One Chicken: Many Dishes
Just how many dishes can you make from one chicken?
For me, food waste is a cardinal sin. And given I'm a student living on a pittance the food I do buy has to go a fair ways. So just how far can I make one chicken go? Well to find out I bought one chicken from a shop that begins with "T" and ends in "esco" and set to work.
You can't go far wrong with a roast chicken. As a dish it is about as British as Bovril, Crumpets and Tea. And it seemed like a good starting place for my chicken. And given the abysmal kitchen I'm currently living with my chicken was actually going to be slow cooked because I really don't trust the little combination oven in my flat. So here we go!
- One Whole Chicken
- Three Knobs of Butter
- Dry Chopped Sage
- One Chopped Large Carrot
- One Chopped Large Brown Onion
- 125ml White Wine
- Chicken Gravy Granules
- One Large Potato
- Chop up the large onion and carrot and dump them in the bottom of the slow cooker pot and add in the white wine.
- Rub the chicken down with the butter, then salt liberally and apply the sage.
- Now manhandle that greased bird into the slow cooker pot, it might be a bit of a squeeze, and everything will end up covered in butter, you have been warned.
- Pop the lid on and set the cooker to high for 7 hours.
- Find something to do for 7 hours.
- Near the end of those 7 hours preheat an actual oven. Or in my case a disappointing combi abomination.
- Peel and finely chop the potato and put it in a pot of salted boiling water. Cook until soft.
- Once soft and everything else is ready, mash with a twist of salt and a good amount of butter.
- Or roast potatoes if you've got a proper oven and could do several dishes at once in it.
- Knock yourself out here.
Finishing The Chicken
- Pull the chicken out of the slow cooker and stick it on a roasting tray in the oven. This'll crisp up the skin nicely, and with the chicken out of the pot you can fish out the onions and carrot as a side.
- In the bottom of the pot you should have a load of juice. Mix this in a jug with the gravy granules, and add more granules and water as required to make the appropriate volume.
- Pull your now crispy chicken from the oven and carve.
- Plate up your potatoes and sides.
- Liberally apply gravy.
Quantities for the sides will vary depending on how many people you're aiming to serve. This set up left me with some carrot and onion left over, which we'll use shortly.
So there we go, one dish down, roast chicken, but we aren't done there yet. Queue gravy pour vid;
Probably would be better in slow mo...
So we've now got a whole slow cooked chicken, and I'll admit here to having eaten half of that chicken in one sitting. So what do we do with the remaining half a chicken? Well, there's some of the slow cooked veg, so soup?
- A small portion of leftover chicken.
- The left over vegetables from the slow cooker.
It's soup, there's not much to this.
- Dump the cooked veggies and some pickings of the soup and any left over gravy into a pan and bring to a gentle boil.
- Serve, preferably with bread and butter.
Add extra veggies to bulk this out. Potatoes thicken soups nicely.
I haven't tried this soup yet, I made it and immediately bunged it in the freezer, so when I try it I'll let you know what I think. Next up in this foodie experiment is trying to make stock. I've never done this before, so here follows a completely experimental, but decent recipe.
- Chicken Carcass
- All purpose vegetable seasoning (Vegeta, or similar)
Getting The Carcass
- Butcher the rest of the chicken, you want to be aiming to remove all the meat, from the bones. Given the chicken is cooked this should be quite easy. I the meat on the leg and wing for another meal, but pulling the breast off of bones and other smaller bits of meat is simple. Set the meat aside and safely store.
Making The Stock
- Dump all the bones, cartilage and all into a pot on the hob.
- Add in boiling water, salt and a little all purpose vegetable seasoning.
- Boil for about an hour.
- Pour into a jug, or something to store it in and leave to cool.
- Once cool, store in the fridge and enjoy liberally in dishes to give it a twist of flavour.
Before using I'd recommend stirring it vigorously to mix any of the fat that skims out back in.
There we go, a hugely versatile and practical ingredient. So now you've got stock we can make some more fun dishes. Its pasta time!
- One portion of cooked chicken
- One portion of pasta, ideally spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle
- Two large scoops of cream cheese
- One small chopped onion
- One portion of chopped mushrooms
- One portion of spinach
- One portion of broccoli
- Chopped dried oregano and basil
- Two chopped cloves of garlic
- Finely chop the onion and mushrooms, then drop them into a medium hot pan with a dash of olive oil. Once the onions are nearly done, reduce the heat and add in the garlic. Add it too soon, or on too high a heat and it'll burn and go bitter.
- Season at this point in time with a dash of salt and pepper, and a small twist of oregano.
- Once the garlic is softened, and the oil is cooked off, add in the cream cheese and keep the mixture moving.
- Add the spinach on top, and a dash of chicken stock, cover and leave the lid on to wilt down the spinach. Season a little more with the oregano and basil.
- Meanwhile add your pasta to a boiling pot of salted water. It should be about as salty as the sea. You can add in a dash of chicken stock too. The fat in the stock will reduce the foaming of the water, and it flavours the pasta ever so slightly.
- Boil off the broccoli and strain.
- Pull apart the chicken portion, and toss into the now creamy veg mix and stir in.
- Once the pasta is just undercooked, strain, and dump in with the rest of the mix, and stir well so the sauce adheres to the pasta.
- Serve and enjoy with a glass of white wine or a cold Peroni/Birra Moretti
This is written out to serve one and using ready cooked chicken. If you were to do this for more, use more ingredients. And if you were to use raw chicken, chunk it and fry it off with the onions at the start.
Heavenly even if I do say so myself!
So, that's four culinary creations from one chicken now, and at this point in time I'd pretty much exhausted my creativity, and do you really need me to write out the recipes for a chicken sandwich, or cold chicken, chips and salad? However I did get two sandwiches out of the remaining chicken, the leg and a wing with chips and salad made another meal. So in total that's 6 meals from one chicken, plus the stock which saw use in a variety of dishes, and given the chicken only cost me about £4.00, that's £0.66 per meal. So there you have it, some student economics and some crackin' recipes.