Posts Tagged ‘free range’

A Roasted Chicken for Sandy

April 9, 2009

Spring is official, and to prove it, our friends Sandy and Brenda sent me home with an HEB bag full of spring onions when we visited them in San Antonio last weekend. I love green onions, particularly with fresh spring fare, and even more particuarly with fresh lemons.   Then, I happened to visit the New Flower Farmer’s Market in South Austin, and found a free range Rosie Chicken.

I just finished eating one of the best roasted birds I’ve ever taken out of my oven.  It was seriously loaded with the taste of onions, so you won’t like this if you don’t like them.  It was brined over night, then cooked with a cavity full of Sandy’s spring onions and sliced fresh lemons.  We ate it with a side of roasted beets with wilted greens, and seared Brussels sprouts.

Thanks to Sandy for the onions, and Brenda for the cute picture of her husband and their dog, Priscilla.

Onion grower. Dane lover.  Thanks to Brenda for the picture.

Onion grower. Dane lover. Thanks to Brenda for the picture.

¾ cup kosher salt
½ cup pickle juice (I had bread and butter pickles)

Pour salt and pickle juice into a container big enough to hold your bird, but small enough to refrigerate.  I was using a 6¾ quart cast iron dutch oven. Add cool water about half way up the container and stir until the salt dissolves.  Place the chicken, breast side down into the water and then add more water as needed to cover the bird.  Place in the refrigerator for 18 hours or so.

Roast Chicken with Spring Onions and Lemon
4 lb brined free range chicken
olive oil
fresh cracked black pepper
cayene pepper
2-3 cups chopped green onions, white and green parts
2 sliced fresh lemons

Remove the chicken from the brine, and then pat it dry.  Remove any remaining pin feathers, and trim excess fat from the cavity opening.  Cover the bird in about 1 tbs of olive oil, then season with black and cayenne peppers.  Make certain to season the entire exterior, and cavity.  Place the chicken in a large dutch oven or roasting pan with wing tips bent back and placed behind the bird. Stuff the cavity fully with one of the sliced lemons, and as much chopped onions as will loosely fit. Sprinkle remaining green onions around the bird, then squeeze the remaining sliced onions over and around it. Drop the lemon slices in the pan.

Roast, covered at 350°F until the internal thigh temperature reaches 120°F.  This is where having a digital probe thermometer comes in very handy. There’s no need to remove the set up from the oven to know what temperature you’re at.   The chicken I roasted tonight took about 30 minutes to reach this temp.  Then remove the lid from the roaster and bring the temperature of the bird to about 165° and the skin to lightly golden, approximatly 30 more minutes.  Remove from the oven and let it rest, covered for at least 10 minutes before carving.  The chicken will continue cooking for a few minutes when removed from the heat, and should come to at least 170° before you eat it.

Oven pot roast.

April 19, 2008

3 lb chuck roast
½ cup flour
Salt and Pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2/3 cup red wine
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 cup carrots, chopped
6 small Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
2 tbs flour

Apply salt and pepper to all surfaces of the chuck roast. Mix together flour, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Place roast in bag, seal, and shake to coat. Heat olive oil in oven safe pan. Brown the roast on all sides until dark and crusted. Remove meat from pan. Add onions, stirring until just soft. Deglaze pan w/ red wine. Place roast back in pan with onions, piling some onions on top of the roast and leaving some under it. Add fresh thyme leaves. Cover tightly. Place in oven at 280F for about 2 hours. Remove and reserve pan drippings if liquid layer is more than ¼ way up the side of the beef. Add carrots and potatoes. Recover and cook for another hour or until the roast is falling off the bone. Remove roast and vegetables from the pan. Remove about ½ cup of the pan drippings and whisk in flour with a fork. Bring remaining drippings to a simmer adding beef broth if necessary to obtain desired volume. Whisk in flour mixture and allow to thicken, simmering over low heat. Serve over meat and veg.

As it turns out, Lunch and Dinner are very tasty steers.

Meet Lunch and Dinner.

March 25, 2008

My mother cried when she discovered I’d stopped eating meat. Even by Texas standards, that’s sort of an extreme reaction. However, my particular mother is a cattle rancher, as was her mother. She was convinced that I’d never be willing to come home and help on the place. She morned the idea that I wouldn’t eat her cooking anymore.

That said, I am not actually a vegetarian. Growing up in the deepest ventricles of cattle country, I was a born carnivore. I love meat. Still do. In grad school at Texas A&M, though I spent a lot of time around the poultry industry. I taught labs on poultry slaughter and the egg industry. I took classes as an undergrad in meat processing. Have you ever smelt the inside of a layer house?

Though I do believe that my digestive tract and teeth are meant to tear into some tasty tasty flesh, I don’t believe that I should sacrifice my ethics to do so. Food animals don’t deserve feed lots, high cage density, filth, or fear. I want to eat them. I don’t want to be responsible for their torture.

For the last couple of years, I’ve stopped eating any industry raised meat. Okay okay…. that was me you saw at the Salt Lick, ( but I felt really guilty after! Usually though, I only eat game, wild caught seafood, or ethically raised meat. Free range, grass fed meat is hard to come by and is fairly expensive.

Then it struck me: Mom raises cattle. I convinced her to let a couple of calves grow out with the herd and then have them processed. I picked two bull calves, earmarked 26 & 27, and had them castrated.

They’ve been happily grazing away on 250 acres in Oakalla, Tx, with a little bit of grain and range cubes thrown in. My boyfriend recently renamed them Lunch and Dinner. Last week, we delivered them to Hibler’s deer processing in San Saba.

Stay tuned for beef recipes.