When you think of Philadelphia, you might think of cheese steaks, soft pretzels, Ben Franklin or The Liberty Bell... but not necessarily farms and chickens. Yet Philly is full of surprises.
Tucked away on the Northwestern perimeter of the City of Brotherly Love is a protected enclave that holds multiple-acre properties that make you think you are in rural New York, Vermont, or in the Pyrenees for that matter. I am grateful that my dear friends Pat and John have decided to turn their three acre homestead into a locavore's paradise.
Anyone who has read my posts on lemon ice cream, meringues or frittata knows that I am addicted to these local eggs that have thick, creamy yolks the color of the autumn sunset... but the bar has just been raised.
Last Friday I was lucky enough to acquire some of Pat and John's chickens that had been organically, locally, humanely, beautifully and deliciously raised in poultry paradise. Their mobile coop gave them continuous access to the best of everything a chicken needs.
These well-proportioned city girls had meaty legs, ample breasts and supple skin. I brought half a dozen of them home and only then admitted that my freezer (already jammed full of pesto, tomato sauce, soup and pancakes) could no more accommodate 48 pounds of pullet than my new jeans.
What's a girl to do? Thanks to the miracle of Craig's List, my dream of a recycled basement fridge was realized in less than 24 hours and the ladies had a chilly new abode.
On Sunday afternoon, while the winds whipped outside my city home and Numbers One and Two helped to decorate the holiday tree, the most delicious chicken we've ever eaten roasted in the oven...
I thinly sliced an organic orange and speckled each round with thyme from my garden... I then carefully arranged the orange slices under the skin before rubbing the whole bird inside and out with butter. A few splashes of white wine and some sea salt... mmmmmmm.... served with roasted-then-mashed sweet potatoes and a green salad. Perfect.
Leftover meat was shredded and sauteed with onions, peppers and pinto beans to become a filling for corn tortillas on Monday... simply add basmati rice, fresh guacamole and steamed broccoli for an absolute feast.