Friday 8 December 2017

Chicken Processing Mk3

We managed to get the last of this years meat birds processed on Sunday afternoon. 

We'd gone on a disastrous shopping trip to a local city to try to choose some tiles for the bathroom. We should have known better than to take the three kids and think we could make any decisions! We left about two hours later, none the wiser but all of use with slightly shorter tempers! We called and had lunch at my brothers which was really good fun, then dragging the kids away, hurried home. 

I knew I had six chickens to butcher before it got dark! 
I got outside around three, the sun sets around four O'clock so I knew I'd have to work quite fast! 
The girls wanted to assist again so we got everything ready. Bowls of warm water and clothes to wipe down, knife and sharpening steel, chopping/rest boards, two buckets (feathers and guts) and a plastic bag to pluck them on so I wouldn't get soaked. Hot water on the BBQ as well so I could wet pluck them again.
The girls got involved straight away again, watching me work, then helping to pluck feathers. I let them spend time picking off the pin feathers once I'd finished the bulk of the main feathers. They loved helping and asking about a thousand questions and they both made me laugh lots - they can be so matter of fact at that age! 
My eldest stayed out with me the whole way through, my younger daughter couldn't quite manage it, but it was getting cold and dark. It was lovely just to have the company and to have her talking to me about anything she wanted. By the time I had plucked all six, it was just after four o'clock, gutting them didn't take long but light was failing. I then bagged them up and left them to rest in the shed.
I was speaking to my butcher the other day and I was saying how when I jointed some of the last lot up the skin didn't stay on that well. He told me that I hadn't let them set long enough and to leave them somewhere for a few days first.

So I'm taking his advice and before I do anything with these chickens I'm going to let them sit and settle first. I think I'll probably joint up four of these and leave two birds whole. It's far easier for me to grab a meal sized portion and cook it up that night rather than always having to rely on a roast and using the left overs (which we do as well!).

How do you store your chickens in the freezer - jointed up or whole for a roast?

Also I now have a big bag of chicken livers in the freezer and I'm wondering what to do with them - does anyone that read this blog make their own pate and do you have a good recipe? I'm totally in love with pate but have never made any myself before.


  1. Chicken liver risotto is very good - Delia has a recipe in the Complete Cookery Course book or online (basically you make a mushroom risotto, then fry the trimmed livers in a separate pan with garlic & herbs then tip them into the rice at the end).
    Jamie Oliver online has a very simple pate recipe (also fancier versions for keeping) which involves frying the livers in plenty of butter with seasonings & them just blending it until smooth.
    Delia also has a recipe for lambs liver cooked in yoghurt which also works for chicken livers.

  2. Hank Shaw has a great one in his book Duck Duck Goose that includes cream, brandy and sage. This is the one I use with all kinds of livers but mostly chicken. It freezes well won't regret picking up that cook book.

    1. Also, about the skin slipping - letting birds rest, UNcovered the night before you part them fixes this. It dries the skin just enough.


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