Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Farmhouse Food: Roasting Fresh Poultry

   Fresh poultry; we have it in abundance. Grown here on our little homestead; butchered by our hands and cooked in our very own kitchen, turkeys and chicken (and an occasional duck) are often on the homestead menu.
   Some poultry cook up nice and juicy- just the way we all like it, however, sometimes there is a tough bird in the lot..and that's no good. Here in the homestead kitchen we have found our solution to the fresh poultry toss up.


24 hours before baking:
mix 1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 dried cayenne peppers
to every 6 quarts water

Completely submerge the thawed bird and refrigerate 24 hours using resealable plastic bags or a large plastic tub with a lid. I soak my bird breast down for extra tender white meat. 

The day of baking:

Remove the bird from solution and rinse well, inside and out.
In a heavy roasting pan place:

2 large onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, smashed
5 cayenne peppers
3 large carrots, roughly cut
3 stalks of celery, roughly cut

Dust the vegetables lightly with flour.
Before placing the bird into the roasting pan, place one quartered apple inside the cavity.
Rub the bird all over with butter (my birds are without skin).

Place bird in the roasting pan and bake at 350 degrees approximately 15 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. The bird is done when juices run clear and the core temp is 165 degrees.
Rest bird, covered, fifteen to thirty minutes before slicing.

 Fresh cooked poultry freezes well in airtight containers and is a wonderful start of many great farmhouse meals: soups, wraps, salads and casseroles.

   There it is..our base recipe for home grown, fresh poultry roasting. To vary it up a bit we sometimes add herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage to the soaking solution and the roasting pan. Either way, it's tender and juicy every time!

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