How to use Every Part of a Chicken

no waste chicken for pinterestThere's been a fair bit of foodie talk recently about how many meals a responsible adult can get out of a roast chicken.  The highest I have heard posited (and I think it may have been part of the recent Jamie Oliver brouhaha) is 40! Well I don't know about that but I do know a handy trick to get every single scrap of meat off the carcass.  Read on.

My normal behaviour with a whole chicken is to roast it for our dinner.  My real man has a leg and a wing and I have a few slices of breast. As is normal for us, we have different accompaniments - he has homemade stuffing, homemade bread sauce, homemade sloppy peas, sausage meat, potatoes, veggies and real gravy whilst I have butternut squash and red onion roasted with a little chilli!

The next day he has the same meal again and I have something including leftover chicken and leftover roasted squash such as a risotto or, if I haven't eaten all my dinner the night before, I might have a bit of a munge - see here for details of this culinary technique.

On the third day I normally use the second, uncut breast to make a pie for my darling.

chicken and leek pie with new potatoes

At the same time I have a  a curry (quick and lovely recipe here) or similar for me for that night.  Lots more ideas throughout this blog and in my book, Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers - extensive preview here! 
creative ways to use up leftovers cookbook

In addition we may well have a chicken sandwich, salad or similar for lunch before moving on to the next stage. 

chicken and roasted butternut squash sandwich

How to completely strip a chicken carcass ...

~   After the above kind of meals bung all the rest of the chicken including skin, bones, flesh and any goo, into a saucepan with a lid and add about 1½ inches (4 cm)of cold water.
~   Bring to a boil over medium heat, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.  During this time turn the carcass once so that all of it gets a go in the water.
~   Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 20 minutes or so. 
~   Use tongs to lift the carcass out of the pan and set in a bowl or on a plate to cool a little.
~   Whilst still pleasantly warm manually (yes, with your hands) remove every single scrap of edible meat.  This is NOT unpleasant and DOESN'T take long.
~   Keep the broth - it will be a pretty golden colour and lightly flavoured.  It is not a true rich chicken stock but is prettier and better than water to use in any soups or sauces you might be making.

Here's a gruesome pic of a carcass I stripped earlier, have yourself a zoom, I don't think you'll find much I've missed!
cleanly stripped chicken carcass - no waste
The next day I make soup with the broth and probably the last of the chicken.  If it's not the last I can always think of something to do with it!

chicken and leek soup with croutons

This is, of course, nothing like 40 meals, it is 10-ish and at £5 or so for a reasonable 2kg chicken  that's about 50p per meal plus a few nibbles. 


Dc said...

The only thing I do differently is to roast the bones and remains once stripped. These bones then go back into the stock for another slow simmer. Really, really lifts the flavour!

Suzy - Sudden Lunch said...

Yeah, that's true. I usually do that with a turkey. Thank you.