So much has happened in the past several months since I last posted. The farm has been growing and shrinking as we harvested all our Summer vegetables and sold most of them at our farm stand. We have been engaged in one busy project after the other, but are still on our toes and looking forward to clearing some more land to expand our goat pasture as the Winter months creep in.
Last week, with the warm weather coming to a quick end, we decided it was time to prepare all of our meat birds for the freezer. Ever since tasting my first bite of home grown, pasture raised, free range chicken, I haven't been able to buy any meat from the market. When you raise something yourself and put so much love and care into it you gain a special connection, understanding and appreciation for it.
One of the greatest things about growing so much of our own food has been gaining a respect for just knowing where it came from. When I wrote this recipe I used all fresh ingredients from our farm, aside from the lemon. I do have 4 lemon trees growing that should start producing in March, provided they get enough sunlight from our greenhouse, but in the mean time I'm sticking with store-bought. I am extremely hopeful they will produce, but Foster, Rhode Island has never really been known for its citrus production!
If you don't have all fresh ingredients I suggest, at the minimum, that you try getting a local chicken that was raised on pasture and vegetarian feed. It makes a major difference. My mother can't stand my obsession with cooking on cast iron, but we laugh about it. Considering she likes eating everything I cook on it I guess it just comes down to a matter of opinion.
For this meal I roast the entire chicken in a cast iron pan, surrounded by fingerling potatoes and baby carrots, with the hint of lemon and basil. The chicken just melts in your mouth. If you don't have a good cast iron pan, GET ONE; you can cook an entire meal in it. I suggest you get a 15 inch one. It's worth the extra few dollars, but it's so heavy that you may need 2 people to move it from the stove to the table. ;) It's been great getting so many positive emails from my readers about their successes and occasional failures with the recipes we write. The suggestions have been very inspirational, and I take them all to heart. Please enjoy this recipe and keep the comments and emails coming!