food, history, rural life, and how we connect our cultural past and future
10 chickens in the Indigo House Kitchen
In mid-June when the 60 medium-sized chickens that were on shares went to be processed I was left with 10 birds too small to send. I decided to raise them for myself and let them get pretty big over the next few weeks. Well, this week they went to the butcher and weighed between 6 and 7 lbs with one of them topping 8 lbs!!
So Tuesday and Wednesday were two days getting them into the freezer and the stock into jars.
Here are the birds cut up. Approximately 71 lbs of meat!
Then I laid out all the parts to best decide how to vacuum package them.
From right to left; There are three large roasters – spatchcocked and ready to season for the oven. Next in the front is the pile of all trimmed fat and skin to be rendered for chicken fat and cracklins. Above them are half breasts (each big enough for two servings) and one full breast for roasting. Then come the four half birds and above them the wings. I take particular delight in wings so they will be packaged separately. And last are the thigh-leg sections ready to fry or roast.
While I sorted, counted, and vacuum-packed the cut parts I set the feet and necks and backs to roasting for the stock; 400 degrees in the convection oven to get them nice and brown.
Here they are ready to begin the stock.
You can see the various veggies I add to my stock; once it comes to a steady simmer I leave it alone to bubble away for several hours for the best flavor. I then strain out all the bones by pouring the stock through a strainer and let the whole pot of stock cool. At that point I can gently skim the fat from the top – not all of it but most of it if I can.
I add carrot, onion, celery, a half a lemon, peppercorn, bay leaf, parsley, top all with water.
The next morning I brought the clear stock to a good high simmer, filled my quart jars and into the pressure canner they went for 25 min at 11 lb.
Later when the jars were cool I removed the rings, poured a glass of wine and enjoyed being done! (Till the next canning project!)