This recipe was amazingly simple. The chicken is moist and falls off the bone, and the best part is coming home to a house that smells like supper.
- 1 whole chicken, giblets removed, rinsed
- 1 large onion
- 1/2 stick butter, cubed
- seasonings to taste (I used salt, pepper and paprika)
Chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the chicken on top of the onion and sprinkle on the seasonings. Place the butter around and on top of the chicken. There’s no need to add liquid. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. After the time is up, remove the chicken from the slow cooker to rest. It will fall apart, so use a big spoon to get it out. Remove the liquid that has accumulated and use it to make gravy. Skim off the fat from the broth.
- 3 Tbsp of the skimmed fat or butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- broth from cooking the chicken (about 2 cups)
- salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together the fat and flour in a sauce pan. Add in the broth from cooking the chicken, season, and stir over low heat until thickened. Serve with the chicken and mashed potatoes or rice.
These chicken legs are so good, thanks to being repeatedly brushed with BBQ sauce. I am aware that this is not true barbecue, but I’m from New England so it’s as close as I get. The legs develop a nice thick layer of sauce over the skin, or you can remove the skin and brush the sauce right onto the meat. I like to make some with and some without skin, so everyone has what they like. That way, you don’t miss out on the sauce if you prefer to eat the chicken without skin. In addition to being tasty and a perfect summertime food, legs are very affordable. Adjust the proportions accordingly for how ever many people you plan to serve. I plan on about 2-3 legs per person, but plan on more if you have big eaters.
- 10 chicken legs
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken on a baking pan, lining it with parchment paper or foil if you wish. Bake for 20 minutes without any sauce, then bake for 25 more minutes, stopping every 5 minutes to brush on more BBQ sauce. Serve hot.
You probably don’t want to use your nice cloth napkins when you serve these chicken legs for supper.
I started writing this post as a means of explaining what I’ve learned about cooking with sustainably-raised meats since November, when we butchered the pigs and also purchased 1/4 of a cow. However, this post turned into a discussion of our food choices, and I’ll write about the changes I’ve made to my cooking in a future post.
A few years back, I started realizing that there were major problems with the meat industry. I remember watching news reports about E. coli outbreaks and seeing the disgusting conditions in the processing plants. I felt like my only choices were to buy the conventional meat at the grocery store or become a vegetarian. However, I now understand that becoming a vegetarian is not the only answer to solving the environmental and ethical problems associated with eating meat. In fact, I prefer to vote with my dollars by buying meat that is produced according to my values.
As a life-long animal lover, I absolutely believe that the animals we choose to eat should be treated humanely, even loved by their owners, and I know that is not the case with industrially raised animals. Therefore, we choose to eat animals that we know have lived under humane conditions. We trust the labels at the grocery store less and less, and instead prefer to trust people we know.
I’ve developed a set of ethics for our meat choices, based on our own values. This isn’t so much a heirarchy, but more a set of guidelines that I like to follow.
- Raised, caught, or hunted by family or friends.
- Locally and sustainably raised.
- Raised without hormones or antibiotics.
- Use the whole animals, since that will translate into fewer animals overall.
- Limit meat to one meal each day on most days.
Ed and I are true omnivores, meaning that we eat a wide variety of foods, including many different kinds of meats. These are the choices we make, based on location and availability of each of the following meats.
Fish and Shellfish
- Clams and Oysters- Ed’s brother’s aquaculture business makes this one easy. They raise clams and oysters, or will dredge for wild clams.
- Scallops and Lobster- We have friends in Maine who are fishermen, and when anyone from Ed’s family visits them they bring home lobsters and scallops. We have some scallops in the freezer, but eat the lobsters fresh a few times each year. I’m allergic to lobster, so that limits how often Ed eats them, but I’m always happy for scallops.
- Fish- Ed and his brother love to go salt water fishing. They’ll catch a surplus in the summer and we fill our freezer with blackfish, porgies, sole, flounder and other fish from the Sound. I’ve cut back on the amount of fish I eat since taking my course on Long Island Sound and learning that women of reproductive age shouldn’t eat too much of these fish due to possible contamination with mercury. I do love fish, however, so we make sure to eat low on the food chain and limit fish to no more than one meal per week, often less.
- Other seafood- We rarely eat other fish or shellfish, since we don’t have a local or sustainable source for them. We will eat wild Alaskan salmon a few times a year when it’s in season, and Ed will eat shrimp (I’m allergic to them, too) around the holidays when shrimp cocktail is at all the parties.
- Turkey- Ed’s family has started raising turkeys this year, and I’m excited to have a local source of turkey that was raised humanely and ethically.
- Chicken- Chicken has been our big problem. We don’t know any local chicken farmers and haven’t seen it at any of the local farmer’s markets. I buy the store brand chicken that is raised without hormones and antibiotics, because this is the best option available to us right now. We eat chicken about once each week. I try to buy the whole bird since the price is much cheaper, or I buy bone-in, skin-on breasts, thighs and legs, and often save the bones for stock.
- Other poultry- We will have cornish hens rarely, maybe once each year when I see them on sale in the grocery store.
- This is an easy one. Ed’s family raises pigs, and we have a bunch of pork in our freezer. The bone-in pork chops are amazing and taste nothing like the bland white ones I used to buy in the grocery store. The big change for me has been learning to cook the different roasts, sausage, bacon and ham. As I write this I think of all the ham in the freezer that I’ll need to use up by next November. Anybody have some ideas for good ham recipes?
- We got 1/4 of a cow from Ed’s cousin and split it with Chris and Melissa. We bought this meat because we know how the cows were raised. Like with the pork, I’ve been learning to cook different cuts of meat that I never made before. Ground beef recipes, since that was what we got the most of, have been staples around here. Stews, roasts and soups have also been weekly regulars. The round eye roast in the slow cooker right now was the inspiration for this post. I’ve realized that the NY Strip Steaks and Rib-Eye steaks Ed loved so much before aren’t the best choice for sustainability, since they represent only a small fraction of the cow.
Dairy and Eggs
- Milk- I buy a brand from a co-op of Connecticut family farmers who do not use hormones or antibiotics. I am most comfortable with pasteurized milk, so that is what I buy.
- Cheese- I love to get cheese from the farmer’s markets. The cheddars, ricottas, and fresh white flavored cheeses are delicious but also expensive, so I’m learning to make my own cheese. So far, I’ve only mastered ricotta, but I’m hoping to learn more as time goes on. I’ll also buy cheese produced throughout New England at the regular grocery store.
- Butter- I choose to buy butter from a New England company.
- Yogurt- Ed loves to take yogurt with his lunch, but I buy a big container of antibiotic and hormone free yogurt instead of the one-serving containers to limit plastic waste.
- Eggs- Ed and I have put our plans for chickens on hold until next year, since his schedule now that clamming season is back in full swing doesn’t allow for a lot of time to build a coop. I buy eggs from the same brand as the milk we get, and they’re from family farms in Connecticut. I love their dark orange yolks, but they fly off the store shelves, so when they’re not available I buy eggs from the traditional farm in the next town over.
- Venison and Fowl- We will occasionally eat deer, moose, caribou, or any type of fowl that has been hunted by Ed or a family member or friend. This is a rare occasion now, but in the past Ed used to hunt more often.
- Going Out- When we go out to eat (which is pretty rare!) or to a friend or family member’s house, we tend to drop the rules. I try to eat what’s in season and fresh, but sometimes we just get what we get.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our choices for eating meat in a humane, sustainable way. I am sure that there are plenty of people that don’t agree with my choices. The important thing to me is that we are all able to make our own choices. I understand that this is a controvercial topic, but I hope that we can have a respectful conversation about it. Please share your choices in the comments.
- 4 thin-sliced chicken cutlets
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- splash milk
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp flour
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 cup water
- chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare to bread the cutlets by getting three wide bowls. Place the flour in one, beat egg with milk in another, and breadcrumbs in the last. Coat each cutlet in flour, then dip in egg, then breadcrumbs.
- In a Dutch oven or large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Brown the first two chicken cutlets on each side, then remove from pan. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and repeat.
- Add the remaining oil and flour and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice, mustard, honey and water and heat over low heat until bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the sauce and heat for a few minutes until heat is cooked through. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
Would you look at those bright green beans! Those are ones I froze from our garden back in July. I just popped them in some boiling water until they were hot!
Garlic Lemon Roasted Chicken
- 4-5 lb whole chicken
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 lemon
- 1 head of garlic
Place the chicken in a Dutch oven or roasting pan. Remove giblets and tuck wings under the breast. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil onto the chicken, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Slice the lemon and garlic head in half. Stuff half of the garlic head into the cavity. Squeeze half the lemon juice over the outside of the chicken, then stuff the lemon half into the cavity. Stuff the other half of the garlic head into the cavity. Squeeze the other half of the lemon juice into the cavity, and stuff the lemon into the cavity. Massage the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper into the skin. Bake at 375 F for about 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally, until the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before carving to redistribute the juices.
I’m making boiled red potatoes and sauteed yellow squash to go with this chicken. This squash recipe is my go-to in the summer when I’m sick of plain old boiled squash. It’s good with yellow or green squash.
Sauteed Summer Squash
- 3 yellow or green squash (or a mix)
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Shred the squash using a box grater. Saute the garlic and squash in the oil in a large pan. The squash will release a lot of liquid, so continue cooking until it’s mostly gone. (You can drain it if you don’t want to wait that long.) It will take 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add parmesan cheese if you like, like Ed’s mom Marie does. It’s good with or without the cheese. Serves 2 hungry squash-eaters.
Tonight I’m making honey mustard chicken (which I learned from Ed’s mom) and potato salad (which I learned from my mom).
Honey Mustard Chicken
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- Honey, about 1/4 cup
- Dijon mustart, about 3 Tbsp
- Whole-grain mustard, about 1 or 2 Tbsp
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and grill until just cooked through. While chicken cools slightly, mix together the honey and mustards. Slice chicken into strips, place in a baking dish and pour honey mustard sauce over it. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 F until sauce slightly thickens.
- 4 baking potatoes
- 4 eggs
- Salt and pepper
Boil whole potatoes until cooked through. Boil eggs about 10 minutes. Allow potatoes and eggs to cool. Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Peel eggs and slice using an egg slicer. Put potatoes and eggs into a large bowl, add enough mayonaise to hold the salad together and season to taste. Chill, or serve warm like my mom does.
So here’s the promised update… Buttermilk Baked Chicken.
I pretty much never make a recipe the way it reads. In this case, I didn’t have buttermilk so I used regular milk. I also used dried breadcrumbs instead of fresh. In addition, I changed some other ingredients as I saw fit. I got the idea from one of my new favorite cooking shows, Everyday Food, which is on PBS on weekends. If you want to see their version of the recipe, look for it here.
My version of (Butter)milk Baked Chicken
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 skinless bone-in chicken breasts (I had to pull off the skin)
- black pepper
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp olive oil
Mix milk, garlic, honey and pepper. Marinade chicken breasts in refridgerator for 1-2 hours, depending on how much time you have. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 F. Mix breadcrumbs and olive oil (which will help them brown). Remove chicken from marinade, top with breadcrumbs, and bake 30-40 minutes until cooked through.