Getting three (plus)days out of a chicken!

(part of feed your family for under €50)

I love a good roast Chicken! The smell gets me more than anything but I’ve always been squeamish about the whole pulling it apart and making a stock out of it..

There’s nothing to making a roast chicken, you just throw it in the oven for about 90 minutes and it’s done, but lately I’ve been getting more and more out of a roast chicken, I make gravy from the juices, a lemon chicken risotto with the leftovers andmy famous chicken & rice soup!

We all know how to roast a chicken, put it on a tray and just throw it in the oven for about 90 minutes, right? I’ll show you how you can make it to get the most out of it  and make it last for three days- from a €4 Chicken!!

I usually start by placing my free range chicken into a lasagne sized dish and melt about 1/2 cup of butter, brushing it all over the skin of the bird, chopping up a medium onion and placing it in the cavity, I then season the skin with salt, pepper, Thyme & Sage, it doesn’t have to be fresh herbs but they always work best. I turn the heat to 170°C and roast for about 90 minutes and juices run clear.
You don’t have to but if I’m making gravy for the dinner, I usually put about a cup of good quality, low sodium stock into the dish with the bird half way through the cooking and regularly baste the skin to keep the meat nice and moist, it also seems to absorb more natural flavour for the stock to use for gravy.

When time’s up, I get two carving forks and lift the chicken up, cavity facing down and let all the juices come out into the dish, placing the chicken onto a warm dish and covering it with foil to sit for a bit. To make gravy, I make a roux from about a tablesponn of butter and the same of flour on medium heat, stirring constantly, adding salt, pepper and parsley I then strain the suices through a sieve into the saucepan with the roux, whisking constantly until it boils, you’ll have fantastic gravy!

When the meal is over there is always some meat left over, whether it be leg, wing or breast meat, keep that aside for a lovely risotto or sandwiches, I prefer to make a lemon and chicken risotto the next day for dinner. (recipe to follow).

I find when you clean up after dinner, it’s best to get this bit out of the way so there’s no hassle, making your stock for a soup. I personally prefer chicken noodle/rice but you can use it to make the risotto, make a vegetable soup or add it to couscous… I love chicken and rice because it’s so comforting, nourishing and better than any vitamin pill ever! Making stock usually helps rid all the vegetables in the crisper that you want to use before they spoil and any vegetables you have with a roast that were left over.

To Make Home Made Stock
Clean and roughly chop celery, onions, carrots (peel but leave whole), garlic, fresh thyme, any other root vegetables you want to use up.. pop the chicken carcass in a big soup saucepan and cover with all the vegetables, the more you use, the more flavour. Fill it with water and boil for as long as you can, I often let it boil for an hour after dinner, let it sit overnight and simmer for 3+ hours on medium heat, covered. When you’re done, the whole bird will have come apart, bones will be clean of flesh and it will be a yummy cloudy broth. Strain the broth into another pot and sieve again to remove any skin or bones that might have fallen through. I keep the whole carrots that were in the stock and slice then put them in the broth with rice, thyme, sage, pepper and a little salt, my secret ingredient is Apple Cider Vinegar, add 1/2 cup to the broth and I don’t know what it does to it but it transforms it!
Dish that up with a spoonful of parmesan and you’ll love it!

Risotto Recipe
1 Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Pint Chicken Broth (fresh or low Sodium boullion, I use Marigold)
1 Small Glass of nice White Wine
Arborio/Risotto Rice 2 cups
Grated Parmesan
The Juice & Zest of 1 Lemon
Chicken meat (leftover from your roast?)
Olive Oil

Begin by finely chopping your onion and frying it with a generous pinch of salt (so it doesn’t brown) in some olive oil, cook for about 5 minutes and remove from the heat and cover for about 5 more to sweat.

Add your garlic, rice and keep stirring, add your glass of wine, stirring constantly, when you find the rice drying up, add a ladlefull of stock, and do this repeatedly, don’t put it all in at once, add your lemon juice, and zest. A risotto can get thick and stodgy very quickly, don’t overcook it or it will kill it and be so unpleasant to eat, you don’t want it like porridge, but to be able to still see the grains of rice and should still have a little bite to it..not mushy.
When you’re happy with the consistency, add some parmesan and your chicken and serve.

I don’t have any pictures right now but I will make this at the weekend and post a photo.

Please leave comments if you’ve used my guidelines,  tell me how you found them and your thoughts. 🙂


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