Thursday, January 10, 2013

Using a Whole Chicken

Whole Chicken ready for Roasting
When I got married over 8 years ago, bone-in chicken was foreign to me. I don't remember my mom ever using it very much. We usually had boneless skinless chicken.  At least that is what I remember having as I got older and started learning to cook. Now in my home you rarely see boneless skinless chicken it is bone-in all the way baby. Over the years I have become more accustomed to cooking and utilizing a whole chicken. I try very hard to get the most out of one little bird.  One chicken usually provides two to three meals for my family of five and costs me between $3 and $4. It is much more cost effective than using boneless skinless chicken and I think it is actually a lot tastier too!

One way that I prepare a whole chicken is just to roast it up in the oven. I clean the bird out well and then stuff it with some yummy aromatics that usually include celery stalks, carrots, a quartered onion, 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, and some fresh herbs from the garden ( parsley, basil, cilantro, etc.) I usually remove most of the skin from my chicken too, this just makes it a bit healthier, and I have never had a problem with dry chicken. I rub down the top with olive oil and then add some seasoning, whatever you like. I am a fan of sage, season salt, black pepper and thyme. But I change it up depending on my mood. Cover the whole thing with foil and pop it in a 350 degree oven for a couple of hours, depending on the size of the bird. Just check it with a meat thermometer, but don't cook it too long or it will get dry. It comes out delicious and yummy. We usually eat this chicken along with some roasted or mashed potatoes and some steamed carrots or cabbage. But we never eat the whole chicken so then I use the leftovers for another meal or sometimes two depending on what I make. In addition, the chicken carcass along with the juices and aromatics are further cooked down into stock to be canned, frozen, or made into soup. One of my favorite second dishes to make with this chicken is my mom's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. In the next couple of days, I will share my recipe for this tasty soup along with some other ideas for utilizing your leftover chicken. If you haven't ever tried using a whole chicken give it a try.

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