Monday, 19 September 2011

Friday was chicken plucking

Friday was spent preparing our own chickens. As not only was one meant for the table at Friday evenings meal( for ourselves and a few close friends). But at 12 weeks these purpose bread meat birds were becoming excessively large! And I had concerns about their decreased quality of life should they have gotten any older.
Now these birds were the same as those used by mass produced companies such as Steggles. However did you know most mass produced chickens are only 40 days old.
So whilst these were purpose bread meat birds (and man were they ‘meaty’). They had access to shelter, food/water and open grass, where they were encouraged to scratch and forage, as they would naturally. Not contained in a shed with or artificial lighting to encourage continuous eating or pumped with steroids to meet deadlines.

Now, not that their fate wasn't truly down to my hand (personally)- this time. I did assist and whilst I still feel remorse, I do strongly believe that as a meat eater this should be something we should be at least witness to. I am not going to go into the details, however it was quick and as humane and stress free as we could possibly make it.
So whilst I was ultimately responsible for their death, was also directly responsible for their quality of life. And I am content in the knowledge that they had a happy and healthy life- as too many are able to consume meat products, purchased from the supermarket shelves with no knowledge (and in many regards conscience), allowing mass produced products of poor quality and conditions.

Enough of the lecture! Plucking itself went better this time; guess the trick is not to pluck feathers in windy conditions! And whilst it is labour intensive, and not unpleasant, but I wouldn't jump up and down and say I enjoy it- I do think it gives an appreciation of how much work goes into getting this meat to our plates.

Well the meal itself was a hit. Matt’s ‘Beer-can chicken' was a success and tribute to the bird as always. The meat on the bird itself was a little darker than you would buy in the shops, with a beautiful fat layer behind the skin. Both attribute of truly ‘free-range’ chickens.

So to a tasty meal, our succulent chicken served with potato gratin, broccoli cheese, and both a garden and warm pumpkin salad. Easily served 4 and then provided lunch and dinner for the two of us for a further 3 days! And in the tradition of utilising as much of the produce as possible, even today’s lunch (bacon and vegetable rice) was made using the stock I created from the bones Saturday morning.

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