Thursday, March 4, 2010

1 chicken 3 ways: part 1

It can be difficult to juggle local, sustainable, healthy, and affordable eating, so I like to set small, attainable goals for myself every few months. In the summer I began making preserves and freezing excess CSA vegetables.

My recent goal involves putting a face on my food by using locally-sourced meat. I have been using convenient boneless, skinless chicken breasts for too long. I have been wanting to use whole chickens, but was nervous about cooking whole chickens. I think it's time that I jump in with both feet and learn by trial and error.

Matt and I have been buying a small fresh chicken from our local butcher every other week or so. Then I cook the meat in some fashion and make broth from the bones. The chickens are much cheaper than boneless chicken breasts and the homemade broth also saves us a great deal of money.

This week we had the chicken parted into white and dark meat that I can make into two separate meals. Here's the first recipe that we made, using the thighs and legs. We've made this several times and it's always very tasty and the broccoli that I made for a side was hands down one of my favorite broccoli dishes ever.

Chevre-Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Roasted Broccoli
from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool

4 oz soft goat cheese, such as chevre
1/4 c currants or raisins (I always leave this out!)
2 tbsp dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mixed dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp salt
8 chicken thighs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the cheese, currants or raisins (if using), bread crumbs, chives, oregano, and pepper. In another bowl, combine the oil, Italian herbs, and salt.

Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan (we had good luck with a broiler pan). Lift the skin of each thigh and place one-eighth of the cheese mixture under the skin. Brush the skin with oil mixture.

Roast for 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 170 degrees and the juices run clear.

Note: I only used the two thighs and two legs from the chicken, which was perfect for two of us. I halved the cheese mixture, but used the entire oil mixture.

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