I’m thrilled to report that I have the sort of friends who operate heavy machinery (their car) with a couple of roosters as passengers. When Cassie stopped by earlier this week we introduced her two guys to my flock thinking we were going to see them make some magic. Big dreams of a short nature film with a 1070’s porn soundtrack were dashed. This rooster, the naked neck was far more interested in what edibles might be hidden in the compost pile. The exploration took up most of his time and focus.
mr naked neck
Big Beard, the other rooster focused on strutting his stuff for Chaca my Bantum rooster. While amusing to see Chaca hop up and down or as the kids say “get air” due to his indignation Big Beard proved to be handsome but not all that bright. The girls did not even get Safeway flowers.
Sometimes one’s hens turn out to be roosters. This particular as it turns out rooster is a feather footed Bantam from Garden Girl Farm and one of my favorite chickens. Better than television and does not too strenuously object to being handled. He struts along the top of the fence despite a wing clipping, puffs himself up with pride and is working on a crow that sounds like a broken noisemaker. He’s handsome too with those black iridescent feathers following up the ginger. Ironically I chatted up my love of this chicken to a friend, took these photos and then received a phone message inquiring as to “my plans” for Chaca aka Napoleon from a neighbor whose daughters are being woken up on the weekends. I’m not thinking she means a cruise for him but hope that we can work something out, aside from me sleeping with a chicken on the weekends.
Coq au Vin, the authentic version and a vast amount of chicken stock for canning was on our minds when my friend Cassie needed to dispatch four of her roosters for various reasons. I had Henry as a captive audience in the car so was inclined and able to give my “Where do you think your food comes from?” talk and tossed in “Chickens don’t poop out breaded nuggets.” for good measure. I didn’t know how he would react to the butchering.
The sharp knife option, you know they are dead
By the time we arrived at Garden Girl Farm Cassie had already butchered two of of the four roosters but we were up close and personal for the remaining duo. It’s not an urban or in this case farm myth that chickens run around once the beheading has happened. It’s unnerving just how long they are still active. In the moment it feels like forever. Once the birds was killed we dipped them in boiling water to ease the plucking off of their feathers. I have no plucking shots because, well I was busy with handfuls of feathers, going back in for the stubborn quills.
Cassie waiting for the headless chicken to quiet down
Once plucked Cassie butchered the chicken. Also a bit unsettling was the behavior of the remaining flock. Those hens were hanging around waiting to be tossed the bits and pieces of what was an outstanding anatomy lesson. Apparently there is nothing more tasty to a chicken then a fellow bird’s lung or liver. Moving on to the portion of the day that most of us are more familiar with we browned the now salted chicken in some olive oil.
The browning chicken
Into a stock pot the size of which I’m envious went the browned chicken, onions, celery, carrots and various herbs from the garden. Another portion of the chicken along with the above ingredients and a couple of bottles of Merlot went into another pot for the start of Coq au Vin. Remember scratch n’ sniff stickers? I wish there was that option for the simmering stock image.
The simmering stock
There had been a whole bunch of verbal bravado from the boy. Would Henry swear off of meat? Would there be tears? Nope, I think he’s just fine. A chicken pot pie was consumed for dinner that night.