Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trash or Treasure? Don't Throw Away That Chicken!

You know those $5.99 roast chickens at the grocery store?  I love those things.  With a family of three we can usually eat two meals off of one bird and make chicken stock from the carcass that gets used for all sorts of things.

For the single person, you can feed yourself at least 3-4 times off of one bird.

Meal #1 - breast/wing quarter w/starch and veggies as your evening meal.

Meal #2 - lunch the next day.  Either eat the other breast/wing quarter whole for lunch (cold or reheated) or chop up the breast and make a chicken salad sandwich.  Slice it up and put it on top of a salad.  Cut it up and make a cold wrap out of it.  Your options are limited only by your imagination and your budget.

Now you have two leg/thigh quarters left in your refrigerator.  Take them out, remove the skin and use a fork to shred them.  Turn them into chicken tacos/burrito/nachos by heating in a pan with a little oil and some taco seasoning.

If you prefer dark meat, reverse the roles of the breast/wing and leg/thigh quarters.

The carcass can be turned into chicken stock if you're up to it.  Simply place the carcass in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Add some onion, celery, carrot, a little salt & pepper and maybe some parsley, garlic or bay leaf.  Bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer for a few hours.  Remove the carcass and strain.  If you want to reduce the stock for a more concentrated flavor, just simmer away uncovered until you get the flavor you want.  Once cooled, you can remove any fat and freeze in zip-top bags or even in an ice cube tray.  If you use a tray, remove and bag the cubes once frozen.  Obviously, if you're eating one of these every week, you're not going to need to make stock out of every carcass.

I'll try to come up with a recipe or ten that utilize this chicken stock in future posts.

In the meantime, don't throw away that chicken!

PS.  The next time we buy one of these things, I'll add some images to this post.

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