The best way to cook a pastured chicken is to slow cook it. I have found that slow roasting in a Dutch oven works really well. This will take about 3 hours to cook, but once you put it in the oven you can forget about it for a few hours.
I have also found that soaking the chicken in a brine will make it more juicy and tender. In addition to having a savory and nutritious meal, you may use the bones in your crock pot for a nutrient dense bone broth.
How’s that for using every part of the animal in gratitude and respect?
I’ll tell you how to make this savory chicken and how to set yourself up for making the soup while you are preparing to brine and then roast the chicken so there is only one prep.
I’ve included chicken feet (really, after a while it’s OK). I am fortunate enough to purchase from a farmer that provides what he calls a “soup pack”. It has four chicken feet (and two heads, yikes!) that have been cleaned and frozen. Each pack is extremely inexpensive and worth every penny for the beautiful gelatinous broth it makes.
Slow Roasted Chicken
- One five to six pound chicken (pastured if possible)
- Chicken feet, if you are using them, may also go into the brine (this is optional)
- Sea salt (where to buy sea salt and spices)
- 2 large onions sliced in wedges
- 6 medium organic carrots cut in small pieces lengthwise
- 6 stalks of organic celery (celery should definitely be organic as it is number two on the “dirty dozen” list) cut in small pieces lengthwise
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 organic lemon (optional)
- Organic extra virgin olive oil (or chicken fat) for coating the skin (where to buy high quality oils)
- Kitchen cord for tying the legs
- 1/2 – 1 cup water
- If your chicken is frozen, take it out to defrost in the refrigerator 3 days before you plan to cook
- If you plan to brine the chicken, the night before you want to cook it (it should be defrosted by then) clean the chicken under running water
- Clean the feet at this point as well (read the reasons why you should put chicken feet in your broth)
- Put the chicken and the feet in the brine to soak overnight (here are instructions for a basic brined chicken)
- In the morning remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry and place on a plate
- Put the feet aside in a bowl
- Take your kitchen twine and tie the legs together (this is optional but it seems to help the “back end” cook more evenly
- Stuff the cavity with a couple of carrots, celery, one garlic, the bay leaf and the sprig of thyme
- If you are using the lemon stuff that in the cavity as well
- Place the chicken in the dutch oven
- Coat the breast skin with the olive oil
- Spread the rest of the vegetables around the chicken
- Put a little water in the bottom of the dutch oven (about 1/2 cup – 1 cup)
- Cover the dutch oven and place in the stove at 275º F
- Cook for 2 hours covered
- After 2 hours uncover and cook at 375 degrees F for 35 – 45 minutes or until nicely browned
- Temperature taken at the breast should be at least 165º F, at the thigh, 180ºF
- When cooked, remove to a platter and let rest for 15 – 20 minutes then slice and serve
- Fill the crock pot about 2/3 with filtered water
- Place all the vegetables that you prepped ahead of time as well as the chicken feet in the crock pot
- Add all the skin, bones, joints and cartilage that you did not eat
- Set the crock pot to low heat
- Cook for 12 – 15 hours
- In the morning when it is cooked, turn off the crock pot and let cool for up to four hours
- When cooled, pour the soup through a strainer into another pot
- Pick out some carrots and onion and put in with the soup
- With your stick blender blend the vegetables (or you could use a blender)
- This gives the broth a nice color and more nutrients
- Divide into containers; some to freeze, some to keep for the next few days in the refrigerator
- Enjoy this nutrient dense broth with your meals!