Monday, February 27, 2012
Not seen in 99% of kitchens: free-range chicken fat!
You may not recognize this substance! It's something 99% of the American population has never seen before. This cup holds chicken fat from one of our free-range chickens. Do you notice the color? This bright yellow fat is one of the many, many differences between factory-farmed raised chickens, and our free-range chickens. The color indicates the healthiness of this fat & it's delicious flavor. I've read many times that the fat on pastured animals is unsaturated. This makes it so much more healthy than the white, saturated, flavorless fat you'll see on a grocery store chicken. In fact, the yellow fat on our chickens can be seen under it's skin, just by looking at it before & during cooking.
This fat came from one of our stewing hens. We butchered a dozen of our retired egg-laying hens last fall for our own use. A stewing hen, being an older chicken, has the most flavorful meat, but it's tough meat. It also makes the most delicious chicken stock for soups. So, this chicken was tossed whole into a big pot of water & boiled for a few hours, cooking the meat for tenderness & making stock at the same time.
After cooling the whole pot of chicken stock overnight in the fridge, this beautiful yellow fat was skimmed off the surface. I'll use it to saute veggies in, instead of olive oil.
The meat chickens we'll be raising on our farm for customers this summer will be "broilers" - meaning young, tender chicken meat. They won't be the "stewing hens" I mentioned above. However, the chickens will still feature this beautiful, delicious, healthier yellow fat because the meat chickens will be raised with access to the outdoors, just like our egg-laying chickens. So, you'll be able to enjoy the tender meat and still get the yellow fat. Just don't drink the fat! :-) Mistakes have been made upon seeing a cup of beautiful, bright yellow substance in a refrigerator! (Luckily that mistake hasn't been made here at our farm... yet.)
Enjoy life.... eat delicious!