Recipe: How to Roast a Pastured Chicken

While at Windy Ridge Natural Farms, we picked up a few things - a dozen eggs, a roaster, and a whole rooster for stewing. On top of that bounty, Tim was nice enough to send us home with some pink potatoes, his own Provencal herb mix, a stack of information about his farm and like-minded organizations, and a simple recipe card.

We really appreciate when pastured meat farmers provide recipes. While we don't always use the actual recipes, they generally highlight the best method for cooking their product. We often hear people say they don't like grass-fed beef or free-range chicken because it's too tough, rubbery or sinewy. The thing is: some people don’t realize they have to treat pastured meat differently than conventional meat. It can be tough or rubbery, but when prepared properly it's really, really good! It's all about sharing information, and that's one of the main reasons we write this blog. 

So when we glanced over this recipe card, we were excited to see that Tim suggests a different technique for cooking his birds - about 2 hours in a cooler oven. We've always roasted our birds at 350 for an hour and often the dark meat is, while much deeper in flavor, kinda... rubbery! Well, duh!! That’s because these birds are actually moving their legs! And with the more active muscles - shoulders, necks, shanks, & thighs - the motto is always: slow and low. Why we never connected the dots is beyond us!

Well, we couldn't wait to try this new method! And we decided we might as well do a whole Windy Ridge dinner - the chickens, herb mix, and pink potatoes! (There is something so satisfying about eating a meal that all comes from one farm.) Not surprisingly the low and slow method worked like a charm! Farmer knows best!

Windy Ridge’s Roast Chicken

+ 1 roaster - about 4.5 lbs
+ 2 tbsp Herbs De Provence (a mix of thyme, savory, lavender, fennel and whatever else you'd like)
+ 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
+ 1 tbsp coarse grain salt

For Gravy:
+ 1/2 cup dry white wine - we love Dr. Franks Dry Riesling
+ 2 tbsp butter 
+ 1 tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 300. Place a skillet big enough to hold the bird in the oven while it's heating.
2. Rinse and dry the chicken. Rub olive oil all over bird, then the herbs and salt.
3. When the oven has heated remove the skillet, put the bird in breast side up and place back in oven. Cook for 1 ¾ hrs.
4. Take the chicken out of the skillet and let stand for 10 minutes. In the meantime, place the skillet with drippings on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in ½ cup white wine and let reduce by half. Then whisk in 2 tbsp of butter and one tbsp of flour. Cook until thickened and serve over carved chicken.

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