Well it has been raining for three days straight here on the farm and the weatherman says rain the next three days as well. Does this remind anyone of another month we had in the fall? At least this time around we can look forward to warmer weather and green grass. Right? Let us hope.
Our biggest concern when it is raining is keeping the animals warm, dry and comfortable. We accomplish this by giving them a shelter to lay under and lots of straw or sand bedding. Our cows have their “beach” house, our heifers and steers have their shed and our youngest babies are nestled into their warm straw bedded hutches. While cattle don’t mind getting wet, it is the cold and the mud that can make them sick. When a cow gets mud on their hide, their hide doesn’t protect them from the cold as well, thus lowering their body temperature.
As farmers it is our number one concern to keep our animals healthy. Providing them with a warm place to lay, nutritious food, clean water and protection from predators are our priorities.
Once all the animals are taken care of, it is time to take care of us. The perfect comfort food for a cold rainy day is roasted chicken. Our part time milker, Jen, is a wonderful cook. Here is a roasted chicken recipe prefect for tonight:
Jen’s Simple Roast Chicken
Preheat oven to 425
Use a heavy roasting pot, like a la cruet – you need a cover
- 1 beautiful whole Zweber Farm chicken
- 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme or even sage – but it has to be fresh
- A little butter
- A little olive oil
- Salt – Kosher – never, ever table salt like Morton
- whole head of garlic
Wash, and dry chicken and “contain” the legs the way you like best. Some people use string, I just tuck the wings under and tie the legs together.
Run you fingers under the breast between the skin and flesh. Place a Tablespoon or so of butter under there and a good chunk of your favorite fresh herb – both sides of the breast.
Stuff the extra (swig or two) in the cavity of the bird along with a lemon (cut in half) and a head of garlic (cut in half – don’t even bother taking the paper skin off the garlic). Salt and pepper the outside and the inside of the bird. Don’t be shy with the salt. Place breast down in a heavy roasting pot which has a little olive oil on the bottom.
I roast on this high temp for about 25 minutes – uncovered. I then take the roaster out, check with a meat thermometer to see how long I have left. I turn the oven down to 350 and usually go another 20 minutes – covered this time. Chicken is done at 180. I use the meat thermometer – not the wiggly leg test – and I don’t check the breast – I check deep in the leg or thigh. Juices should run clear. Let your chicken sit in the pot for at least 15 minutes covered for the best juicy roasted flavorful chicken in the world.