I made three different things (just so far!) from two whole chickens this week. Hold onto your hats, ’cause this is going to be a long post. First, I roasted the two chickens (which incidentally, I got for the awesome price of two for $0.79 a pound at Winco, which is less than $7 for five meals worth of meat and a ton of broth!). Then we ate roasted chicken and salad for dinner. After I put Clara to bed, I spent about half an hour shredding the rest of the chicken. I packed that up into four portions: one for chicken and rice soup and three for the freezer for chicken salad sandwiches and teriyaki chicken after Nancy is born. But, that’s not all! Finally, I used the chicken carcass (that is a crazily gross sounding word!) and made 16 cups of chicken broth (the equivalent of eight cans) for the freezer and for the above mentioned chicken and rice soup. Whew! I’m tired just reliving it. Things that I learned… 1) I need a new battery for my instant read thermometer and I hate the huge one that you can leave in the oven. I don’t think it works. 2) Your hands really can smell like chicken for hours. 3) I can’t sleep with the smell of chicken broth wafting up the stairs (not that I can sleep much with a baby squashing my bladder anyway), so next time I will start the broth in the morning. Recipes follow!!
Roasted Chicken (From The New Best Recipe)
Two whole chickens, with the innards taken out (don’t forget!)
1 C. salt (divided)
4 quarts cold water (divided)
4 T. melted butter
salt and pepper
1) Dissolve half a cup of salt in 2 quarts water in two different large pots. Submerge one chicken in each pot and allow to bathe for at least one hour, up to four.
2) Preheat oven with the roasting pan in it to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, brush chickens with melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the oven is preheated, put your chickens carefully in your roasting pan, wing side up. Prop them up with tin foil balls if neccessary.
3) Bake for 15 minutes, then flip to have the other wing up. Bake for 15 more minutes, then rotate chickens breast up, lose the tin foil balls, and raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake until a thermometer reads 170 in the thigh. This took about another hour for me, but the cookbook says only half an hour. You can never believe them.
4) Carve one chicken and eat dinner. After dinner, when everything has cooled, use your fingers to shred all the chicken meat. Make a huge pile ’cause it looks like you’ve accomplished something.
5) Freeze in two cup portions in Ziplock bags. Just take one out and thaw on the counter for about two hours, then add into any dish that calls for cooked chicken. I plan to make chicken salad with mayonnaise, banana peppers, celery, and green onions, and also teriyaki chicken with teriyaki sauce, frozen stir fry veggies, and brown rice.
Homemade Chicken Broth
One or two chicken carcasses
onion, chopped largely
carrots, chopped largely
celery, chopped largely
three cloves garlic
1 T. basil
1 T. oregano
Two bay leaves
1) Dump everything into your crockpot. Fill with as much water as you can get in there. The more water, the more broth you’ll end up with. Cook on low for at least five hours, or until you wake up at 4:00 am and have to turn it off before you can go back to sleep.
2) Allow to cool. Drain broth off into a very large bowl and throw away (or feed to the chickens… I only gave them the veggies, not the bones ’cause that seemed like cannibalism) the solids. Refrigerate.
3) Skim the fat off of the top of the broth. Ladle two cup portions into Ziplock bags (I like to put the bag into a large coffee mug with the top of the bag spread over the rim so that I don’t have to hold the bag open while trying not to slosh broth all over the counter). Freeze flat until solid, then move where ever they fit best.
Chicken and Rice Soup (adapted from A Year of Slowcooking)
8 cup of homemade chicken broth (see above)
1 cup of uncooked brown rice
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (see above)
1/2 a small sweet potato, chopped finely
1 onion, chopped finely
1 bell pepper, chopped finely,
handful of baby carrots, chopped
one cup frozen peas
1 T. basil
salt and pepper to taste after cooking
1) Dump everything into the crockpot. Cook on high for about five hours.
2) Taste to see if it needs salt. It will. Trust me. Anything you make with your homemade stock will need it. No doubt. Add some. It will still have a lot less sodium than the canned version.
3) Serve with Angel Biscuits (sooo yummy!).