I am one of those people who never minds paying full price for a good roasting chicken, and that is because, with all of my years of cooking experience, I have mastered the art of making my chicken pay for itself.
How do I do that you might well ask, and today I am going to show you how. Let me set the scenario.
You've cooked your Sunday Roast Chicken, fed it to the family, and have cleared up all of the dirty dishes and pans. You may even have stripped the carcass of all of the meat and are sitting there staring at the empty bones. You feel like throwing them away, and maybe you do, or maybe you carefully wrap them up and stick them in the refrigerator, where, just a few days later, you end up tipping them out because you failed to use them when you should have done.
To my way of thinking a good roast chicken is something which can give to you again and again and again. I always, ALWAYS get at least three meals from my roast chickens. It's just a matter of thrift, ingenuity, and planning.
I don't mind spending fifteen or twenty dollars on a good fat roasting chicken because I know that in the long run that chicken is going to help me feed four people at least three meals. Even at twenty dollars, that amounts to roughly six dollars and a few cents per meal. Probably even less than you will pay for a pound of hamburger.
Today my goal is to show you how to eke as much out of that Roast Chicken you thought was so expensive that you can. With only a few simple steps you, too, can make your chicken pay for itself!
STEP ONE - This begins right at the store. Buy the largest, fattest, best chicken that you can afford. I usually buy one that is at least 2 1/2 to 3 pounds in weight. I like free range chickens, because I think they taste better, and I like to support good animal husbandry. I will also buy an organic, or free-from (no anti-biotic) chicken, and air-chilled if I can.
STEP TWO - Roast your chicken using a reliable recipe that will give you optimum flavor, without drying out the bird. I can highly recommend any of my Roast Chicken Recipes. I know I am a bit biased, but, my goal here in the English Kitchen has always been share the best with you.
STEP THREE - Prepare plenty of sides to serve with your chicken. In my home it is usually potatoes or rice of some sort, and two to three vegetables. Sometimes I even roast the vegetables with the chicken. That way when it comes to serving up your chicken, you can be generous with the sides and serve smaller servings of the meat and nobody will feel that they have been cheated.
I can highly recommend the following sides:
Of course, you don't have to make all of your sides fancy. Plain steamed vegetables are always good, just don't be stingy with any of them. Let your family and or guests fill up on the vegetables, not the chicken. A good GRAVY also helps.
This way you can give each person a reasonable serving of the roast chicken without going over the top. Aim to eat only half of the chicken on the day you roast it and then you will have the remainder to use on another day.
STEP FOUR - When you are stripping your chicken after the meal, set aside a good amount to use for another meal, such as a casserole, salad or sandwiches, hot or cold, or even a pot pie. You don't need a lot of chicken to put in a pot pie and if you have been careful enough to make LOTS of gravy, your family won't even notice that their pot pie isn't loaded with chicken.
Don't strip the bones down until they are bare, leave some meat on them. I usually save the wings and then the whole carcass with a fair amount of meat on it to make soup. It's okay if you don't feel like making soup right away. Simply wrap the bones up tightly and freeze them for later on in the week.
Here are some really fabulous ways to use up some of that cooked chicken meat:
STEP FIVE - Use those bones and the carcass to make a delicious soup. It's not really hard to make a basic stock or delicious chicken soup and your family will always appreciate it. Even if you only use the bones to make a delicious stock and then freeze it, you have created the barebones of a fabulous risotto or a soup, and they will not have gone to waste.
Here are some of our favorite chicken soups:
There is a wonderful old saying that when you eat a pig you should eat everything but the squeal, I would like to switch that out to say when you eat a chicken you should eat everything but the cluck! I think that if you follow my tips and suggestions, you can feel proud that you have done just that, using up every scrap of the yard bird and in the most delicious ways! Effectively, you have actually made your Roast Chicken pay for itself, and in these modern times when money is tight, don't we all need to be able to do this?
I'll be back tomorrow with something new!
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