Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer projects & rotten rooster remedy...

Summer is underway! We kicked off with a parental anniversary party on the solstice. Here's parents & "kids" in one of many pictures taken that day.
We aren't really supposed to start painting until this coming weekend, but couldn't resist seeing how the color looked. Fergus definitely improves any household project by his mere presence.
Another much-needed project is replacing the wavy panels covering the back porch roof. The fir trees overhead are constantly raining needles, pollen, and little brown dingles on it, and it wasn't installed properly in the first place. So we'll just reuse the framing to make it easier, and someday enclose it a bit more for additional outdoor workspace.

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Warning!! A lot of the pics following aren't for the faint of heart (but there's a video of Fergus & Stew at the end). Out of 25 hatchery chicks we got this April, 3 have turned out to be roosters. The red rooster was turning out particularly mean to the hens, so we decided his higher purpose was chicken stock. Not much fat or flavor on a younger bird, but still way better than store bought.
Unfortunately, we didn't take a before picture of him. By the time we were ready to process him, we didn't want to prolong things any. So he got his head chopped off, and hung over the firepit to bleed out. The dogs are always very interested in any "crime scenes" so doing this part here meant we could light a fire later so they couldn't mess around with the blood.
The obligatory rooster head shot. The way we kill them is really quick. A loop of twine around their neck, twine hooked over a nail in the chopping block, hold legs with one hand and pull just enough to keep him steady. One big whack of the hatchet and that's it.
Another streamlining practice is to skin out birds that aren't going to be made up nice for roasting. You do lose a tiny bit of fat & flavor, but not having to deal with smelly wet chicken feathers more than makes up for it. And usually it's older laying hens that get butchered for stock, and they have plenty of flavor in them.
With this method, you nip off the wingtips once most of the bird is skinned. No sense trying to save those for the pot. Then you take him (or her) down to finish processing.
Nearly done here. The trickiest part is cutting around the vent (hiney) so as to avoid contaminating the meat. But once that part is cut, the innards come out in a package. Mostly.
Here are the parts we saved. As you can see, not much to this rooster at all, but enough to merit taking care of him this way. The dogs got a nice dinner of the parts in the blue bowl, simmered in broth.
And here are the parts we didn't save, at least not for us. This stuff went into one of the compost piles that won't be turned for a while. It will add a nice boost of nutrients to the soil once it's decomposed and ready to go on the garden next spring. We also add wood ash from our stove, and the results are wonderful.
Here is a quick harvest from the garden. A pile of rhubarb and some baby carrots & onion for the rooster stock. I also added some dried soup celery. The curly things are garlic scapes...the flowering stalk that hardneck garlic varieties grow. They need to be removed so the plants energy can go into making a big bulb. There are a lot of recipes online for using the scapes, but the few we tossed with oil & seasoning and roasted weren't my favorite. I think in the future we'll use them for soups (and stock) and not a featured table veggie.
And here's one nice ending for a naughty rooster. Nine pints of stock. We also had rooster salad for dinner, and the last bit of stock & meat will be turned into soup for tonight's dinner.
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Here's a video of my silly family. The party theme was bacon (our family favorite), so that's what we're yelling....(I'll share more pictures next week)
video
Last, but never least, Stewart & Fergus enjoying beef bones as bis as their heads. After a few months of treats like this, we have to rake up the yard before it starts to look like a medieval knacker's yard!
video

1 comment:

Jeannine from Pittsburgh said...

Hi Guys,

I've been lurking around your blog for a couple of months. I found it after googling beef tongue, of all things! I'm very impressed by all your projects and the historical tidbits you add to your blog are great! Anyway, I've nominated you for a blog award. To accept please come to my blog at http://homewoodgardenplot41.blogspot.com/