I am not a cook and am nowhere near anything resembling a chef. Thankfully, my wife grew up in the house of a chef – her father – and can cook. I have reaped the many benefits of this upbringing and, for this, I am forever grateful. Seriously, it is amazing.
However, this meal is quickly becoming my favorite. Not only does it taste unbelievable, is locally grown and organic, it is also ridiculously easy to prepare. In our efforts to simplify life while becoming more and more aware of what it is we are eating, we have found that this meal has become a weekly staple in our house. Not only do we love it, our daughters (ages 4 and 2; 9 month old will soon) eat it up too. In many ways, this meal and others like it, have begun to reshape our imaginations and practices surrounding food as we participate in both our local ecology and economy.
What you see below feeds all of us well.
Whole, cleaned chicken
3-5 Potatoes – both red and white
1-2 Sweet potatoes
1 Red/green/purple pepper
(Add any other vegetables you’d like.)
Coarse Kosher Salt
Cook Time: 50 minutes
1. Preheat your oven to 450° F.
2. While waiting for the oven to preheat, rinse your vegetables. Peal and cut into similar sized pieces for even cooking.
3. After vegetables are rinsed, pealed and cut, place the parchment paper on the baking/cookie sheet. Drizzle them lightly with olive oil as a coating, so they don’t stick to the parchment paper.
4. We purchase organic, grass fed chickens from Hilltop Farms in Moravia. For local folks, Hilltop Farm’s farmer, Delmar, is in Shed A at the Regional Market every Saturday. He is always in the middle of the aisle waiting with chickens, eggs, and a warm Mennonite smile. (We always get our eggs from him as well.)
Clean what remnants (feathers) may be on your chicken and place breast-side up in your Dutch oven. Graciously salt and place in your oven for 25 minutes. We always place it on the upper rack to ensure crispy skin and juicy meat.
After the initial 25 minutes, place your vegetables sheet on the lower rack for another 25 minutes.
5. Take both vegetables and chicken out of oven after 50 minutes. Poke the thighs with a fork; if clear liquid comes out, then it is finished.
My wife always uses the leftovers of the chicken to make stock for future dishes. Again, it is easy as the meal above.
1. Fill Dutch oven with water until approximately half of the chicken is covered.
2. Turn heat up to HIGH until boiling.
3. Once boiling, turn heat to LOW and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.
4. Take chicken out of Dutch oven.
5. Place a strainer in your favorite refrigerator-safe container and pour contents into it.
6. Allow to cool prior to refrigeratoring. After it chills, use it in rice, orzo, or whatever else you want.
I hope this was helpful. If you are just embarking on the local, organic, slow food journey or have been traveling this path for some time, I’d love to hear what and how you eat. What have you learned? What are you enjoying?