Posted by: Rachael | February 27, 2008

chicken nibbles

roast chicken * broad bean * avocado salad
(apologies to anyone who read this at intricate simplicity, but I can’t bear the thought of making up something new to write about chicken stock!)
Once upon a time I only ever bought chicken breasts. One would feed two of us two nights. What could be wrong with that?
Then I met Kate who cooked WHOLE CHICKENS. It seemed so grown-up. I recalled something about my sister enjoying pulling out the insides when we were kids. I hadn’t liked it then. And I still didn’t share her fascination now.
So I stuck to chicken breasts.
But somewhere along the way a mixture of having more mouths to feed and a growing awareness that buying only one part of a chicken meant there was probably great waste somewhere in the process made me review my aversion to chicken insides. Plus, I had one daughter and one son who took after their aunty, so they clean out the chickens round here.

If she had asked me ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer, but this afternoon a friend enquired, “What can I do with a chicken?”

I often roast a chook with veges. That’s one easy meal for eleven people from a number fourteen bird. Sure, you don’t get mountains of meat, but if you pile up the plate with lots of roasted vegetables and salad first, there’s not room for a lot of meat – it just perches on top of the lettuce!
But it’s not the end of the chicken’s story. If you have few enough people eating, you can reserve some of the meat for another night. Pay attention now: if you want to do this, you need to whip it away BEFORE serving your dinner guests. This is an important point;-) Do not put any meat you intend to use another night on the dining room table. Don’t even leave it in line of sight on the kitchen bench! It will not last.
But, in all reality, I don’t often put any meat aside these days – we just make two stocks from the carcass. Two? Yeah. Why not? Especially if you add chicken necks or feet – they make it particularly flavour-full and nutritious, but I’m finding more and more that people who are used to their food coming out of a box or tin, feel a bit squeamish about chicken extremities. Pity. They make good stock.

So roast chook one night.
Chicken-stock-based-soup another night (usually with fresh bread and dessert that gets cooked in the oven at the same time).
And then a third night we have something that uses a small amount of chicken stock (the second stock is always a mere token)… mushroom sauce on homemade pasta OR risotto OR vegetable bake (layers of veges thinly sliced with chicken stock and tinned tomatoes poured over – bake until cooked)……

If you have reserved some of the meat for another almost-vegetarian-but-there’s-some-chicken-in-it-so-it’s-not-technically-vegetarian meal, you could do stirfried chicken rice OR fritatta OR chicken-n-vege pie OR chicken curry (do lots of spicy sauce and noone will notice you’ve stretched the chicken with potatoes!) OR chicken-n-corn fritters OR chicken laksa (if you’ve made a stock) OR chicken-n-beans OR chicken-pumpkin-silverbeet-and-feta lasagne.


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