Saturday, August 18, 2012

nourish: whole chook challenge

Did you know that Australians consume an average of 37kilograms of chicken meat per year? We eat chicken in this house, probably on a 1:2 ratio with red meat. Do you know how much of my chicken meat I bought as whole birds in the past year?


I've never cooked a whole chook. The convenience and habit of buying my chicken in skinless, boneless pieces- almost always breast, sometimes thigh- at a cheap price has been deeply ingrained in my shopping routine.
I was touched and inspired by Kate's post about the preparation of chicken at her organic farm. I felt a call to action, to inform myself about the products I buy, cook for my family and eat. To mindfully consider. We aren't at the point of going vegetarian, although my recent focus on quality, local, organic fruits and vegetables has had the happy spin-off of increasing the number of vegetarian meals we are eating throughout the week.

I am setting myself a challenge:

Buy only whole, free-range chicken for a month.

One meal of chicken breast costs around the same as a whole free-range chook, which should yield two meals, if I'm clever. I need to do some learning about how to piece a chicken, and also the yummiest roast.

Hit me with your favourite whole-chook recipes.


  1. Yes and you can make delicious stock with the carcase when you're done.

  2. I have also started to buy whole birds instead of separate breast and thigh meat as it does work out more cost effective, and as Zara mentioned it is great for stock.
    I haven't yet segmented a bird before cooking it. The way I cook chicken is by roasting it. I just place in an ovenware dish and tie the little legs together with cooking string (so they sit above the bird). I then rub olive oil over the skin and sprinkle it with salt, pepper and herbs (either thyme or dried mixed herbs). I cover it with alfoil for about 1 hour and then uncovered for about 1/2 hour (depending on weight) at about 200 degress C.

  3. Oh i know, i look at our 8 hens who are still laying eggs & can't bring myself to eat them. But there are some roosters coming up through the chick ranks & might have to be eaten. They are not bred as table birds, when we farm properly, we will raise chickens for their meat. I actually love cooking with thighs, they are so tender & delicious, juicy & cheaper. I really can't wait to prepare a chicken we have raised from an egg, it will happen!! To know exactly what it ate & how lovely it's short life was, will be satisfying. Off to give our chickens some freshly grown lettuce from the garden, they go bonkers for lettuce, BONKERS!! I'm growing their own lettuce garden so they can eat to their hearts are content over Summer, love Posie

  4. When I'm at my most thrifty, I cut the breasts from the whole chook to use in stirfries and schnitzels and things. I remove the legs and thighs to roast up for the girls - they love gnawing on a drummy. And the carcass goes into the freezer for the almighty once-every-three-months stock-making spectacular. But I've been roasting whole chooks forever - easiest Sunday dinner ever. (Of course, roasted carcass and bones are saved for said stock spectac.) x

  5. I'm looking forward to trying these ideas! @zara and @greer: is one carcass enough for a stock?

  6. I bet you those chickens would taste great cooked.



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