|How to butcher a chicken. Click to view larger.
Illustration courtesy of marinsunfarms.com
I used to be one of those people who only ate white meat chicken or nothing at all. I think part of it was just being used to the color and texture of it all my life. I first tried thigh meat when I realized it was about 2/3 of the price of the breast meat (sometimes the road less traveled is cheaper!). Guess what? I like it a heck of a lot better! It naturally has a slightly higher fat content and therefore doesn’t dry out as easily as breast meat. When I need something really quick to cook up in a pan, I tend to buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs. That said, they do taste a whole lot better when cooked on the bone and with the skin.
Buying pasture raised chicken at the farmers market (the pictured chicken was from Marin Sun Farms) actually forces people to buy either whole birds or cuts that are less processed than you’d find at a grocery store. There’s just no way a small farm is going to break their birds down into boneless, skinless breast meat for sale. For starters, it’s too time consuming, but mostly it’s kind of an insult to the animal. There’s nothing wrong with eating the skin of chicken that’s been raised well and had a good life. I recognize that not everyone has access to pasture raised chicken. Fair enough. If you do, buy it. See if you can taste the difference like I do. It tastes more like, well, chicken. If you don’t have access to chicken from a local farm, opt for organic and air chilled varieties. Air chilling simply means that the birds aren’t dunked into a tank of water and chemicals (including chlorine) to clean them out during processing. You may find that air chilled chickens have darker colored meat and also may have some small remnants of blood within the bones or the connective tissue. This is normal! It just means that coloration hasn’t been literally bleached out.
2 pasture raised whole chicken legs (or organic, air chilled)
dried rosemary (from fresh if you can)
(optional) melted butter or coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Pat the chicken legs dry. Brush with either melted butter or coconut oil (optional, I don’t always do this) and sprinkle with ample amounts of each spice. You may vary them depending on your taste preferences.
Bake the chicken in a shallow baking dish and when you notice liquid flowing from it, baste the drippings back over the top of the chicken.
The chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Change up your spices to your preferences. Try sage instead of rosemary or onion powder instead of garlic… or combine whatever sounds good to you!
BS, Certified Nutrition Educator, C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach
San Francisco Nutritionist & Paleo Nutritionist serving the Bay Area and beyond via phone & Skype consultations.