The three stages are simple:
Roast, Leftovers, Stock.
By using all available parts of the chicken, we honor its death, nourish our bodies, and spend our money wisely.
Stage 1: the Roast
You will need:
~ 1 chicken, dead, pasture-raised or similar
~ good dark beer, local if you're lucky like me!
~ balsamic vinegar, organic
~ 2 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
~ black pepper
~ Real Salt
~ roasting pan
~ aluminum foil -or- fitted lid for roasting pan
First, get a chicken. This may be harder than it seems, especially if you care how it was raised and processed. I recommend farmers markets, direct buying from poultry farmers, or reputable natural foods stores that report their sources' living conditions. I got mine from a natural grocer with relatively high meat standards.
Preheat the oven to 350 F, prep your ingredients (no raw chicken juice all over!), check the chicken's chest cavity for giblets (there were none in mine), then pop open a beer.
Okay, I admit, my beer was partly to help me handle a dead bird in my kitchen, but it was mostly for the dark beer and balsamic glaze.
Now for the goodies! Use pre-prepped minced garlic, chopped fresh rosemary (mine was from my windowsill!), and cubed cold butter.
Slide the cubed butter under the chicken's skin, so there are weird cuboid lumps all over. Looks freaky, but ensures delicious crispy skin!
Then sprinkle the chicken all over with garlic, rosemary, salt, and black pepper.
Finally, cover the chicken with aluminum foil - try to leave a little gap between the chicken and the foil, since my chicken's skin stuck to the foil when it was too snugly wrapped.
Bake the chicken, covered, for 17 minutes per pound. For me, this was an hour.
Then, remove the foil/cover, and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. This gets it all nice and golden-crispy.
Remove from oven, cover it up again, and let sit for another 15 minutes.
Uncover, and revel in your roast chicken's glory!
My chicken carving skills, however, aren't so great. I wish I'd watched this video on how to carve a roast chicken first! The skin was delicious, though...
Oh hey - don't pour out the pan juices! Save them in a stock pot for stage 3, the stock.
stage 2: The leftovers
Anyway... Once you've finished your roast chicken meal, collect all the leftover small bits of chicken. If there are any bits of meat left on your or others' plates, retrieve them, then sit down and get intimate with the carcass.
Use your fingers to pick the bones clean while the chicken is still at room temperature, and collect all the meat in a container. Save those bones!
For my first act as Leftover Queen, I made a chicken rice and veggie wrap. I used spinach and green garlic from the farm, and home-grown tomatoes I canned last November:
stage 3: The stock
If you have onions, carrots, and celery, you can make a traditional mirepoix by softening these in some olive oil before adding your water and chicken parts.
I didn't have mirepoix ingredients, so... I simmered chopped garlic in the pan juices.
When the garlic had softened, I added the chicken carcass and enough water to cover the bones (and giblets, if you have them), then tossed in dehydrated green onions from last summer, leftover greens from the green garlic, and tons of salt & pepper.
Let the stock simmer for several hours to a day or two... depending on your mood and situation. A good rule of thumb is to taste the tiny chicken bits left on the bone, and when they don't taste like chicken anymore, your stock is done.
Now you have chicken stock! I poured mine into mason jars for fridge storage, and plan to skim off the fat once it has had a chance to settle and congeal.
One chicken, many meals. How do you make the most of your chicken?
P.S. I've been really tempted to make a 'why did the chicken cross the road' joke this whole time, but I've still never heard any good ones. If you can fix that for me, please leave a comment!
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Prairie Homestead, Real Food Forager, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Cooking Traditional Foods, Mind Body and Sole, Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Freaks, Live Renewed, GNOWFGLINS, Food Renegade, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Natural Mothers Network, and Healthy Home Economist!