Snowdance Farm Chickens - Cooking Tips for these extra-special birds
Snowdance Farm Chickens
What's the deal with these Snowdance Farm chickens and why are we so excited about them? These birds are locally raised on a family farm in the Catskills. They are true free range birds that are allowed to roam the pasture and take in all of nature’s bounty (aka bugs and insects galore!) They are never injected with steroids or antibiotics, so you don’t have to worry about what you’re putting in your body when you eat them.
Now these aren’t your typical chickens that you’ve grown accustomed to from your neighborhood grocery store. Visually, these birds are stunning with their elongated bodies and limbs. These are not the big breasted basic birds you nonchalantly slather with butter and roast at 400 degrees for an hour. These birds need a little TLC, and a little tweaking to your cooking methods will go a long way. Just as the farmers put every ounce of love into raising them, so shall you when cooking. =)
You’ll find this particular heritage chicken has much denser flesh than other chickens, that’s because their muscles actually are developed from all that free-ranging! Another important thing to note is the beauty of the skin on the Snowdance chicken. The skin itself is a darker yellow color and a little thicker than the average chicken, and with that comes more flavor. Slowly rendering the bird skin side down in a pan over a low flame will bring ultimate crispy perfection (brick chicken anyone?) You have to have patience though. And no peeking! It will never get to where you want it to be if you keep fussing with it. This chicken also fares well by being braised or poached (see our recipe for Cantonese-style White Cut Chicken.) And if you have chicken stock on your weekend to-do list, this is the bird for you! You’ll produce a rich stock and have a whole lot of meat to use in chicken salad, tacos, soup, the list goes on but you get the picture!
If you’re itching for a classic roast chicken, this bird will be exceptional. Season to your preference and roast for ten minutes at 450 degrees and then drop it down to 300 degrees (yes it's low) for about 50 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes before slicing into it as it will continue to cook. If you slice too early you risk an undercooked chicken and all of the juices escaping. Snowdance chickens do better with a slower cook. Hard and fast is not this chicken’s MO and will ultimately lead to dry, tough flesh and chewy skin. It must be mentioned that, if time allows, leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge for a day or two before you plan on applying any dry heat. In order to get that skin crispy, you need to help get rid of some of that moisture.
Enjoy this beautiful and responsibly raised chicken, whichever cooking method you choose!