On Chicken (And Their Feet)

March 29, 2011


In an old life, I helped slaughter and process 50 chickens a week. I also fed and moved them over pasture every day. I also picked them up from the post office as chicks and put them in their little incubators. I also kind of hated them. Given all the room they needed they still trampled all over each other. They were dumb, and ugly. They paled in comparison to the adorably awkward baby turkeys who cooed all the time, and somehow maintained some kind of dignity (until they were mostly eaten by coyotes.)

I really thought that the slaughter process would bother me, effect me on some kind of moral or emotional level. It didn’t. The smell of hot wet feathers is pretty gross, but aside from that, I almost kind of liked the whole deal. (Morbid?) I liked the teamwork, and how quickly they turned from looking like animals to looking like food. I liked seeing and participating in a process that is so cloaked in secrecy in so many ways. I liked eating what I grew.

Now that I am not so hands-on with my chicken, I rarely eat it. Partly because it kind of grosses me out because i’ve seen how yuckster of animals they are even in the best conditions. Also, it doesn’t even taste good.

But really, occasionally, what is better than the perfect-Sunday-buttery-crisp-skinned-roasted-chicken-that-tastes-like-chicken?


So, I am going to give you my perfect roast chicken recipe, but first we should get Footloose.


This awesome local farm-chicken I got at the Park Slope Food Coop after being snuck-in. I didn’t notice that it still had the feet attached because they were tucked ever-so-gingerly inside. Most people would have been taken-aback maybe, everyone in my family was grossed out. I was happy to do any kind of at-home butchery because i’m a weirdo. They don’t want to see that a chicken is a real animal that walked around on feet. Really, the fact that the feet are on this chicken and in such good condition, is a testament to the animal’s healthy raising.

Ok, on to the recipe.

Seriously Perfect Roast Chicken

(in a country French accent)

1 5-ish lb free range chicken from your favorite farm market

2 lemons

1/4 stick of goooood butter

5 cloves garlique

4-5 stems of thyme

1 onion

s + p

1. Preheat oven to 425. Rinse and dry your chicken well. Place butter in a bowl on stove to soften.

2. When the butter is soft, zest a lemon into ze butter. Squeeze ze garlic through a press into ze butter. Gingerly remove ze delicate thyme leaves from zeir fibery stem. Incorporate well. Spread this all up under the skin on ze breasts, and over the remainder of the chicken. Stuff ze halved onions, ze lemons and garlic inside.

3. Roast ze bird at 425 degrees F for an hour and a half uncovered.

4. Let rest for about half an hour before carving.


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