John Henry Boudreaux

The Big Fat Hen

I have nothing less than extravagant praise for the chicken raised by Jill and her boys at Jolly Farms in Santa Fe (Texas, that is). They have solved all of the many problems confronting those who have tried to raise free range chickens year round. They do it better than our several tried and failed chicken partners - and not by just a little bit. The product is just delicious while avoiding ALL of the negatives that come with industrial chicken.

After consuming the breasts, wings, legs and thighs, you will end up with a carcass that has some meat clinging to it. What signal does that give you? It’s bone broth time! Third child John Henry has come up with additions to our broth recipe (see the recipe section on our website) that adds zestiness to the result. Here goes.

For a gallon and a half of water, add the carcass plus the ingredients listed in our recipe section, and these additions á la John Henry:

  • 2 inches of whole ginger cut into 3 equal chunks, and
  • 2 whole lemons, cut in half with the skin on

Follow the rules for broth making - always a long, slow simmer to produce a pretty, clear broth. I like 24 hours but it doesn’t have to be so long. 6 hours will do and in a pinch, 3 hours will produce enjoyable results.

How to eat it: strip the remaining meat from the carcass and add it back along with your choice of vegs and a starch if you like; drink it straight from the pot; use it to make rice or pasta; or any combination of the above.

HoniAnn and I make 4 dinners from the one 4 lb. hen grown by Jolly. That’s not only great eating but also a wasteless and therefore frugal use of your package.

The State of Being!

Missed our 2016 event?  Sign up here  and we'll let you know when the 2017 tickets are available.

Missed our 2016 event? Sign up here and we'll let you know when the 2017 tickets are available.

We add a one-time heading only because our lives have been so hectic since the previous publication that our state of being will likely reflect on the quality of this particular newsletter. It has been crazy busy at the farm and all over the planet for the Boudreaux family. It started with the October delivery weekend which is always hectic but usually followed by 2 days of rest and recuperation. Instead, we immediately went into preparation for our Outstanding In The Field event, a dinner for 200 in the pasture of the high hill of JVF (we enjoyed seeing so many of you there).  Did we then rest? No. Because our baby-boy, John Henry, was to be married in Austin 2 weeks later and we had forestalled most of our tasks needed for that event until the dinner in the field was complete. So, it was on to Austin, the headquarter hotel, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the wedding dinner. Did we then rest? Not yet, for it was our duty to care for the 4 grandchildren for 4 days while the rest of our children hosted a wedding celebration at Jolie Vue.

You may find all of this irrelevant, but maybe this is the takeaway. Glen and HoniAnn can still bring it! JVF has a long life. And this newsletter may just be the most discombobulated one ever published. Life happens.

Pecan Wood: The Perfect Smoke

We lost another pecan tree recently. It just fell over - not dead at all, just unable to hold itself up any longer. Funny how the drought-challenged trees fall after the drought has passed. But they do.

Luckily, baby-boy was visiting from NYC (while John Henry is the “baby” of the family, he is now 6 feet plus and 215 pounds). The pecan tree had fallen across one of our paths and after he finished a day on the tractor planting more winter pasture, he made quick work of the fallen tree and supplied us with a healthy stack of pecan logs for the smoker pit. Out came the pork, including a rib-on pork belly and porterhouse pork chops. I laid the firebox foundation with typical charcoal and when it turned white, stacked pecan logs on top. After coating the meat with something called “watermelon vinaigarette” that I found in the fridge, the meat was first seared over the wood and charcoal then removed to the far end of the smoking oven, sitting at 150 degrees. The smoke of the pecan wafted over and around it for the next few hours. My goodness, was it good!

Of all the woods used for smoking, I think pecan is tops. It has just the right amount of fruitiness to it. Not so much as to make it sweet exactly, but only enough to cut the harsher flavor that you get from hickory, mesquite and to a lesser extent, oak. So if you don’t have a fallen pecan tree of your own, buy the pecan chunks you can find at the store. Give them a little soak in water before applying to your coal bed because they need some moisture to get the full effect. Then enjoy the flavor of one of the greatest nut trees the world has ever known. Bon appetit, a la Pecan!

The Current Read

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
— Julia Child

Our baby boy (John Henry) gave me Standage’s An Edible History of Humanity for Christmas. The author traces the impact of food on civilization from our beginnings as hunter/foragers to agriculture and all of its technology today. A very interesting point is made early on, to wit:

“[The switch from hunter/forager to farmer is the most] mysterious because the switch made people significantly worse off, from a nutritional perspective and in many other ways. Indeed, one anthropologist has described the adoption of farming as ‘the worst mistake in the history of the human race.’”

Standage explains that anthropologists have compared the skeletal remains of hunters living side by side or back to back with farmers. Hunters are larger, stronger people. Farmers show clear indications of malnutrition so assumedly did not live as long as the hunters. Besides, he says, the hunters had more fun - they could fill their food quotas in a couple of days, leaving themselves with 5 day weekends. More time to socialize and ponder the big questions, as we modern day farmers all know. It’s a 24/7/365 career.

I never thought about it that way, but it does remind me of the Comanche nation, one of our most interesting societies for the way they dominated the Plains so completely in the early days of the Republic and before. The Comanches transformed themselves from weak, malnourished and conquered people to the most dominant tribe of the Great Plains only when they adopted the horse which allowed them to harvest buffalo at will. There was nothing like the regular digestion of red meat to grow a tribe into superior beings.

As I get further into the book, I find that I like it less. But it is still a worthwhile read from which I conclude a couple of things - really just affirming what we preach at JVF:

Excluding meats from our diet is a colossal mistake, especially for the young; secondly, eat that widely diverse plate of food because while the vegetables and fruits cannot alone pack the nutritional punch of a piece of meat, they do contribute their own unique profile of vitamins and minerals necessary for a complete diet. They round out the meal.

The Eaters Write

“It's not  what you eat, it's  what you eat ate.”
— Unknown
“We are spoiled on steaks since using your cookbook method of preparing them and eating your lovely meats...”
— Winnie, a JVF customer.

We love hearing that, Winnie. Keep those cards and letters coming.

From the most instinctive cook in the family, our baby boy, John Henry Boudreaux, writes us from NYC:

“If you have an Osso Buco in your freezer, take it out, sear it with only salt as the spice, pound some garlic cloves (generous amount), slice up a pat of butter put it in the skillet and pour in a bottle of wine. Cover that and put it in the oven on low (260) and let cook for hours — time dependent on size of meat. Then you buy some crusty bread and toast it with plenty of butter. Pour the jus over the pulled beef (or pork) and ENJOY! Best meal I’ve had in a long time!”