A Chicken from Start to Finish

Every now and then I get in the mood to do something a little different then I normally do when cooking chicken. My standard way to cook chicken is lemon juice/lemon zest and some salt/pepper. When I get in a mood for something different I make glazed chicken or I bake one with some herbs grown in the garden. In this case I also wanted some chicken stock for future cooking.

Requirements

-Dutch Oven

-Butter

-Thyme

-Rosemary

-Salt/Pepper

-Cayenne pepper

-Whole Chicken

-New Potatoes

-One Medium Size Onion

1) Melt butter inside dutch oven and place chicken breast side down.  Allow the chicken to stay upside down until the breast has a light brown color.  This process is mainly for looks but since people eat with their eyes first its a good addition.

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The whole chicken right before it goes into the oven. I like a well seasoned bird.

2) Once the chicken has browned a little turn it breast side up.  At this point it’s time to add the seasonings.  I don’t have a set amount of each spice that I use and go mainly by looks and feel.  I do roughly equal amounts of each spice except for the cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt.  These I go light on since they can overwhelm the chicken pretty easily.  When you chicken looks something like the one to the right, you are right on the money. Make sure you get the legs too.

3) Cut up the potatoes and onion and place them around the chicken.  This is a great way to season the potato and create a side for your upcoming meal.  I love when I can cook two items at once without having to do extra dishes.

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Just after coming out of the oven.The potatoes on the bottom are the best, or at least I think so. They make a great side and produce no additional dishes to wash.

4) Preheat and bake the chicken at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.  When you take the chicken out of the oven the chicken and potatoes should be cooked perfectly. My favorite potatoes are on the bottom. These taste amazing after cooking in the seasonings and chicken.

 

I like cooking whole chickens because I can roughly get three meals out of one.  I’ll have one side of the beast for two meal and then I dump everything except the potatoes into a stock pot. I boil everything for about an hour or until the remaining meat falls off the bone.  I separate the meat from the bones and other items.  The meat will be used to make enchiladas or something else that requires shredded chicken.

Chicken Stock

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Chicken stock in the stock pot. I haven’t chilled it down yet in this picture. If you look closely you can still see the fat floating on top. After it chills the fat will turn solid and is easy to remove with a spoon.

To make chicken stock I take the water that I used to boil the chicken and place it back into the stock pot.  I also add the chicken bones back into the water.  The bones are where most of the flavor will come from that flavor the stock.  You can either crack the bones or leave them whole depending on how long you want to boil them.  Cracked bones release their flavor faster then whole bones, but require more work to break them in half.

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Chicken stock in the pressure cooker.

I boil everything for roughly 3 hours off and on.  The great thing about making stock is you can start and stop as needed.  It actually works to your advantage to chill it down at least once so that the fat from the chicken will turn solid and is easier to remove.  If you plan to can the stock it’s a requirement anyways.

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Canned and cooling chicken stock. I’ll use this in rice, soups, and gumbo. Its a fantastic base for just about anything.

After you have extracted as much flavor as your can from the bones it’s time to do the final adjustments to your stock.  What I mean by final adjustments is tasting to see if any additional seasoning are needed or if the chicken flavor is to strong for you. If the chicken flavor is more then you looking for add a little water to the stock and the flavor will mellow out.  If you added to much water in the beginning you can remove the lid from your pot and boil the stock longer.  This will concentrate the chicken flavor. One of the best things about cooking at home is you have total control over the flavors of your food.  I always can my stock but I’m not going into details about the canning process.  That information is all over the internet and available on the Ball website.

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