We live 10 minutes away from a chicken farm.
Whenever I tell people that, they think our house is out in the country somewhere with no internet. It’s not. Although I wouldn’t mind living in the country (I’d trade in heels for hiking boots any day), we reside in suburbia-land a stone’s throw away from Target, Starbucks, and Home Goods.
Nestled in-between is a small family owned farm.
They have some of the best organic chicken in the world.
Their chicken is so tender you can cut it with a fork! I’m not kidding. It’s like filet mignon.
And at least once a week, I take a quick trip with the boys. I grab dinner while they play.
And when I say ‘play’ I mean terrorize.
The minute their boots hit the ground, they run around like maniacs screaming and yelling at everything in their path. The chickens freak out, the sheep bolt, and I’ve never seen a duck swim away so fast in my life.
The farm sells all kinds of stuff: organic chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, fresh fruit, vegetables, pies and the most delicious eggs. It’s heaven. And, if you happen to pop in on a day when they’re roasting their famous whole chickens, you (and your jacket) will come out smelling like a rotisserie.
As much I love the farm, it can be expensive. So, I’ve tried to come up with ways to afford it without going broke.
At first, I cut back on meat altogether. Because that’s what ‘they’ say to do.
Because if you read my last post, this does not jive with carnivores.
Boys, care for some veggie tacos for dinner tonight?
So, then I started to buy inexpensive cuts such as legs and thighs. And that worked for a while. But let’s face it- most people want chicken breast which is the most expensive cut of all!
Chicken breast on the bone.
This cut is usually half the price when compared to boneless chicken breast, so that’s a huge savings right there. The bone keeps the meat extra juicy and adds a touch more flavor, in my opinion. I like it with the skin on so that it doesn’t dry out- it’s like a blanket (easy enough to remove if you don’t want to eat it). However, if I’m in the mood for chicken cutlets or anything else off the bone, I’ll de-bone the chicken prior cooking.
How do you do that?
I had no clue at first. I would literally run my knife around the bone until the meat separated. And watch YouTube videos…
De-boning a chicken might sound like a lot of work, and yes, it is one extra step.
But it’s a two-for-one deal: you get to eat your boneless chicken breast (savings) and make stock with the leftover bones (more savings). I know not everyone makes their own stock. And that’s fine. But I think everyone should try it at least once in their life. It’s liquid gold!
The extra time I put in now will bail me out later when I really need it.
For this chicken dinner, I multitask.
I start by browning the chicken to render out any fat and to make the skin crispy. Sprigs of woodsy thyme are added to the pan to infuse the oil. Simultaneously, diced potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves roast in the oven. They need a head start before the chicken goes in.
And here’s what I do with the garlic-
Instead of peeling them, they bake inside of their papery white skins leaving you with a soft, mild flavored nugget of goodness. You can squeeze this onto your chicken or bread, if you have any (you won’t have dragon breath, promise). Plus, you don’t have to chop anything! Combined with fresh thyme the smell is out-of-this-world.
I also add chunks of feta and drizzle everything with a lemon vinaigrette before serving.
I’m incredibly lucky to have access to such great organic chicken. I’m happy to support my local farm while feeding my family the good stuff. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And this is how I do it.
Do you have any local favorites in your neighborhood?
- Use a large roasting pan for this recipe (bigger than 9 x 13). The extra space will allow everything to caramelize instead of steam. You don’t want a watery roast!
- 4 bone in chicken breasts (with skin)
- 3 medium russet potatoes, cubed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, left whole
- 5 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 10 baby zucchini, sliced in half or 1-2 zucchini cut into large chunks
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme
- olive oil
- 1 cup feta (I used block feta, Bulgarian)
- coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grab a skillet and a large roasting pan.
- To a large bowl, add the potatoes, tomatoes and garlic cloves. Drizzle with a good coating of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread onto your roasting pan and pop in the oven. They will begin to roast while you make the rest of the dish.
- Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot add the chicken to the pan. Then throw in about 5 thyme sprigs to infuse the oil. Brown the meat, about 3-4 minutes on each side. You want skin nice and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate as you work.
- Open the oven and give your potatoes a toss. Add the zucchini, and nestle the chicken in-between the vegetables. Break the feta into large chunks (without crumbling too much) and add to the pan.
- Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is juicy and cooked through.
- While that's cooking, quickly make the vinaigrette. Add the lemon juice and mustard to a small bowl and whisk well. Stream in the olive oil to emulsify and season with salt and pepper.
- When you're ready to eat, serve your chicken directly in the roasting pan with a little vinaigrette drizzled over the top. Have extra on the side too!