It’s been a busy week, so luckily I’ve been able to get by eating leftovers. I had to roast my chicken tonight, though, or else it would’ve gone bad and I wouldn’t have been able to make broth for other meals!
I’m pretty new to this buying –a-whole-chicken-and-stretching –it sort of thing. My years of vegetarianism have given me an aversion to raw meat that I just can’t shake. Nonetheless, I stand by the frugality and superior nutrition of buying a whole chicken and making homemade broth. It is so much cheaper than buying boneless, skinless breasts and cartons of “broth” – especially since the stuff they’re calling broth is really full of chemicals and additives. Yes, even the organic, free-range stuff is – just check out the ingredient list for the stuff I used to buy a 12-pack of at Costco. Also, once you taste real broth, the boxed stuff will smell strange to you. Or worse – it won’t smell like food at all. I speak from personal experience here. J
First, here is how I roast chicken:
After rinsing and drying the whole chicken, take the giblet pack out of the cavity. Eew! I really have to talk myself through these first few steps! Inside the cavity, I stuff in some chopped carrots, celery, onion, and rosemary. Garlic would be good, too, but today I forgot. Then I squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the cavity, and lay the bird down into the roasting pan. Add olive oil and some water to the roasting pan – not too much, you don’t want to boil or steam it – then add some chopped potatoes and more chopped carrots to the pan. Top it all with generous sprinklings of your favorite poultry spices – I used salt, pepper, sage, marjoram, and thyme – and cook it in a 375 degree oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Here is a picture of the whole set-up before being cooked:
Then take off the lid and let it brown and crispify (I just made up that word) to your liking. Not too long, of course, since you don’t want to be left with a dry bird. Here is where I’m supposed to insert an after cooking picture, but somehow that one is not showing up on the memory card. So you’ll have to use your imagination. It did taste pretty yummy, though, and I think my dinner guests would affirm. Let’s just see if she leaves a comment…
After a lovely roasted chicken dinner, collect all the bones and other inedibles and throw them into a slow cooker. You’ll probably have some good chicken leftover, too, so just remove all of it from the bones and store accordingly. I’ve planned this week’s meals around the leftovers, but I should still have a whole meal portion left even after that (I typically get about four meals out of a whole chicken) that will go in the freezer or get made into chicken salad for lunch. I’m not much of a chicken eater (go figure!), so I’ll probably just freeze it.
After all the bones are in the crock pot, fill it with water and turn it onto the high setting until it starts to boil. Then turn it down to low and let it go overnight. In the morning, turn it off and let it cool first to room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator to solidify the fat. The fat can then be skimmed off and used in cooking or simply discarded. I go with option number two. Divide the broth into whatever portions fit your needs – for me, it’s about two cups – and freeze for future use. Unless you will be using them within a few days, like I will with the Chicken Tortilla Soup I’m making tomorrow.
I paid $4.60 for this chicken from Whole Foods – they had a special last week where it was 99 cents/pound. Four meals’ worth of chicken and four meal-sized servings of bone broth is an awesome value for this price! It was a great value even when I paid $15 for my local chicken, so there is no way I can go back to buying chicken and broth the old way. Now I just have to get a certain friend of mine to start raising chickens…