I had an ephiphany the other day. We’ve been all about voting with our dollars and purchasing sustainably farmed food. I found a California farmer who sells their chickens at Sprouts. Oddly enough, all of the local chicken farmers have been shut down because their equipment isn’t up to par. Sure, I’m a conspiracy theorist, but I suspect the big corporations are to blame. Anyway, I think the regular price for a whole chicken is $3.99 per pound, but they were on sale for $2.99. That made a $20 chicken come down to about $15. Much more better, right?
Of course, if you’re used to buying traditionally farmed chickens at 99 cents per pound, this probably makes you choke on your drumstick. I felt that way, too – until I realized I could use the whole chicken. With one chicken we get enough meat for three dinner servings and two lunches. There’s also the gravy from the drippings which usually makes leftovers, and don’t forget about the bone broth and cooking fat you’ll skim from the broth.
Bone broth is incredibly nutritious – but the trick is that you have to use the bones of an animal that were raised without hormones, antibiotics and in their natural environment to get the full benefit. Animals that are raised in toxic conditions store those toxins in their fat and bone marrow. So, be sure you’re using good bones for your stock.
One chicken will yield dinner, lunch, a pot of gravy, a quart of bone broth, and a couple tablespoons of cooking fat.
1 whole chicken, about 4-5lbs
Sea salt, ground black pepper, paprika, onion powder and thyme
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Peel and quarter the onion, then put the onion in the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken on a broiler sheet.
Quarter lemon and squeeze the juice over all sides of the chicken. Season liberally with salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder and thyme. Arrange chicken breast side down.
Put chicken into hot oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes more, or until internal temperature of the thigh (not touching the bone) reaches 165 degrees. Remove chicken from oven, cover loosely with foil and let stand for about 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
If you've goofed and the chicken isn't quite done (been there), put the carved pieces on the roasting pan and cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Carve chicken and serve. See below for a good video tutorial on how to carve a chicken.
To make the bone broth, reserve carcass and break down the bones. Put all bones, plus the onions and all the trimmings, in a slow cooker. Cover with water and set on low for 24-36 hours. You really can't over do it. Let cool, then remove bones with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth through cheesecloth, a nut milk bag or a wire mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator for a few days.