Monica King is a local rancher who recently wrote about honey and bees for us. She also keeps chickens, and has this to share.
Chickens are a common sight on farms and ranches, but did you know there are “city” chickens? I don’t mean “backyard” chickens, I am talking pets. Chickens with their toes painted with fingernail polish wearing fancy diapers or tutus strutting across the floor on the way to roost on the couch. So maybe, instead of “city” chickens, I should call them “house” chickens.
”House chicken” is not quite right either, because 100 years ago chickens were commonly brought inside the people house in winter, to warm by the wood stove, scratch at the dirt floors, and chase any bugs that were to be found in the house.
Perhaps the best term for the dressed up pet chickens, would be “lucky” chickens, as in not living on a farm or ranch, and thus considered livestock. Maybe the chicken crossed the road to get away from the farmer’s ax?
Which brings this to me, the realist. Daughter of a farmer, I grew up in farming community, living on a ranch today. We gather fresh eggs and cull hens and roosters when necessary. These older tough birds end up in the soup pot and canner to stock our pantry with an easy way to use cooked chicken for fast enchiladas, burritos, pot pies, soups and more. We raise meat chickens, special fast growing breeds bred for tender muscular builds, and harvest them for the freezer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my fine feathered friends and can spend hours on end watching their goofy antics, fighting over bugs, taking dirt baths, and just being free to be chickens. Chickens are truly a pleasure to have around.
Whether you wake up in the morning with an egg on your pillow, have to go to the nesting boxes to grab them, get them at the local farmers market, or buy them at the grocery store, here is a hearty ranch breakfast recipe for you:
4 strips uncooked bacon, sliced into pieces
5-6 I’itoi onions or 2 scallions
2-3 medium green chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cheese (I use mozzarella and cheddar)
4 corn tortillas – sliced into triangles
cilantro & hot sauce (optional)
Add pieces of bacon to large pan, frying until desired doneness.
Add onions and green chilies, stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until onions are cooked.
Add sliced tortillas and stir, the tortillas will start to become soft, at this stage add the scrambled eggs and continue stirring until eggs are done.
Turn off heat, top with cheese and place a lid on the pan until cheese is melted.
Optionally serve with cilantro and hot sauce.
My sides on this particular morning were sliced tomatoes and toast with chia-pear jam.
Monica King is a rancher near Tucson.
If you want to learn more about keeping chickens or bees, or gardening come visit Monica and Jacqueline at the Savor the Southwest table at the 6th annual Membrillo Festival at Mission Gardens, Sunday 21 October, from 3:00 – 5:00pm. 946 W. Mission Lane, Tucson, AZ 85745. Monica will also be selling local honey, and things made with beeswax while Jacqueline will sell books, and we will both have savory things for you to sample! Watch the Savor the Southwest on facebook for more details.