1 October 2013

How to use Every Part of a Chicken

There'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. 

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

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!

So, you wonder (or perhaps not) what do I do with the chicken remains after said stripping? Well it will normally yield enough meat to make a chicken and leek pie for my man (and I don't skimp on the filling) ...

... and a curry (quick and lovely recipe here) or similar for me for that night.  Lots more ideas throughout this blog and in my book, The Leftovers Handbook ~ see tab.

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!

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. 

Pin It!


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.