Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Chicken Multi-Day Cooking
When I was in the Safeway the other day, they had giant chickens on sale. So, even though I had just done a Multi-Day Beef Cook, it looked like time to do a Multi-Day Chicken Cook. Lady Ozma calls this "A Week of Chicken."
So, first the chicken--very basic roasted chicken but it's huge! Right? Bake your giant chicken with something citrussy inside of it and some gentle herbs and seasonings on the skin. I used sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic. I didn't use extra fat because I am weight watchering. Bake that baby and serve it up to your family. Use the drippings to make some gravy. Since we are a family of three (who eat), this meant that we ate one wing, one drumstick, and one breast, leaving a great deal of meat left for more food.
Now, for making your one chicken into Many Days of eating!
Dismantling your chicken
Cut off any remaining limbs (oh that sounds bad!), cutting off the wings and legs. Pull off the remaining white meat -- you should be able to get the breast off in one or two pieces. The dark meat may be more difficult but do your best to pick the carcass mostly clean. Store the white and dark meat separately, and plan to send your loved one off to work the next day with a chicken leg in his lunch box :)
It's important that you make the broth before you make additional items because you will need it for your other dishes.
Take your very ugly looking chicken carcass and any extra skin that might be hanging around it, and stick it in the biggest pot you own within reason. I use a pasta pot. Add to that a couple of carrots, cut in half, the leaves off of the celery that you have in the fridge (that's what they're for!), an onion cut in quarters, a couple of tablespoons of peppercorns, 5-6 cloves of garlic, some bay leaves, any poultry-like herbs that you have lying around (sage/parsley/thyme are great. Scarborough Fair was actually a song about making a chicken), and cover the whole thing with water. Set that puppy to high and boil it for an hour, then turn it down to medium and simmer it for 3 or more hours.
Strain all of it and toss away everything you strained out. Really. Don't think about the chicken bits that you see that just got boiled for 4 hours. Not worth it.
Now you have Broth! But what to do with it? Well, first. Put it in the fridge. The next day, you'll see a congealed layer of fat on top. Just scoop it off and throw it away. Or not. The fat will make it taste better, because that's what fat does, but if you take it off your broth is zero points/free food on just about any diet.
Chicken Pot Pie
Now you're ready to make Chicken Pot Pie.
This is the Chicken Pot Pie that I have made in the past and you can certainly use that recipe. Of course, the chicken broth that you are going to use for that recipe will be from the batch you just made. Today I had some left over gravy that I made for the initial chicken dish, so I incorporated that as well. Awesome and DONE!
Now, if your chicken was the size mine was, and your family is the size mine is, you still have plenty of white meat left. Use it to make chicken salad!
Now, I happen to like dark meat, and we still have a bunch left, plus all that broth, so let's make soup!
Before you make your soup, check how much broth you have. If it's a ton, which it probably is, pour it by 1-cup measures into some ziploc bags, double bag (put multiple single bag portions into a larger bag), and freeze. It will work great for additional recipes and will be available to you one cup at a time.
Here's my chicken soup recipe:
Cook up some diced onions, celery, and carrots, and maybe a little minced garlic in some cooking spray and add salt and pepper to the mix. When the onion gets a little soft, add about a cup of white wine if you have it. Let that cook for a couple of minutes and add your chicken broth. If you have one, cut up a tomato and throw that in as well, and if you like you can put in a small bag of frozen spinach, which will make it healthier and just as tasty. You can also add a box of mushrooms for something different. When it's just about done, throw in your shredded chicken (white or dark meat is fine) and Eat! It's delicious!
If you have ANY chicken left over after all of that, for the love of all that is holy, put it into a quesadilla or enchilada and freeze it because you've had too much chicken this week and need to diversify!