Friday, April 13, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

We have a sad-but-kinda-true nickname for this place: rape farm. For the second time since keeping chickens, three of our so-called pullets turned out to be roosters. Each of them wanted to be top cock and wouldn't let another mate with a hen without mating with that hen himself. The result was weary hens with nearly featherless backs. They only left their indoor roosts for food and water for fear of getting gang-banged.

You only need one rooster per 12 hens, and we had three roosters per 13 hens. Two of them had to go. We kept the handsomest guy. Is that how evolution works? Survival of the prettiest?

Having severed heads only twice before, Michael read up and practiced his skill on Sophia's stuffed animal before heading out to the coop. We waited until dark so they'd be their calmest.

The photo above shows the closest thing to a smile Michael had for the next five hours. First, taking a life is difficult enough emotionally. Second, without the right tools or sharp knives, there's lots of cussing, exasperated sighing and pacing that goes on. 

After the actual deed and subsequent scalding, feather-picking, chopping and gut removing, we had some rather tiny birds. That's because their breed is meant for egg laying rather than broilers meant for the pot. And our guys stayed especially lean for all the impromptu cock fights that popped up all over the farm. If only we had placed some bets...

So we put the kibosh on that. Creepily, the tendons in the claws still worked, so you could make the fingers move. It's the next new thing in back-scratchers!

Sans feet and feathers, the hunks of meat on our kitchen counter looked much more familiar. Knowing they'd be a little tough -- these dudes were as old as our toddler -- we slated them to become Coq au Vin and invited my parents over for dinner. 

Stewed with pearl onions, bacon, mushrooms and wine, the meat softened up deliciously. Plated with mashed potatoes and salad, the meal was what Alton Brown might define as "good eats."

1 comment:

  1. That looks divine! Way to go on chopping that chicken like real farmers!