Poultry Gravy (do ahead, or for when you just want some)

IMG_8597Sometimes it’s just way easier to do something ahead of time.

Every “gather-round-the-table” celebration is more enjoyable if the tasks are shared between several, and it isn’t all done “just before”. When a turkey is pulled from the oven, and set to rest on its cutting board, there are usually other pots simmering, and people talking & visiting. So here’s a tip.

Make your gravy ahead of time. Any juices from your bird can be set in the fridge for the next day or two, making it easy to remove any fat. Then the juices can be frozen, ready for the next time you want gravy. The only downside to this is that you need to have kept those juices for that time.

Here’s a do-ahead gravy that is started from scratch, using some bits of poultry like wings, neck, or even chopped up legs. You can make as much as you want on a day that you pick.

For this year’s Thanksgiving feast, the turkey, stuffing, and three side dishes will be brought by others, leaving me to do a couple of pies, cranberry sauce, potatoes & gravy. As ours truly is the “home-that-gathers”, I am looking forward to the happy chatter and laughter that I am so very thankful for.IMG_8594

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Roast Chicken

IMG_2310For many years we raised our own meat birds.  We’d do 50 at a time, raise them on a vegetarian diet, with greens added, and could expect 8 – 10 lb. birds in a couple of months.  We had a chick room, and a finishing room, and during the warmer months, both would be busy.

One year we noticed that some of our young birds had black feathers around their necks and tails.  They weren’t growing as quickly as our Cornish crosses, and acted like, well, like layers!  We built a large outdoor run adjacent to the barn, and let them grow. Fortunately it was our last batch of the year, so we didn’t have to move them out to make room for the next group.  They turned out to be beautiful Columbian Rock chickens.  So we wouldn’t be getting meat from these birds anytime soon.  However, we did find a buyer for the flock of hens and a couple of the roosters, and about a month later had the rest of the roosters finished for meat.  I suppose there was someone out there that had a bunch of meat birds instead of these beautiful layers.  Sorry!Columbian Rock

Having spent lots of time outdoors, eating grass and bugs, these birds had a much fuller flavour than the chickens that had been raised under cover.  The usual Cornish crosses really didn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain and you could loose a few if there was a surprise downpour, consequently, they were raised with a roof over their heads.

It’s been several years since we last raised any poultry, and the flavour of store bought just doesn’t have the flavour of homegrown.  It’s well worth the effort to find someone in your area who raises meat birds on a vegetarian diet (except for any bugs the bird finds itself).  You don’t get handy little packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you do get a rich bird that is perfect when roasted. Continue reading