Homegrown Chicken Dinner

Raise your own meat birds

You know what I love? Roasted chicken for dinner.

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Roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and frozen garden peas.

 

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I’d rather have the peas fresh, but it’s not even the middle of April yet so I am content with frozen fresh peas from last year. Our homegrown peas taste much better than those bags of frozen peas at the grocery store.

 

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It’s always a treat when we cook one of our homegrown chicken. Although we part quite a few of the birds out (so we can have packages of breasts or thighs) we always leave several to cook as roasters. Before putting it in the oven, we rub the bird with melted butter then sprinkle it with salt and pepper. It’s especially good with a good sized sprig of Rosemary laid across its body so if you have some, use it.

 

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It’s always so delicious, no matter what time of year we take one from the deep freezer.

 

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We make broth from the juices and use it to make a pot of chicken soup. It’s an inexpensive meal and, coupled with some bread and a salad, it makes a healthy dinner. A nice sized meat bird can feed a family of 4 for 4 meals if you use your imagination. There are lots of recipes that use sliced or diced pieces of chicken.

Meat birds are great! We buy day old Cornish Giants and raise them for 8 weeks. We’re thinking of doing a few birds this year, but we haven’t made a final decision on it. You can read about our raising meat birds here if you like.

It’s Great to Have Chicken in the Freezer Again!

Raise Your Own Meat Birds

A week ago, we started sending our meat birds to freezer camp. We raise Cornish Giants (which is the Canadian equivalent of Cornish Cross) and these birds are bred to gain weight fast. We got them as chicks and 8 weeks later they were ready to be slaughtered. However, Graham wasn’t able to be here when we hit the 8 week mark, so I kept on feeding the birds for what ended up being an extra 3 weeks. I did cut back on their daily feed, as I didn’t want to lose any to heart attacks which can happen because they gain weight so quickly.

 

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So at 11 weeks ago, we were finally able to get started. We did the butchering over two days, which was great. In the mornings, it was still nice and cool without a lot of bugs flying around. Since we do most of our processing down at the barn, we need to pay attention to things like the weather and the bugs.

 

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Our largest bird this year came in at 9 pounds, completely dressed out! Amazing – we got several that weighed 8  1/2 pounds. Our smallest was 5 1/2 pounds. We’re happy with the “harvest” and it’s great to see a freezer full of meat again.

 

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We kept a few birds whole and froze them, so we can use them as roasters this winter. We parted out a lot of the birds as well, and ended up with many of the breasts weighing 2 pounds! Astounding – each side of the breast weighed just over 1 pound. It’s easy to mistake these chicken pieces for turkey.

Friends came for dinner and we enjoyed our first taste of homegrown chicken and it was delicious.