Using the whole hog, I mean hen

I wasn't raised in a particularly food-centric household, and in my late teens to late twenties was a vegan. This meant I didn't really know how to cook much besides dry pasta. I could heat up a can of beans or cook a mean tofu patty, but when I became a meat eater again I left all meat cooking up to Charlie. He knew his way around an iron skillet, mentally stores and adeptly cooks his dad's recipe for a burger with perfection every time.

When I was finally ready to "honor" the animal through cooking it, well, I had to learn from the very beginning.  I also keep my internet ears open to new ways to use up the whole animal, at least as much as I know how. If you're in a similar boat, I've listed a few of my favorite go-to recipes below.

My own drawing of Ally, our mean black hen

I use these recipes nearly weekly:
How to roast a chicken (Martha Stewart)
How to cook a chicken breast (The Kitchn)

Bone broth: My approach is different than others I see online, I'm not sure how I came up with the process, since I use the internet as a cookbook.
Roast the skin, bones, drippings, fat in the oven on 350 for 30 minutes, stir/flip everything as best you can and roast 30 minutes more.
In a slow cooker/crock pot, cover the bones, etc. with water, add 2 bay leaves and a handful of thyme. Simmer for 12 hours. After you strain out the solids, you will have a richly flavored, unsalted broth.

Floursack tea towels from Girls Can Tell

Keep it going perpetually if you want, like Nourished Kitchen does. I generally use it for a giant batch of soup and toss (or bokashi) the bones.

I most often use homemade broth for chicken noodle soup or chicken and dumplings. Sometimes I'll use it in place of water to cook rice or barley, which is fantastic.

For chicken noodle soup I loosely follow the directions my sister in law gave me: 
Boil some kind of chicken with bones in. Today I used chicken thighs but I usually do a whole cut up chicken. Remove chicken to cool and pull off the bone. Put chopped onions, carrots and celery in broth cook until just done, add meat back in ( no skin, : p ) add salt and pepper to taste. I scoop out a cup or two of it and puree it and put it back in. Then I make a roux ( 3 or 4 tblspn butter same amount of flour, melt and add some stock, then pour it all back in the pot. It gives it some thickness which we like. Then just add noodles or rice, (I use the Amish egg noodles, they are yummy) when they're done YOU EAT!
Mabel will drink the broth and call it a meal.  If we have extra broth left over, the dogs get it with their dry food. After all, they deserve a nutritional boost, too!

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