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Chickens from Swillington Farm: an update

Posted by on Thursday 17 January 2013 in cooking | 1 comment

(Hi, happy new year, hope you’re all well. I’ve really got out of this blogging lark, haven’t I? :) )

Swillington Farm, the awesome organic farm near Leeds, has linked to my very old post about their chickens in their most recent newsletter and I thought it was possibly time for an update.

We’ve had a monthly meat box (like a veg box but, you know, meat) most months since Swillington Farm began delivering them in June 2011. While the contents of each box is different each month depending on availability at the farm, we always get a chicken from them and they’re always huge. We had a couple last autumn that dwarfed that first one we got – each breast alone was nearly 1lb (454g) in weight! I always joint the birds because we prefer to have the meat stretched across the month rather than in one big feast. That “14 meals from one chicken” is the rule, not the exception:

Added to veg/pulses, the breasts each give us four portions of some yummy main meal – usually some sort of curry or risotto, or something like enchiladas = 8 meals

The legs we usually roast whole – though sometimes when they’re very big (like last autumn), I have to joint them into thighs & drumsticks because they’re too big for me to eat in one sitting. Let’s be conservative though and just say = 2 meals

The wings we usually stock up to have a couple at a time but they are considerably bigger than standard take-away “hot wings” so would be fine one wing per person with salad etc for a light lunch. Again though, let’s be conservative and say 2 wings = 1 meal

The skin and liver still usually go to the animals but I roast the carcass and make stock, and use the stock and the meaty bits from the carcass/neck to make soup. I’ve made chicken, carrot and ginger soup for the last few months because it’s my favourite winter warmer. Our homemade soups are usually a minimum of five portions – some for now, some for the freezer. So the carcass & meaty bits = 5 meals.

… so that’s about 16 portions, with some of the frankly massive birds giving us even more. Gosh!

Obviously we are adding plenty of veggies/pulses/grains to all of the above – but each of them is still very “chickeny”. Anyone who knows us in person will know we’re not sparrow-like eaters: we eat big portions – too much really. We could easily stretch it further still if we weren’t such food-obsessed gluttons.

Swillington Farm birds are more expensive than supermarket birds but they really do go far. Organic, humanely raised, properly free-range meat is never going to be the most frugal option but for us, it’s one of those situations where we’re happy to pay extra to suit our other principles. Until we can grow our own meat birds, we’ll stick to Swillington.

(Just to be clear: this is just me gushing, not a paid for post by any means!)

One Comment

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  1. Jan

    Hi Louisa,
    Really good to get your blog post this morning, have missed you!
    Snowing hard here, definitely a soup day, might try your recipe if I can drag myself away from the fire-something about snow makes me want to snuggle up and get cosy even though we are blessed with double glazing and central heating so not really cold at all. Do your chickens like the snow- my dog used to love it!

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