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Rabu, 11 Maret 2009

Cooking Whole Chickens

Have you ever looked at the price of organic, free range chicken packages in the store? YIKES! Buying healthier meats can put quite a strain on a budget. But, at the same time, commercially farmed chicken can put quite a strain on our body. I mean, we don't really do well with the extra antibiotics and vaccine ingredients. (For a complete list of what's scary about commercially farmed chicken read this.)


Here is what works for us:
I purchase whole chickens from a local farm operation. (Check out LocalHarvest.org for farms near you.) These chickens are much healthier than grocery store chickens, even though they are not as cheap as the whole birds at the market. They are much cheaper than the boneless, skinless packages though!
In order to make the meat go as far as it can, I cook one each week so that I have meat for three meals and stock for rice and soups. Making stock is important. There is more nourishment on a chicken than just the protein in the meat! Preparing a stock to use in other recipes will take advantage of the abundant minerals and other nutritive properties found in the whole chicken.
This may seem like a daunting process, but it actually is quite simple... as long as I remember to thaw out a chicken in time! I just put a chicken in the crock pot with plenty of pure water and let it slowly cook all day long. Vegetables may be added to give flavor and extra nutrition to the stock, but they won't be very palatable after the extended cooking.
At the end of the day, I debone my chicken and divide the meat. We usually eat 1/2 of the chicken with supper that night. And I use the other half in a casserole or other recipe that will give us enough leftovers for two complete meals. Keep in mind that this diced chicken can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken breasts. Last, but not least, I strain the stock and refrigerate it for other recipes as well.
Our chickens cost about $10 each. For three meals and plenty of nourishing stock, we figure it beats the packaged store chickens both for our budget and for our health.

Cooking Whole Chickens Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Jesicca Rienzy

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