Smoked Fresh-Killed Chicken with Cottage Cheese Triple Cream Noodles

posted in: Cooking, Savory | 12

chicken art

Dinners that elicit utter silence in guests are the ones to strive for. When the food takes precedence and words simply do not form in your head, you have achieved something great.  This was one of those meals.

simple chicken noodles

It all started a few weeks ago when an amazing blogger friend stated “You cook the most exotic food. Do you ever just roast a chicken?” I decided to take it as a challenge, because truth be told, I rarely just roast a chicken. Maybe a bit of spring cleaning in the kitchen is in order to appreciate the simple wonders of classic fare.  Fast forward to a few days ago- I found myself on a lazy drive cruising the back roads of the Kitsap Peninsula in search of fresh eggs. Can I just state for the record and for the hundredth time that I desperately want chickens and ducks and I don’t think it’s fair that my evil husband won’t let me keep them on our in-city lot? Stated.  My loose goal was to end up at Pheasant Fields Farm, although I’ve never been before.  I rolled up and was greeted by dozens of friendly free-roaming chickens, who incidentally struck fear into Bentley’s little heart. He clung to my legs like never before but he was so awed he couldn’t walk away.  Come to find out, I had missed by a half hour the slaughter of a whole mess of chickens. If you know me at all you can imagine how disappointed I was to miss such a thing, but I’m told they’ll do it again soon and I’m invited to come participate. Plus, they still had all the equipment set up along with a giant bucket of heads and feet which they graciously gave me to take home and make stock. All that collagen- oh yes, baby!

smoked

I was only too happy to take one of the freshly-rigormortisized chickens off their hands along with some duck and chicken eggs right out of the nests. I learned a great tip I wish I had known when I unceremoniously killed my own chicken last fall.  Don’t cook the birds until they are no longer stiff, as rigor mortis causes toughness if you cut meat off the bone while the bird is still in that state. It takes 24-48 hours for the bird to loosen back up, though you’re welcome to brine the bird during that time.  I waited the obligatory two days and meanwhile made a batch of fresh cottage cheese.  I decided cottage cheese noodles would be a perfect accompaniment to simple chicken.  I also had some triple crème languishing in the refrigerator (don’t ask) so I tossed that in with the noodles along with a boatload of my fresh eggs, some thyme, just churned-butter and the cottage cheese.  This was my first experience making the noodles with a pasta machine. I felt a little bit like a sellout since I have hand-rolled and cut them several times a week for as long as I can remember, but I guess that fact in itself justifies a machine.  The noodles sure are nice and uniform, even if they do lack the personality of truly handmade pasta.  I will use the machine in the future but will also definitely retain my hand-rolled technique as well. Another interesting observation about machine-rolling the noodles is that it doesn’t require nearly as much wine. You simply cannot hand-make noodles without regular gulps from a big balloon wine glass in order to fortify your strength. Because you need less strength for machine-done pasta, you don’t encounter near-enough of this happy problem.

noodle casseruola

Once enough time had passed, I removed my newly-loosened chicken from her brine and fired up the smoker while her skin air-dried.  I figured one little change from roasting the chicken to smoking it really doesn’t make much of a difference to my initial challenge, as it’s essentially just cooking it in an outdoor oven over apple wood as opposed to an indoor one.  Once she was nice and dry and the smoker was nice and hot (I averaged 220° F for 3 hours for a 5.5 lb bird) I trussed her, stuffed her cavity with a bit of thyme, and rained Maldon salt and a touch of pepper over her body.  Because simplicity was the name of the game here, I didn’t want to get complicated with extra rubs, marinades, or god-forbid basting, which doesn’t work well with smoking as it lets too much heat escape.

smoked chix

Once my chicken was nearing completion I tossed the noodle concoction into the oven and whipped together a simple butter lettuce and cucumber salad along with some homemade buttermilk dressing.  I made a jus to drizzle over the chicken by reducing the juices collected from her cavity in a saucepan along with some vermouth and thyme.

chicken n thyme

The noodles came out, the chicken was carved, salad was served et voila- I can DO simple, damn it! And I’m happy to report it was so simply damn delicious that not a word was spoken amongst five of the most talkative people I know for over 60 seconds.  They resumed their maddening din after they recovered from their delight, but did so with a lingering smile around their lips as they licked the last of the chicken from the glistening bones.

it's delicious

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12 Responses

  1. This is a magnificent post Un giorno. I benefit from the knowledge lot. I will bookmark this page. show gratitude’s for sharing this knowledge.

  2. Congratulations for doing this dish. I hope I can cook good like you. I love chicken and noodles but I am not really good at cooking. That’s why I often eat in restaurants Bethlehem PA.

  3. [...] you don’t even need a recipe, though there are some good ones here, here, and here. Take a chicken, a fat, salt and pepper, and a spice or herb (optional), rub the first [...]

  4. Your post title intrigued me – when I was growing up in the south we killed our own chickens, my memories of this procedure does not elicit a warm, fuzzy feeling. But somehow your description of this meal has elevated chicken preparation to Simply sublime!

  5. Robert

    Well now I can comment, having been one of the “talkative” guest who was silenced by the chicken. It was a beautiful as it looks and better tasting than you can imagine. The mild smoky flavor in combination with the thyme and the bright edge of the Maldon salt would have silenced stronger people. It is true it was one of the those moments you had to be quiet in order to hear all the things running through your mind as the flavors came together in your mouth. AMAZING!
    And the noodles were delightful, I actually did not get enough of those either but could not fit anymore in. Lindas home made cottage cheese is nothing like store bought, whole different class of flavor.
    Rather than rambling on in my typical fashion let me just thank Linda for experimenting on me and my partner weekly. We look forward to all her cravings.

  6. This looks beautiful. Do you always have fresh cottage cheese in your kitchen? You make it sound easy. I normally don’t like cottage cheese. But I do like it two ways: in a baked egg dish that is perfect for feeding breakfast to large numbers of people, and in the slow cooker lasagne recipe I have (which I made this afternoon with all of the greens from my garden). Cheers!

  7. What you say about those “special meals” is so so so true. I live for those evenings and have been honored to have a few myself.
    I don’t roast many chicken either and I find that those simple little perfectly elegant meals and always the ones that elicit the most silence.
    When I showed my husband the pictures of your feast he said, “Oh yeah, That’ll shut em up”.
    In short that is one hell of a gorgeous meal you made! I am in awe of the stuff you do! Ths enoodles!! Oh my!!!
    I have also been lobbying for chickens here on our property and since we live out in the country next to a vineyard my main concern is varmints. Also I don’t know that I could actually kill my own birds. I’ve cleaned and plucked ducks and stuff but someone had already killed them for me. Maybe if I do do the chicken thing, you’d like to come down and dispatch some for me.

  8. I think that is the most beautiful chicken I have ever seen! Killed your own chicken! I respect that. I think people need to know where there food comes from so they respect it and do not waste it as much as we do here. Finally, can we discuss how gorgeous the little one is at the end of the post! Is he your’s??? So cute! And clearly will grow up to have an amazing palate!

  9. I love your definition of “simple.” Somehow I don’t think most people would term fresh made cottage cheese noodles as “simple.”

    You are also “simply” the best at describing the process of preparing and enjoying a fine meal. Every entry reads like short story. Brilliant.

  10. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ken Leung and s karasawa, Linda M Nicholson. Linda M Nicholson said: Smoked Fresh-Killed Chicken with Cottage Cheese Triple Cream Noodles http://bit.ly/cRsr5l [...]

  11. well, even though i never got to taste it you’ve basically left me speechless with your description! you can do simple, and you do it WELL!

    now i should probably clean the drool off of the husband’s keyboard…

  12. You did it, SIMPLY well done! I’m sure I’ll be chomping in silence as well. Food-wise, your cooking is exactly what I love. Simply flavorful.

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