Monday, June 23, 2008

Chicken season

It is a beautiful time for farms and for food.  Tomatoes are almost upon us, strawberries are ripe and sweet, there are terrific cherries, greens, peaches and beets all ready to be eaten, but for me, the best part about early summer is the Chickens.  Those that were chicks in the spring have grown to processing size, and it is time to eat them. 

I bought my first pastured chicken on saturday from Arcadian Pastures at the Grand Army Plaza Green Market.  The market itself was bursting with produce, fish, meats, cheeses, wines, flowers and jams.  

I have been waiting all spring for the broilers to be ready.  I really love chicken.  There was a time when I would cook and eat chicken every other week.  
But I have sworn off factory chicken from my home cooking.  No more perdue, no more tyson, no more over-priced CAFO natural/organics like Murray's or D'Artgnan.  Nope, only pasture for me.  But there is one problem with that - I have to eat seasonally.  This is something I have never done in my life.  

Getting into seasonal eating has been really fun.  I honestly thought it would suck alot, and I felt helpless, not knowing what seasonal was exactly.  So I go to the market each week, and I buy what I can, and I find as I go along that I am learning what seasonal is.  I know that most greens, bok choy, beets, asparagus, snap peas, garlic and scallions are all in season.  By the end of this year I will have a pretty good idea of our local seasonal offerings.  And it is actually really fun.  

Chicken, which was once commonplace on my plate, is now a summer treat.  I can look forward to eating it for much of the summer, but will have to wait it out all winter (when, luckily, pork will be fresh).

So tonight I cooked.  I cooked only what I bought at the market.  It is pictured below.

Recipe below (with sources of ingredients):

Roast Chicken with Basil and Sauteed Bok Choy and Mushrooms

3 lb Chicken  (Pastured, farmer's market)
1/2 lb Bella Mushrooms (FM)
4 medium size bok choy (FM)
5 young scallions (FM)
2 cloves garlic (FM)
Salt and Pepper
Soy Sauce
Olive Oil

The Chicken had plenty of juice in the bag, I saved it.  

Pre-heat oven to 450.
Butter chicken (by hand), rub with butter, salt and pepper.  Halve two small scallion stalks and place them, butter and basil inside the chicken.  A bit of basil can also be rubbed into the skin.
melt a bit more butter in a pan.

Cook at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350.  Use brush to rub chicken with butter and pour 1/3rd of chicken juice (or stock, not much, only about 1/2 cup) into pan.
Repeat rub every 15-20 minutes. 
Cook for 45 minutes at 350, then turn back up to 450 for final 15 minutes.

total cook time:  1 1/14 hours.

With about 30 minutes to go for the chicken, heat up oil in saute pan.  Add scallions.  Cook for about 3 minutes, then add garlic, cook for another 3 minutes or so.  Pour in chicken juice, soy sauce, Bok Choy, salt and pepper.  After about 5-7 minutes, add mushrooms.  Cook another 10-15 minutes until chicken is ready.  

Eat it.

Be Well.

1 comment:

Karina said...

Well done baby, that plate looks spectacular! Maybe someday I'll eat your chicken.... maybe ;)

I agree, eating seasonally has been an interesting feat, but it definitely has it's pros, among which include those strawberries we had the other day. de-licious.