Jumbo Sommerlad Heritage Christmas Chicken

$100.00
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Pay your $100 deposit now to secure your order!
We’ll charge you the balance at $36.95 per kilo when we know the final weight of your jumbo chook. As a guide, the bird pictured is 4.2 kg so costs $155.00. Same price and size as a small turkey.

Available from 19 December 
Between 3.7-4.8 kg. Frozen only. Select the number of birds you want and let us know if you'd prefer a larger or smaller one and we'll do our best to accommodate.

These are grand and gorgeous, pasture-raised birds that hark back to the days when a big, plump chicken was proudly presented as the the centre piece for special feasts in the calendar - like Christmas. (The trussed bird pictured has a stuffing of Pepe Saya cultured butter, organic garlic and thyme carefully inserted under the skin of the breast.) 

Grown at Milking Yard farm near Daylesford in Victoria, these jumbo Christmas chickens are raised on certified organic grain feed, about 4.0 kg in size and are deeply flavoured with long legs, dense meat and thick skin that crisp up beautifully. Milking Yard Sommerlad Heritage chickens are arguably the most celebrated meat chickens available in Australia, winning the National Delicious Produce Award ‘Paddock’ Trophy two years’ running in 2015 and 2016 as well as the 2016 Australian Food Awards Champion Poultry Trophy. Don't take our word for it.

Awards are nice but what really gets us going is the genetic diversity these birds represent and the way these chickens in particular are raised. We first visited Milking Yard Farm in March 2015 and it’s so beautiful that our first instinct was to nudge the chickens aside and move in ourselves. The chickens roam across grassy fields and through specially-planted, shaded forest areas, feeding on wild grubs, seeds, grit, grasses and certified organic grain feed. They live about three times longer than conventional white broiler chickens and the entire farm is run on organic principles - no chemicals, antibiotics, artificial fertilisers or pesticides. Milking Yard Farm really sets the benchmark for any other poultry farm in Australia.

Sommerlad Heritage chickens are the result of a 15 year breeding project developed by Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad to develop an old-fashioned, deeply-flavoured table bird designed specifically to thrive outside on Australian pastures with the highest animal welfare outcomes.

The chickens are bred at the Sommerlads’ farm near Tenterfield in Northern NSW and the day-old chicks are sent to a handful of authorised farms across the country to be grown out on pasture for between 12 -16 weeks. This is up to three times longer than conventional white broilers which make up the remainder of the Australian meat industry and is a consequence of the slow growing genetics that allow for the development of strong bones and more deeply flavoured meat. Sommerlad birds have longer legs and more even meat distribution than the breast-heavy white broiler chicken and they are vigorous, athletic and curious, ranging far afield in search of grubs and green pick.

They’re wonderful to look at too, with multi-coloured feathers and a variety of colours, shapes and sizes - breeds include Transylvanian Naked Necks, Australian Game, Croad Langshan and Plymouth Rock.

"We’ve specifically bred them to thrive in free-range pasture rearing environments. (Characteristics include) active foraging behaviour, heat-resistance, balanced body confirmation and strong legs, as well as good liveability with improved, natural resistance to diseases endemic to Australian poultry flocks.”
Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad

"The flavour of a Sommerlad chicken is something very special, it’s the combination of the heritage breeds that makes this chicken stand out. The free range environment and the naturally slower growing birds also helps to develop their full flavour."
Peter Gilmore, Executive Chef, Quay Restaurant

Sommerlad Heritage chickens represent a profoundly welcome return to the days before a single genetic strain of white chicken was raised by the thousands in artificial light inside sheds with the exclusive purpose of achieving maximum efficiency, volume and speed to market with the least investment.

We’re proud to have been actively supporting this project and selling Sommerlad birds since late 2014.

HOW TO ROAST A MILKING YARD SOMMERLAD CHOOK

Uncover your bird and leave it overnight in the fridge so the skin dries nicely - this will give you a good, crisp result. Before you start cooking, take your bird out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.
  1. Heat the oven to 160°C and place the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting dish.
  2. Cut a lemon into quarters lengthways and place them into the cavity of the chicken along with thyme sprigs or herbs of your choice.
  3. Brush melted butter over the chicken and season with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Pour a cup of water into the roasting tray and cover with aluminium foil and place into the pre heated oven. Cook for 1.5 to 2 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of at 70°C degrees by using a meat thermometer or ensuring juices run clear when skewered into the thickest part of the thigh.
  5. If using a steam oven, heat oven to 80°C on steam or a combination of hot air + steaming and cook to an internal temperature of 70°C.
  6. Remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 220°C while you brush the bird with melted butter, and return chicken to the oven.
  7. When golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving and plating.

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