Touching raw chicken totally grosses me out.
I love cooking and feel pretty comfortable in the kitchen, but handling raw meat of any kind makes me squeamish. (Am I alone on this?) That’s why I’m really excited to share with you that this past weekend, I cooked a whole chicken by myself for the first time in my life! Pete and Sarah were so proud :) The chicken was 4.9 lbs and slimy. (I wasn't a fan.) But thanks to my new favorite kitchen toy which made the process so darn easy, I was able to muster up the courage to cook it.
I used this recipe from 100 Days of Real Food and the chicken came out pretty darn good…tasted even better the next day! Once the chicken was done, I removed the meat from the bones and placed the bones in a separate container. To give the meat some more flavor, I shredded it then placed it back into the slow cooker to soak up the juices, added some extra spices, and set it to “warm” for a few hours. Then I portioned out the chicken into 5 containers to make lunch for the week:
As inspired by Pete’s Paleo's perfectly portioned meals (1 serving of protein + 2 servings of sides), this week’s lunch consisted of slow cooker chicken, steamed broccoli, and cauliflower puree. Super tasty! Yesterday this meal held me over for 5+ hours.
Bone Broth for Beginners
So the REAL reason why I was inspired to cook a whole chicken was because I’d been wanting to make my own bone broth for quite some time but was way too intimidated by the process. Fast forward a few months... Equipped with my slow cooker and encouragement from my friends who had already made bone broth (and lived to tell about it), I decided I was ready. I used this recipe from Grass-Fed Girl to make the broth, using 3 quarts of water and cooking it on low for 24 hours. It came out great!
Where Else Can You Get the Bones?
Don't panic! You don't have to cook an entire chicken to get bones for your bone broth. Here's a list of other places you can get them from (list includes places to get bones from other animals besides chicken):
- Meat counter at a health food store (some Whole Foods has them available)
- Farmers market
- Local farms and ranches will often have bones available for cheap (EatWild.com is a terrific resource for finding farms and ranches near you that raise humanely treated, hormone-free, antibiotic-free animals)
- Order online at J&J Farms for local drop off at CrossFit Gyms in Southern CA
If you'd rather just have someone else make the broth for you, check out our friends over at Barebones Broth. I've tried their bone broth first-hand and it's delicious! I hear roasting the bones first enhances the flavor, but I skipped this step for time-saving purposes. If you go this route, roast the bones at 350 for 1 hour. That should do the trick. You can also throw in some chicken feet along with the bones...I'm not sure I'm ready for that, but maybe someday :)
Don't Have a Slow Cooker?
If you don’t have a slow cooker, check out this recipe from the Wellness Mama which was recommended to me by my friend, Christine. All you need for this one is a large stock pot. (She explains the benefits of bone broth as well, so check out her post if you're wondering why this stuff is so good for your body!) Chef Pete also has an incredible bone broth recipe in his upcoming cookbook, Paleo By Season, that we think you're going to love. (You can pre-order it here!) So that was my wild adventure of cooking a whole chicken and making bone broth for the first time. Trust me, if I could do it, so can you! And if you really want to make the process easier, invest in a slow cooker...you'll be so happy you did!