Best Chicken Ever!

At this years Minnesota State Fair Beth Dooley joined the Eco Ag state to bring us a deliciously cooked Tree-Range® Chicken Recipe. She has very kindly shared this fabulous meal with us all here today:

As a cookbook author and James Beard award-winning food writer, I care as much about flavor as I do about our land, our water, our pollinators, our wildlife, our rural economies, and good food access. Turns out, all of these factors work together when food is grown the right way in good soil. I want to know where my food comes from, that my dollars are going to the right people and places. I’m no farmer, not even a good gardener, and I am humbled by the work that goes into producing delicious, healthy ingredients. Purchasing RAA chickens gives me that sense that I’m a partner to those who care about good food as much as I do. 

When I give cooking classes, I often talk about the key role regenerative agricultural practices are having on mitigating the damage from industrial agricultural practices. I’ve found that more and more of my students understand the importance such growing practices have on the environment. Concern over climate change is driving this interest; finally there are more tools and cooks willing to engage.

My work often takes me to farms, orchards, ranches to interview growers and producers and always I leave feeling proud. Minnesota is a haven for good food. There are plenty of pick your own orchards and berry farms, lots of co-ops that support small local growers, and plenty of bountiful farmers markets. I am a huge fan of them all.

Sauteed Chicken Thighs with Maple-Elderberry Glaze

Serves 4 to 6

This is the kind of saute that comes together in minutes. Chicken thighs are especially juicy and the dark meat is very flavorful but can also use chicken breasts for this, too. I like to leave the skin on as it becomes brown and crisp, adding texture and flavor to the dish, but that’s your call. Serve this over wild rice, farro, or pasta, or pile it into a crusty bun for a two-fisted sandwich.

¼ cup elderberry juice

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard

6 to 7 skin-on chicken thighs, boned out

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons hazelnut or vegetable oil

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the elderberry juice, maple syrup, and mustard. Set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces., lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Fill a large skillet with the oil and set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Drizzle the elderberry sauce over the chicken, toss, and serve right away.

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