As I mentioned in my meal plan post, I roast one chicken per month. That is about all the meat we eat. So I have to stretch it out. I’m going to give you the recipe I use for roasting– the easiest thing of all time– and show you how to use the chicken for 5 or 6 meals (for 2 people). (If you want to roast a chicken tomorrow and make some chicken and dumplings for a decadent Valentine’s Day dinner, I promise your husband, wife, whoever, etc. will not even know what to do they will be so happy.)
First of all, the most glorious way to roast a chicken can be found here. What you need: organic chicken, sea salt, and pepper. Three ingredients. It’s really, truly worth it to buy an organic chicken, especially when you are going to stretch it out for so many meals. You really want the flavor to be there. Anyway, check out that recipe for a roast chicken, and roast it. The sound of the chicken crackling in the oven, and the indescribable scent wafting out of it, will absolutely fill you with joy. There is nothing like it. (I’ve done the whole thing with garlic, lemons, and all that fuss, but I honestly like this simple recipe the best.)
Secondly, if your chicken came with giblets (neck, liver, heart, kidneys, etc.), and I hope it did, you get to make gravy. And your husband/wife will fall in love with you all over again if you make him/her some real gravy from an organic chicken giblets. Here’s a recipe, but don’t worry about the carrots, that’s weird and unnecessary.
Thirdly, you can make some stock with the bones. What you want to do is remove all the meat from the chicken and set it aside, freeze it for later meals, etc. Throw the fat and the bones in a big stock pot and cover with cold water. Add about 1/4 c. raw apple cider vinegar and a couple of roughly chopped onions, carrots, garlic, etc. (I keep onion and garlic skins, old but not rotten vegetable pieces, etc. in a ziplock bag in the freezer and add those to the stock). Let that sit for about 1 hour. Then bring to a boil, skim off any foam on the top, and simmer all day, or as long as you have time for. In the last 10 minutes, add some parsley if you have some. You can really cook it down so you have some concentrated liquid, like liquid bouillon cubes, and freeze in small quantities. Chicken broth contains gelatin, which is awesome for you. (See here for a more precise recipe). This should make enough for 3-4 soups.
5 Meals to Make with your Chicken, Gravy, and Stock
1. Roasted chicken with giblet gravy (see links above for recipes)
3. French onion soup with chicken broth instead of beef broth (I used my chicken gravy instead of the broth, and I cooked the onion in bacon grease instead of butter, so… There’s room to play around. Also, John is not really the kind of person to love the idea of onions made into a soup– he doesn’t like soup, to start with– but he LOVED this.)
4. Chicken tortilla soup— use some of your stock and remaining meat for delicious chicken tortilla soup
So that’s 5 meals (at least– you still might have some chicken stock left, in which case you can make some more soup!) from 1 chicken. Enjoy!!