Farm Fresh Rubber Chicken

Herbs and onions aren't enough

I enjoyed my eggs from my CSA share more than any other. Its almost if there is a breath of country air in actually inside each yolk. I leaped at the opportunity to order and eat the same chickens sold in fresh halves from my farmer. My roommate and I signed up for half a chicken every other week.

Week one I decided to roast the chicken (rather than brine it or braise in a sauce) to really experience the flavor. The farm fresh flavor of the eggs is in the chicken too, but the texture is not nice. Tough, to say the least. Juicy, flavorful, tough chicken. We roasted week three's chicken as well, also tough. I know how to cook a grocery store chicken, but this was my first natural chicken. Its not the same bird, so I'm going to have to re-learn how to cook it. Any guesses why the grocery store chicken is more palatable then the natural farm one?

Herb Roasted Farm Chicken

1 large onion cut into 1/2 inch hunks
1 tsp white wine
1 garlic clove minced
1 half chicken
1 tblsp butter, room temp
1 tblsp chopped fresh herbs, I used basil and parsley but oregano, mint, or thyme would all work
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350. Add onion, wine, garlic to a dutch oven and toss. In a small bowl mix butter and herbs with a fork. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Starting at the neck, using your finger tips, slowly raise the skin up off body of the chicken. Be gentle, and go slow so as not to rip the skin. Grab half of the herb butter and smooth directly on chicken flesh, under skin. Rub the remaining half over the outside of the chicken. Lay chicken on top of the onions in the dutch oven. Cover generously with salt and pepper.

Place in oven. Baste every 15 minutes. Cook until a thermometer reaches 160 degrees when placed in the thickest part of the bird about 25-30 more minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully place bird on carving board. Cover with foil, and let sit for 10 minutes. Return the onions to the oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned on the edges. Carve the bird and serve with onions. Probably and abundant amount of dipping sauce too if its a tough farm bird.

Moist, juicy, but not chewable


  1. maybe try stewing instead? or a coq au vin treatment? Coq au vin was originally aimed at making a tough old bird tasty.

  2. Most grocery store chicken has been "preserved" with water and chemicals. Maybe try brining it and then roasting as usual?

  3. From my dad (who emails me comments instead of actually commenting, Dad just leave your comments here they are funny and informative)

    Commercial chickens are kept caged and don't use their muscles.Try a pressure cooker to break down the protein or boil it for hours like they do in the third world. Yum.

  4. I've roasted both store purchased chickens and free range organic chickens. I cook them all the same - Usually roasted or put them in a large pot with a lid and bake it. I've had problems a few times with a chicken tasting like rubber and found that it just needed to be cooked longer. We like the chicken to fall off of the bone and when it tasted like rubber you had to pull it off. So back it went in the oven until it was done.

  5. @Anon. Thanks for the inspiration. I will try poaching a chick after I try brining the next.

    Just to be clear this may or may not be a free range chicken, and is not certified organic at all. The chicken is a natural (meaning its been killed and cleaned, never frozen nothing added to it) farm fresh chicken which I am coming to learn is different from any other chicken.

    I've cooked many store bought and free-range organic chicken before this one!!

  6. Try cooking in a pressure cooker. Cut the chicken into quarters, marinate it with olive oil, throw it in! Add a glass of water, carrots, onions and celery. Let the pressure cooker whistle for about 10-15 minutes, and you are done! The chicken comes out cooked to perfection and is totally moist. And you are left with all of these delicious juices on the bottom to make gravy with.


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