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    MrsJenx's Avatar
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    Efficient use of a WHOLE chicken - need ideas!

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    I am really accustomed to purchasing boneless skinless chicken breasts, so I know how to cook them pretty efficiently. But starting in a few weeks, I'm going to be getting regular deliveries of whole chickens through the poulty CSA I just joined (eep!). So, I want to get the most for my money with the chicken and not just cut out the breasts - any ideas for cooking and enjoying whole chickens? I know a lot of people here on MDA seem to use the bones to make broth so I will try that, but I'm really interested in recipes that will use the whole bird, or good ideas for the leftover meat after I roast a whole chicken. I'm just cooking for two (myself and MrJenx).

    Thanks in advance for any ideas!

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    kimann79's Avatar
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    We eat a whole chicken once a week. The first night I roast it over a bed of onions, sweet potatoes and root veggies. There are four in my family but if there is any meat left over I save it for chicken soup or put it over salads. The next day I make stock out of the carcass and usually have enough for a nice big pot of soup. I usually get at least three meals out of each chicken.
    An easy way to cook the chicken is to stick it in the crock pot. The skin is nasty (which is a shame because nothing is better than crispy chicken skin) but the meat tastes terrific over salads (it's very moist and flavorful).

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    DashFire's Avatar
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    I just cooked three whole, organic, grass-fed chickens last night. It was my first time cooking whole chicken in months (just started primal last week). For me there are two keys to cooking - breast side down (will be a lot more moist) and uncovered the last hour so the skin gets crispy. Last night was the first time eating chicken skin in years and after getting over the "OMG, I'm eating skin" part, it was delicious. Being crispy and seasoned (salt, pepper, garlic powder, sage, rosemary) helped. Also I coat the chicken in butter, instead of oil before cooking.

    As for utilizing the whole bird, usually eat the breast and legs as whole meat servings, then just pull off with my hands whatever meat remains on the bones. Mix these pieces with some sauteed veggies for a meal later, then boil all the bones in water and strain for broth.

    Of course now I'm trying to figure out what to do with all the broth.
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    Whole chickens are launched via air cannons to test the integrity of windshields in the case of bird strikes for aircraft and trains.

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    My two favorite ways of cooking a whole chicken though are in a clay pot with some lemons, onions, and vegetables or smoked in the smoker after being brined. In fact, I'd go a step further and say I tend to brine the clay pot chickens as well. It helps keep them moist in the cooking process.

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    Search Mark's blog for "spatchcock" chicken. It's a great recipe and very easy. Basically a mix of spices rubbed onto an olive-oiled bird and grilled until skin is crispy.

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    Sandra in BC's Avatar
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    Depending on the size, my family of 2 adults and 2 kids can obliterate a whole roast chicken in one sitting. If its big enough, I can scrape enough scraps off to make lettuce wraps or tacos, or maybe one serving for on top of a BAS.

    Rub it with melted butter, sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and seasonings and roast uncovered at 375F for about an hour, or as long as it takes for the juices to run clear and the leg to wiggle freely. Even better, when you pull on the leg the bone will slip free of the flesh. Add a little water to the pan if it looks dry during the cooking time. When its done, cover it with foil and a couple of kitchen towels and let it rest at least 20-30 min so the juices are drawn back in. This is the key to a good roasted bird.

    Enjoy all the bits! Dark meat is the best. I feel bad for people raised thinking that boneless skinless breast are what chicken is supposed to taste like
    Sandra
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daemonized View Post
    Whole chickens are launched via air cannons to test the integrity of windshields in the case of bird strikes for aircraft and trains.
    win!

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    breadsauce's Avatar
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    I use one of these to cook my chickens

    Terracotta Chicken Bricks (Chickenbricks) for Sale

    Chicken in a Brick (with gravy) 101 Things Every Cook Should Cook

    Soak the brick for half an hour in cold water, then place the chicken in the brick (if you gently ease the skin away from the body over the breast, and smear about a tablespoon of soft butter under the skin it gives a fabulous moist roast and crisp skin), sprinkle with sea salt, put half an onion, half a lemon in the cavity, place lid on brick, put in cold oven and turn oven on at 180 C for 2 hours. The chicken will be cooked to perfection and there will be quite a lot of juice to make a gravy / sauce.

    If you want a crisper skin (I usually do) take the lid off for the last 20 minutes and drain off the juices into a pan or bowl, then replace chicken in oven.

    The flesh is wonderfully moist and is great for salads. I also like to fry a chopped onion in fat (chicken fat if any is left over), add chopped roast chicken to that through, add a tablespoon of chopped tarragon and enough thick cream to make a sauce. Heat through and serve - divine!

    The carcass and any skin can go into a slow cooker with the juice of a lemon, cover with water and cook 12 - 24 hours (after much experimentation, I find the stock gels best after about 12 / 15 hours - longer seems to reduce the set again).

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsJenx View Post
    I'm just cooking for two (myself and MrJenx).

    Thanks in advance for any ideas!
    I'd start with a roast that uses the two drumsticks (the WHOLE drumstick all the way back to the chicken). Then strip off all of the breast meat and skin and use it in a BAS (big-ass-salad) the next night. Then strip the rest of the meat shreads off the carcass and make stock with the bones. Turn the stock into soup with lots of veggies and the rest of the meat shreds.
    Last edited by magicmerl; 06-10-2012 at 02:02 AM.

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