Chicken stock

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Re: Chicken stock
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2009, 16:56 »

Only recently started using whole chickens as we have had chicken breast for about 25 years.  I remember one day when the kids were small working out that it was cheaper and more meat on a breast than a whole chicken. 

A couple of months ago my daughter cooked us a whole chicken I was amazed by how much meat was on it, and since trying myself there was enough meat on my chickens to use instead of breast.  They must have started plumping the chickens up a bit in the past 20 years.  I used to be hard up so I must of had a good reason.  Chicken breast used to be reasonable price but its shot up nowdays.

My dear old Mum grew up during the war and her Mum taught her to get the maximum out of a piece of meat, which she passed on to me. Their family of six could make a medium-sized shin of beef provide three meals - a roast, a cottage pie a couple of days later, and cold meat for suppers and sandwiches. And then there was the dripping, for bread and dripping.

Mum's shown me how you can do the same with a chicken.

A good-size whole chicken can be a really economical meal provider. Even better if you're cooking for just one or two. I'm single and can often get five meals plus a couple of litres of stock out of one chicken.

I like to buy a whole, good quality chicken and roast it first. This provides a lovely roasted chicken breast (and maybe a few bits of darker meat) to have withthe classic roast spuds etc on a  Sunday.

Then, when the chickens cooled, pick of as much of the really good meat as you can - there'll be another whole breast, thighs, drumsticks etc. If you can resist the temptation to stuff it down your gob as you pick it  ;) the meat you get from this can be frozen, or keep for a couple of days and easily stretch to two more meals - perhaps a pie and a risotto.

Finally, as detailed above, boil the carcass for stock - but don't throw the carcass away. Let it cool completely and you should be able to tear it up and pick another good handful of meat off all the hard-to-reach places, which I always find is more than enough to either make two or three chicken pasties or something similar, or to put back in some of the stock with some vegetables etc to make a chicken soup.

Using this method, paying that bit extra for a free range or even organic chicken isn't a false economy - not only will you get a much better flavour, but you could get the basis of five or six meals from a 10 bird. Not bad economics when you think about it.
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Re: Chicken stock
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2009, 17:02 »
Brilliant post smudgeboy.  Buying a whole chicken makes much more economic sense.  If you don't want to roast a whole one then learn how to cut it into portions.  A quick search of youtube will probably find something along those lines.
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