Thursday, October 13, 2011

HOW to stretch a chicken into 20 meals

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 When Times Are Tough

by M.D. Creekmore on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 · 20 comments
Guest Post by Luddite Jean author of Caravan and Holiday Cookery
I had to grow up tough. Both my parents were alcoholics and by the age of eight or nine I was keeping house and cooking for the family, which grew to six by the time I was eleven.
Money was always in short supply and food shopping didn’t always happen, so I learnt to hide food for the bad times and I also learnt how to feed us on very little, supplementing our diet with wild food. Both traits have become very useful since I became a prepper.
This is my take on being frugal with a chicken – when I was young, chicken was an expensive meat and a rare treat so I used to make it last as long as possible.
Now chicken is much cheaper, lots of people buy a chicken – and then waste a lot of it. Here’s how to get at least 20 meals from one 4.5-5lb chicken. I’ve assumed that you are feeding 4 people at one sitting, so if you have more or less then use your own judgement. This is an exercise in frugality, not a collection of recipes.
Meals 1-4 – roast your chicken. Use the breast meat from one side and a drumstick to make a roast dinner for 4. Serve plenty of vegetables with your dinner. Save the trimmings from the vegetables and also the cooking liquor, and make plenty of vegetables for tomorrow’s dinner. Save any left overs from people’s plates. Save the remains of the roasting pan.
Meals 5-8 – use the breast meat from the other side to make a savoury chicken and vegetable pie, either shortcrust, flaky or suet crust pastry. Cook the vegetable trimmings (wash them first), any skin not eaten, any giblets, the juices from the roasting pan and yesterday’s leftovers in yesterday’s vegetable liquor to make a vegetable/chicken stock.
Meals 9-12 – use the remaining bits of meat, and some foraged greens/nuts to make a risotto. Put the rest of the carcase in the stock pot, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Don’t forget to add any leftovers to your stock pot.
Meals 13-16 – pick over the carcase for any remaining slivers of meat and set aside. Strain off the liquor, and add lentils, pearl barley and macedoine of vegetables. Simmer until cooked, then add back the bits of meat.Season to taste and you have a hearty main-course soup. Add the new vegetable trimmings and all leftovers to the remains of the carcase, cover with cold water and then bring to simmering point and cook again for 30 minutes or longer
Meals 17-20 – Strain off the gubbins from your stock, then use a fine filter to clear it slightly. Add shredded greens (nettle tops are good in spring) and seasoning. Add some ramen or instant noodles, then bring to a rolling boil and dribble in some beaten egg to make an egg-drop soup.
Note: if you start with a dish, rather than a roast dinner, you can get another 4 meals out of that chicken – for instance, a spicy chicken pasta bake with vegetables and chicken chow mein instead of the roast dinner.
The main thing you MUST do with your stock pot is to boil it every day for at least 30 mins to prevent it spoiling. In hot weather, I do it twice a day.

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