What do you do with a whole chicken!?
As the lead cook of the house as well as farm planner/strategist/grunt worker, I knew I had to figure out how to cook a whole chicken – and how to make it taste good! One of the key things of being a farmer with product is knowing how to market it (something I’m still learning), it’s benefits, shortcomings, and how to apply it to every day life so consumers know how to use the product, how it can benefit their life, and how it can fit into their busy schedules.
I had never cooked a whole chicken before, but I knew I needed to learn with breaking out our new endeavor – meat chickens. After searching and searching for whole chicken recipes I found a few to try, then came up with these two recipes – one, your basic whole, roasted chicken; and two, an amazing “second meal” from the leftovers. EVERYTHING can be reused!
How much does this make? It depends on how big of eaters you have and how many of them you have. Colton and I are pretty good eaters, but we almost split ONE chicken breast, especially when you have potatoes, carrots, or other sides with the roasted chicken. The Chicken and Dumplings recipe can be scaled up or down – less chicken? No problem – add more veggies or cut down the broth/gravy. The amount it serves also depends on the size of bird. The one we used was probably over 6 lb (I didn’t weigh it), which produces more for just two people. A family of four might devour a 4 lb chicken and not leave much leftovers for the chicken and dumplings, so plan accordingly.
Garlic Butter Chicken
Cooking a whole chicken has endless possibilities! This one transfers perfectly from a roasted chicken to chicken and dumplings!
Credit: JCT Rustic Homestead
- 1 whole chicken
- 2-4 lb potatoes
- 4-5 carrots
- 2 sticks butter
- 2-4 garlic cloves
- 1 tb garlic salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tb parsley
- Other seasonings to taste
Directions1. Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Chop potatoes and carrots into chunks (1-2 inches). Place potatoes and carrots on bottom of dutch oven/large pot. Place chicken on top, back down.
2. Melt butter then mix in garlic, garlic salt, pepper, parsley and other seasonings if desired. Rub butter mixture all over chicken – try to get some under the skin for extra flavor! (Jen Tip: Put mixture in the fridge for 1-2 minutes so it’s slightly solid to spread on chicken instead of it running everywhere).
3. Bake in the oven 1.5-2 hours, depending on size of bird, or until thermometer reads at least 165-degrees in the thickest part of meat.
4. Once cooked, slice and serve chicken with potatoes and carrots. **SAVE LEFTOVERS!!** (Be sure to save all juices/butter in bottom of pot as well as chicken bones!)
Well … what do you do with the leftovers??
Make something amazing, of course!
Somebody I was around started talking about “chicken and dumplings”. If you haven’t heard of it before it’s kind of like a soup version of chicken pot pie. And if you don’t know what chicken pot pie is … you’re going to have to figure that one out on your own! But chicken and dumplings started sounding good for dinner, so after cooking the above chicken I was able to make the following recipe – from nearly everything above!
When you purchase a whole chicken, especially from a local farmer, you have no idea of the benefits you are receiving until you experience it for yourself.
First – you’re helping to support a local farmer and friend.
Second – you’re receiving ethically raised, fresher than any store, chicken
Third – it’s more than “just meat”. Did you know that saving the bones and putting them in a crock pot for a day will give you chicken stock/broth far more nutritious and healthy than the stuff you find at the store? Plus – you just got yourself about 10 cups of free chicken broth! Sometimes you can even make a second round – after draining the broth, put the bones and more water (maybe not quite as much) back into the crock pot for another round of broth. Bone broth has been attributed to reducing inflammation, improving gut health, and made from your own chicken means way less sodium but more nutrition and minerals.
Chicken & Dumplings
After cooking your whole chicken be sure to save everything down to the bones and juices to create this de-lish dish!
Credit: JCT Rustic Homestead
- Shredded/cut chicken from Garlic Chicken recipe
- Leftover carrots and potatoes
- All remaining juice/butter/seasonings from Garlic Chicken recipe
- 1/4-1/2 cup flour
- 8-10 cups chicken broth
- Raw biscuits (thawed from frozen, raw from a can, or homemade)
- Bag of frozen veggies (i.e., carrots/peas/beans mix), thawed
- Seasonings to taste
Directions1. From chicken leftovers (Garlic Chicken recipe) – cut all meat from the bones, chop or shred and refrigerate. Put bones in a crockpot and fill with water. You can add onion, cloves of garlic, celery if desired. Put on low all day – 10-12 hours if possible. Cool if needed. Drain through a sieve to remove all bones and extra pieces. (Some people do this a second time with the bones if desired; maybe use a bit less water).
2. Take leftover butter/juices and put into large pot. Add broth made from bones. Heat to a simmer/low boil and add flour – enough to make a thin gravy. Add any extra seasonings – salt, pepper, etc. (My grandma and mom always said, “Taste your gravy!”).
3. Once your gravy is made, add your shredded chicken, veggies, leftover potatoes and carrots. Open the biscuits (I have used refrigerated and thawed from frozen – I prefer the flavor of the frozen ones). Cut them into 4-6 pieces each and drop into the gravy/chicken mixture. Place lid on top and let simmer until biscuits are cooked, usually about 30 minutes. Keep the temp to a simmer/low boil. May need to occasionally stir to keep from scorching.
There you have it! Two amazing dishes – farm kid approved!
Be sure to tell us how you like to cook your whole chicken and how you liked these recipes! As of this post we only have one more round of meat birds for 2021 (heading to processor September 16) and the preorders have been rolling in, so if you’re wanting to try your farm fresh chicken this year be sure to contact us and reserve your “dinner”!