On a homestead, nothing goes to waste. But when you hatch chicks, you end up with a lot of extraneous roosters. What do you do with these fellows? What about an old hen that has stopped laying? Or a mean rooster?
Eat them, of course!
Commercially raised chickens are meat cross breeds which are processed very young. These birds have not moved around much in their short lives - their whole purpose has been to eat and gain weight in preparation for your table. The rooster (or hen) outside has been walking around, scratching in the dirt, and is typically older than a commercial bird. (Commercial chicks are processed as early as 6 weeks or as late as 12.)
To keep your ethically raised, humanely processed chicken from tasting like an old boot, follow my no-fail recipe:
Leave the defeathered, rinsed chicken in the fridge for a couple of days. If your chicken was frozen after processing, thaw him out and let him rest in the fridge a couple of days before proceeding. This gives the meat fibers time to relax and soften. It also gives you a few days to get the smell of feathers out of your mind.
Brine your chicken over night. I make a simple brine of 1 gallon water, 3/4 cup salt, 2/3 cup sugar (brown or white, chose your favorite), and 3/4 cup soy sauce. Heat the water and stir in your sugar, salt, and soy sauce until dissolved. Allow brine to cool completely. Put your chicken in a 2 gallon bag and pour the brine in over him, refrigerate over night.
Take your chicken out of the brine and rub it all over with a mixture of spices. I like to use 1 tablespoon paprika, 2 teaspoons italian seasoning mix, 1 teaspoon pepper, and a tablespoon of dried onion. You could add your favorite dry rub or seasoning packet. Quarter up a large onion and place it in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place chicken on top. Add your veggies, I used rose potatoes and carrot chunks, around the chicken. Pour 2 cups of a good, dark red wine around the edges so it doesn't rinse off your spice mixture. Set your slow cooker to low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
You might want to plan this meal for a day you'll be out of the house, because it smells delicious while it's cooking!