Aug 12, 2007

Rediscovered flavors - cauliflower and Sod-Busters' chicken

I stopped eating chicken years ago. Not due to ethical or nutritional concerns but because it was so bland it wasn't worth eating. I found that dishes that included chicken could be tasty but it was primarily due to the numerous other ingredients in the recipe. I figured if I couldn't taste chicken why eat chicken. Sod-Busters chickens changed my mind.

Last Saturday we picked up the first couple of chickens from Deborah and Cliff Shirk's Sod-Busters Farm. I drove up to find them in the yard processing the chickens getting ready for all the people who'd ordered in June. They were friendly and professional, and seemed happy with their first effort with the new chicken breed. I was thrilled to find that these whole birds are nothing like what you'll find in the supermarkets. Huge chickens -- plump, fresh, immaculate, and having lived a "happy chicken life". Deborah and Cliff even helped me pack my family's order into my car as I had neglected to bring my cooler, in spite of Deborah's specific instructions to do so.

Since I'd rarely eaten chicken I didn't really know what to do with a whole one. I'd been on the lookout for recipes when I stumbled across a cocorico roaster in a NapaStyle catalog. It promised to do exactly what I needed. It arrived within a couple of days so we had it in time to cook dinner for our friends that Saturday. The NapaStyle website includes a recipe and instructions for using the cocorico, which we adapted to use with Hearts of Gold cantaloupe glaze from Lattin Farms. The Sod-Busters' chicken was larger than the one called for in the recipe so we added the fresh potatoes and cauliflower about 30 minutes after the chicken went into the oven. These chickens are so juicy it was necessary to remove some of the juice from the cocorico before we put the veggies in to cook.

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