I picked up a couple of what the Vietnamese market calls mature chickens. They’re not that big – their combined weight was about 4 1/2 lbs – and I’ve always assumed that they’re spent layers. They’re quite inexpensive – $1.19/lbs.

Anyway, I’m making broth, of course, and I simmered the chickens for a couple hours until the meat was tender. I might separate the chicken into quarters and pull out the breasts earlier next time – the thighs are perfect but the breasts are a bit dry. The dark meat is darker than the chicken I’m used to, but the flavour is good.

After I removed the bigger pieces of chicken to use in this dish, I tossed all the bones and skin back in the pot and I’ll continue simmering it probably for another day.

This dish was inspired by this recipe – I had originally intended to follow it but changes kept occurring to me.

3 cups chicken meat in smallish pieces

6 slices bacon

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (I think I’ll double this next time)

4 green garlic (these grow in my garden – I’d probably use a garlic clove and a couple green onions at other times of year)

8 oz cream cheese

4 oz creme fraiche

1 small bunch cilantro, most stems removed and chopped

2 oz grated cheese (I used marble)

juice of 1 lime

2 medium tomatoes

Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry it until most of the fat has rendered out. Leaving the bacon and fat in the pan, add the jalapenos and green garlic and cook for a couple minutes. Add the cream cheese, pulled or cut into little chunks, and the creme fraiche. Stir for several minutes until it is melted and well mixed. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange them in a single layer on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. (I suggest seasoning them since they were a bit bland this time – either taco seasoning or chili powder would be good.) Arrange the chicken pieces over the tomatoes. Spread the bacon cream mixture over the chicken and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes, wait 5 minutes, then serve.

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