Food Stretch Friday: Whole Chicken
Now that we're in restful cozy cooking season, its time to launch a new project: Food Stretch Friday. For this week, we start with the humble chicken.
Chicken truly goes the extra mile in versatility. Nearly every part of the bird has a useful application, but in order to keep things short and simple, here's our usual whole chicken routine.
Night one: Dinner consists of roasted whole chicken, herbed and seasoned. The bird is served with rice, vegetables, and gravy made from the pan drippings.
Night two: All remaining meat is handpicked from the bones and used in either chicken salad with homemade sourdough crackers, chicken and dumplings, or chicken tacos. Depends on the mood!
Day three: the bones, meat tidbits, skin, etc are put in a large pot or roaster with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper, covered in water, and left to simmer the entire day until dinner, when the stock is strained and used as a base for soup. It doesn't have to be chicken soup, any soup benefits from the rich flavor. If you're not feeling soup tonight, you can also use the stock to replace the liquid to cook rice in. If there is an excess of stock, it can be canned (pressure can ONLY, do not water bath), or frozen for later use.
Day 2 & 3 can be combined, making chicken noodle soup from the leftover meat and broth from the bones.
The bones of the chicken can be boiled a second time after the first straining. Save only the bones from the first round of stock, not the spent vegetables.