Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chicken one day, feathers the next

Growing up in the sticks of Pennsylvania I had a baby-sitter by the name of Thelma Litzenburger.  She was a fine, robust German woman who not only took care of me while my mother was at work but also her own kids, her house and small farm.  In the morning, she would set us down in front of the TV with our ketchup sandwiches to watch Electric Company and Sesame Street.  Yes, I said ketchup sandwich . . . that would be white bread smeared with ketchup. 

In the afternoon, we would follow her around while she did her chores and tended the farm, which included a vegetable garden and a chicken coop.

Thelma was a very self-sufficient woman.  When there was to be chicken for dinner she didn’t run to the store . . . she stepped into her barnyard.  As a child, I witnessed the execution of many a chicken destined for the cooking pot.  I can’t say that it ever bothered me; it was a way of life.

You may never have to kill a chicken but if you do you want to do it in a manner that causes as little stress and pain for the animal as possible . . . and for yourself as well.

The cleanest way to killing a chicken is to wring the chicken's neck. This not wringing like you would wring the water out of a piece of cloth by twisting and squeezing.  It would certainly do the trick but it would take a lot of effort and would be torture for the poor bird.
I found this method to be very similar to what I observed as a child.
·                 Grasp the two legs of the chicken firmly in the right hand and raise the bird off the ground. Suspended in this way the head will be hanging down.  The chicken will flap around at first but it will eventually calm down.
·                 The chest are of the bird should be facing to the right if you are right handed, facing let if you are left handed.
·                 Run your hand down the chicken’s neck and with the back of your hand facing up towards you place your index and middle finger on either side of the chicken’s neck where it meets the skull.
·                  At this point the top of the chickens head will be touching the palm of your hand and tilted back with its beak facing towards the inside of your wrist.
Now you are ready. The next step is the important one. This is the kill. You want to do it properly and with conviction. If you mess up now then the animal will suffer.
·                  Raise the bird up with your right hand and gripping tightly pull down with the left hand. You will feel a sort of pop and the head will no longer be connected to the spine. Pull down a bit more but not so much as you are pulling the head off the bird...that is messy.
At this point the chicken will start thrashing about. This is quite normal. The bird’s eyes may even be open and it is blinking and tongue moving. Don't look at that end. Hold the bird still suspended in close to your body. You will feel the neck engorge with blood and within two minutes it will stop moving completely.
At this point you’ll need to pluck and butcher the chicken . . . to be continued. . .

Cher’s Crock Pot Chicken W/ Beans and Cheese...yum!
  • 4 -5 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 (15 1/2 Ounce) Cans Kidney Beans, Drained
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Cans Corn, Drained
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Cans Cream Corn
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Jars Salsa, Any Kind
  • 8 Oz Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 Oz Cream Cheese
Take 4-5 frozen, yes, frozen, boneless chicken breasts put into crock pot.

Add the beans, corn, creamed corn and salsa.

Keep in crock pot on high for about 8 – 9 hours on low.

Add the cheese (just throw it on top!) and let sit for about 1/2 hour.

All done and enjoy!

Note:  you can use any kind of cheese you like - cream cheese, cheddar, American, Velveeta, etc.

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