13 September 2010

Chicken, four ways

Every time I cook I try to produce something delicious, with no nasty additives, that gives me value for the money and time I put into it. Chicken is one of those things that can be cooked in a number of ways, it is excellent as a leftover, can be used on sandwiches and the bones can be boiled to make chicken stock - the basis of many a good soup. The chicken I had last week was a 2kg/4.5lb local bird. It cost $10 and made 4 meals for the two of us, plus 2 litres of chicken stock.

We love roast chicken, but last week I boiled the full chicken in a large stockpot, with the addition of an onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. When it was cooked, I had a very moist cooked chicken and two litres of good chicken stock; the kind that turns to jelly when it's cold. Delicious! I used a small amount of the stock for the sauce I made, the rest went in the freezer.

So, what did I do with the cooked chicken? I made a very nice tomato, pasta and chicken dish, enough for 2 meals for the two of us. The remaining chicken was wrapped tightly, and kept in the fridge. Two nights later we had chicken spring rolls, the night after that, chicken soup, using the final pieces of chicken, vegetables from the garden and the chicken stock.

  • Make a sauce using a chopped onion, garlic, celery, capsicums/peppers. Fry the vegetables together until they become transparent.
  • Add salt and pepper and whatever herbs you have on hand - either fresh or dried. Basil, parsley, chives, thyme, oregano or marjoram would all suit extremely well.
  • Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and stir in, cook it for a minute of so, making sure it doesn't burn.
  • Add a can of tomatoes, one ladle of chicken stock and stir in.
  • Cook pasta and add this to the sauce.
  • Finally, add chopped cooked chicken.
Boiling a chicken like this usually produces a moist chicken suitable for any number of dishes - including curry. The stock that results can also be used in a number of ways. The only limit is your imagination.

How do you cook chicken to get the maximum value from it?

This is the lemon butter ice cream I made last week. It's just a cup of lemon butter mixed with a cup of cream, then frozen. You can also use buttermilk or milk for a delicious treat. The ice cream is not too sweet and has a delicious tang.

Thank you for the wonderful and thought provoking comments you leave. I can't tell you how interested I am in your views. I don't have a lot of time during the day to respond to the comments but I read every one and am thankful you take the time to connect with me. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.



  1. Thanks for mentioning "good chicken stock; the kind that turns to jelly when it's cold". I read a blog last week in which the author just learned where gelatin comes from and was completely put off buy it, swearing to never let it into her home again.

    I understand that fruit flavored gelatin mixes are little more than sugar and flavorings, but that wasn't what was bothering her. It was the fact that the gelling properties came from animal parts.

    I mentioned the nutritional benefits of natural gelatin and meat broths and posted a link to Sally Fallon's website, but after seeing other comments there, I'm afraid it was basically ignored. :(

  2. I like to roast whole chicken and then make stock or soup from the bones and leftovers. The extra meat gets thrown in the freezer and I make chicken fried rice or chicken pot pie another night for dinner. The extra stock gets saved for another batch of quick chicken soup or flavoured rice.

    Thanks for this post. Fall is coming to us here in Ontario, Canada so it's almost soup time again. Mmmmmmmmm!!

  3. Annie, I was vegetarian for almost ten years and the reason I came back to meat was reading about natural gelatin and its health benefits in Nourishing Traditions. So I'm not ignoring you, I'm with you all the way.

    Morning super mom!

  4. A second roasting of the carcass can improve the flavours - try buying smoked ham ribs (for soup-making) but roast them before making the stock. It's only really viable if you have the oven up to temp for something else and stick them in the oven on the shelf below before making the stock, but does make a difference.

  5. Dear Rhonda,

    I wanted to take a moment and thank you for inspiring me to stockpile my pantry.

    Last year was a difficult year for the American pumpkin harvest. Right now there's not a single can of pumpkin on the shelves of my local grocery stores, but because of the stockpiling I began last year I have 8 cans of pumpkin available to for our family.

    My children thank you...they won't miss out on our fall tradition of baking pumkin bread.

    Have a wonderfilled week,

  6. We really like chicken soup here, too!
    With 4 of us, I usually manage to get 3 meals out of a large chicken. The breasts make one meal, the legs and thighs another, then soup/stock with the carcass.

    One of our favourite 'special' dishes is to thinly slice each chicken breast in half. Then we fold it into a piece of filo pastry with some garlic, mushrooms and herbs.

  7. I buy a 1.5kg to 2kg chicken, roast it stuffed with a good handful of herbs from my garden, a bit of lemon,some garlic and a little bit of butter, that serves 3-4 adults and 2 small children. The leftover meat gets refrigerated and finely chopped the next day to be put into a chicken, mushroom and silverbeet risotto which also feeds around the same amount of people.

  8. Hi Rhonda...

    Oh, I love chicken...to eat it, I mean :) :) :) That's interesting about boiling it..I didn't know you could do that. Do you have a recipe for boiled chicken? I'll have to research that online sometime!!!!

    Many of my friends will buy a whole rotisserie chicken from Costco or another store, especially if they don't feel like cooking. It really last a long time and makes quite a few meals!!!

    Oh, did I mention all the food you wrote about today is making me hungry? On that note, I will go find something yummy to eat :) :) :) I enjoy reading your blog posts Rhonda. They're always nice and very informative!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  9. Oh that icecream sounds delicious!

    I grow my own roosters and each one gives my family at least two meals and I always have leftover stock in the freezer for other uses.

    I think the best trick I learnt from Sally Fallon was acidifying your broth so it leaches out more minerals from the bones. So I always add a splash of wine or vinegar now.

  10. I have just recently learned that a splash of vinegar will help draw out the 'good stuff' when making stock. Not sure how this has escaped me for so long....

  11. I do the same as you and boil chicken with herbs to get a great stock, for soup then the chicken gets used in a main dish like pie or curry and the left over chicken gets used on school lunch sandwiches.
    I sometimes put the chicken (it doesn't have to be whole) in my double boiler with about a litre of water to steam it with. You get juicy steamed chicken and the stock left in the bottom pot can be frozen and used later.

    Thanks Rhonda for making me feel valued as a sahm, sometimes it's hard to justify why staying at home is best but each time i read your blog i know i'm doing the best thing possible.

  12. Ms Lottie and Infomomma, like you I add a splash of apple cider to our broths and stocks.

  13. My fave way for a chook is to roast with lots of vegies for dinner.

    Then use leftover chicken with leftover roast vegies the next day - chop chicken and vegies into smallish bits, microwave so warm, add chopped avocado and lettuce and dress with balsamic olive oil dressing and a bit of salt. Yummy warm salad.

    If there are still left overs I use them for packed lunch sandwiches.

    Then make stock with the remains.

    Thanks Rhonda for your wonderful blog, you inspire me daily, and there have been many changes around our house due to your influence. But, you know, I think what inspires me the most is that you follow your heart, think things through and are not afraid to make big life changes. :)


  14. This is really timely, Rhonda - I have a container of bones in the fridge to cook today! When we cook chicken (freerange), I will usually roast it in the oven for a roast dinner that night. The next day we'll have any leftover meat and gravy with fresh vegetables or make individual pies out of them (puff pastry in the pie maker - easy), then I'll save any leftovers/bones and the next day or so, place them all in the slow cooker for about 8-10 hours on low, along with carrot, celery, onion, bay, peppercorns etc. Left to simmer all day it produces a most flavoursome stock that makes a delicious (chicken noodle usually!) soup. If I want to make a big batch of soup, sometimes I'll freeze the bones to use another day. After watching a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall series about chicken farming a while ago, I always buy free-range now and try and make the chicken give us as many meals as possible so that it's life has not been 'lived' in vain.

    I just wanted to say thanks for all of your great posts lately, I've been reading but haven't had much time to comment. So ThankYOU! :)

  15. The four of us can almost get through a roast chicken for dinner with just leftovers for lunch sandwiches the next day. The bones and carcass make a lovely stock Rhonda in "Real Food" Matthew Evans mentions the gelatin in the section on chicken.

    The ice-cream suggestion looks yummy, I'll try that this week. Thanks.

  16. I buy whole free range chooks and I slow cook mine with about 2L of liquid, and do as you say.
    We like our chicken in quiches and also on pizza. :) And the stock rocks!

  17. Hi Rhonda, Thank you for your blog, I read it every morning to get me reved up for the day (its so inspiring). I was wondering if you could tell us how to make chicken stock, and also what is lemon butter, I would love to make your ice cream.

  18. I have never been brave enough to boil a chicken - but then I don't usually buy a whole one. Will have to give it a go though as it sounds delicious!
    The icecream sounds good too!
    Have a great day

  19. Fall is just around the corner here in Texas, so will be cooking up my own chickens for stock and soup etc. I put onion, celery, and a bay leaf in with the chicken to cook to make broth. Making my mouth water just writing about it.
    What is lemon butter? I have not heard of it before. That ice cream looks so good.

    Thank you so much for your informative posts. I have not caught up with all your back posts yet, but I will when cold weather sets in.


  20. How do you wrap a chicken without using plastic? I'm having a hard time letting go of plastic wrap.

  21. Cottonlady, lemon butter is a jam-like concoction of lemons, eggs and butter. You eat it on toast, bread, scones, or as a filling in tarts.

    Rebekka, I used alfoil.

  22. Hi Rhonda, I made quite a few jars of lemon butter and would love to make this ice cream. Could you please tell me if you whipped the cream first, or if you stirred or beat the ingredients.



  23. I too love to roast a chicken, then we have the left overs for sandwiches or homemade pizza. Then I pop the chicken into the slow cooker the next day and make chicken and sweetcorn soup its yummy. Thank you for all your great posts Rhonda. I have managed to built up quite a few excellent recipes thanks to yourself.
    You are one inspiring woman

  24. Oh, Yum!!! I love the sound of that lemon butter icecream.

  25. I can usually get three meals out of a whole chicken for the four of us (Mom and three boys, two of whom are teenagers and eat like horses). I usually roast it the first night, make chicken a la king or chicken pie the second night, and then boil the bones for soup on the third night with which I always make homemade bread or biscuits. A whole chicken is one of the most economical meats I've found. :)

    That pasta recipe looks great. I'm going to try it soon. Thanks Rhonda.

  26. Working full-time these are the kinds of meals I rely on. Cook up something that will provide a few meals in different forms and then making homemade meals after working all day does not seem so daunting.

    I made chicken soup and stock recently and canned it for use this winter, now when I am in a rush or feeling a little under the weather I still have a homemade meal to serve.

    It is so good to read of others trying to live the same way. I am inspired by your posts and in the comments your readers make, thank you.


  27. What perfect timing! I bought a whole chicken and it's been sitting in my fridge, waiting for me to decide what to do with it. Boiling it sounds like a great idea - you only have to cook it once to get meat and the broth; genius! I'm off to cook my chicken; I'm sure the results will be superb!

  28. Three cheers for *real* chicken stock! Thank you for bringing this up- it is an important health staple, especially when the flu season hits.
    As of this morning, I put 4 chicken breast and leg joints in my large slow cooker with water to cover, some fresh sage from my garden, broccoli flowerettes, and a pinch of sea salt. I'll scoop out the cooked chicken and broccoli later- saving it for a chicken/broccoli cheese casserole.
    Tonight we will be having chicken soup with rice instead of pasta, seeing as flu season is here. The rest of the stock will go in the freezer.
    We bought lemons this week because I told my DH we simply had to try your lemon butter and ice cream! It looks delicious. Do you think your recipe could be adapted to make lime butter? Hence- lime ice cream? Mmmmmm.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  29. Hello Kate dear, no whipping required, just mix the lemon butter and cream together, and freeze.

    Girl in the pink dress, it would be fine with lime, or orange, or grapefruit.

  30. I make chicken paprikas (pa'prikash) which is easy and everyone loves. I gave you the recipe long ago as an inexpensive recipe I think. You can chop up the left overs at some point and make Hotobagyi Palacsinta, a simple crepe with this for filling if you have leftovers. You can save the chicken fat (schmaltz)before you make the paprikas, in a bag in the freezer and use it for cooking fat at some point. It's delicious.

  31. Your photo of roselles, which we don't have here, made me think of posting about the European herb Sweet Cecily. The leaves and seeds are highly flavored with liquorish/anise flavor. It's a fairly invasive plant around here (ne Ohio USDA zone 5 for gardening) so grow it at the edge of something where mowing can control it. I've used the pretty leaves (like tiny fern fronds) on wedding cakes I make for relatives and have made liquor like kummel with the seeds and you can dry the leaves for tea and candy the seeds for something interesting to snack on or use in cake making.

  32. We also try to cook this way. I learned to make chicken this way from my hubby's grandma. She always boiled the chicken and then she would grill it quickly afterward. And with the stock she would make veggie soup with rice.

    Also, that's a great idea with the lemon butter icecream - it looks so yummy!


  33. This is exactly the way I prepare chicken on a regular basis so we can have lovely homemade chicken stock in our freezer to use in our meals. I shred the chicken and layer it between plastic freezer wrap in a large flat container. This goes into the freezer and is perfect to use for sandwiches, soups, omlettes, savoury muffins, pizza, stir frys, main meals - you name it! The most wonderful thing is I can use as little or as much as I want and I don't have to use it all straight away.

  34. hello, i live in europe belguim and one of the best chicken recepi for my son is this sorry for the mistakes i speak better englisch not writing you need 2old chickens en boil them in water whit oions carots leeks selerie pepper and salt garlic and laurier that is baieleave?if the chicken is soft you put the skin en bones away for soup later and in a part of the stock you boil 1/2kg littele meat boils from veal en also muschrooms in slices than you make white the stock a bechamelsaus ad at the end some creme an a bit of fresch lemon juice than ad chicken and muschrooms en meatboils serve in litte pasterie (same like quiche)and whit mashed patotoes and a green salade ...greetings from jezebelle out of Bruges B


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