.  I bought two whole chickens... one was the largest he had and the other a smaller bird just over 3/4 a pound.    Cooked them up and guess what...?  He was right... the smaller birds were more tender and there was more skin and fat % so the bird was juicer.  Now I always buy two smaller birds and cook them together.  Here is how i do it.

Organic Chicken with Thyme and Lemon

  • Select two small organic chickens
  • Wash and dry them completely
  • Salt and pepper the outsides
  • place 1/4 cup of lemon zest and 1 tsp of fresh chopped thyme split between the birds in the cavities
  • separate the skin from the breast carefully and place chopped 1/4  tsp of thyme and a pinch of zest under the skin on each side.  
  • Select 12 small 3/4 inch red potatoes
  • Preheat oven to 425 with a cast iron skillet in the oven
  • Place bird breast side down in the skillet and cook for 20 min.
  • flip bird pouring  juices out of the bird into the pan, add potatoes, and cook for an additional 20 min or until the skin is golden.  Reduce heat for 5 min more.  
  • Remove from heat and drain juices into the pan, place on a plate and let rest for 10 min. 
  • Spoon out the potatoes to a plate being careful not to break them.
  • Heat the juices in the pan with a tiny amount of flour (or cornstarch) and splash of white wine - the sauce is a sauce, not a gravy so don't make it too thick.  Boil it down whisking it till it is a consistency you can spoon over and drizzle the chicken with.   You CAN add a drop of lemon but be careful...
  • Serve with the drizzle over the chicken and potatoes... ENJOY .....

Photo credit Craig Rippens


Follow the Castle Gardener.   Perfecting permaculture and organic practices that are NO WORK and can be done by a farm girl with painted nails..