We cooked our fresh chicken on Wednesday night and found it to be delicious, full of flavor, and a (mostly) welcome departure from the grocery store variety. Here is a recap of the big event:
I chose to brine the chicken. If I did it again with this type of chicken, I would have allowed it to brine overnight and then "dry out" during the day.
I used Ina Garten's Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken as my template, with a few adjustments. (Do you ever watch Barefoot Contessa? If so, then you know Jeffrey loves his chicken! It makes us laugh whenever Ina makes chicken for Jeffrey, so I had to pay homage. Plus, I trust her recipes. Trust is very important to me when I use other people's recipes. Well, trust is just important all the time, isn't it?) Wow...that was a HUGE digression.
Back to the chicken...
The chicken had flavor. It reminded us a little bit of turkey. When you buy your typical boneless skinless chicken breast at the store, it is really a blank canvas for your recipe. This bird had its own tremendous flavor that was simply enhanced with some butter, salt, and pepper. The inside was stuffed with garlic, lemon, and thyme, but those flavors didn't really stand out to me.
I was most intrigued by the differences in anatomy between my bird and the typical one at the grocery store. Simply stated, there was very little (if any) fat; the leg meat was very dark; and the breast meat was much smaller.
There was a fair bit of, shall we say, "wrestling" involved in the preparation of our bird. This is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for people who wish to forget their dinner ever had a life. I prefer not to work with whole birds just because it doesn't come naturally to me; I need to remind myself every time how to tie it, how to break it down, etc. This was especially difficult with two little munchkins circling my feet the enitre time.
My favorite moment of the entire experience was when I was breaking down the chicken for us to eat. As I twisted a leg to pop the joint, Andrew walked in and said, "Mommy, you made us a frog?" I love it! I wish you could see the scene; we are still laughing, days later. I also love that he took it in stride and didn't think it was weird. (I also love that he asked for me to add nutmeg to his cereal that same morning!)
Would I do it again? Definitely! The flavor was great, I learned a lot, and I will be able to improve my techniques next time. Most importantly, I took comfort in knowing how the chicken was raised. There was no question that I was feeding my family something wholesome.