KENTUCKY (3/26/13) - My all-time favorite way to roast a whole chicken is the Julia Child way. Disclaimer: It’s not low-fat, easy to make, nor a thirty-minute meal. But it makes the juiciest-tasting bird.
I like to roast a bird a la Julia Child at least once a month. I feel like I’ve evolved in the kitchen for some reason. I mean, it’s easy to roast a bird, but Julia Child knew what she was doing. And I like that.
After I wash, salt, truss, and then carefully baste the bird every fifteen minutes or so (see, I told you it wasn’t quick), I’m relaxed. Funny how that simple, nurturing, busy, task makes me chill, huh? I think about past vacations, plan future trips, and think about what I’ll make with the remaining chicken meat and carcass.
For instance, I know I’ll have at least two additional meals, other than the initial fresh-from-the-oven hot chicken meal. One of those meals will most definitely be soup.
Last Sunday I roasted a four-pounder.
Here’s what I did with the leftover’s.
Disclaimer: There are only two and a half of us, (Reagan, our wire-fox terrier is the half) so depending on the size of your family, you may want to roast more than one bird.
First meal. I roasted the bird with olive oil, butter, and salt. We pulled the hot, juicy breast meat from the bird with our fingers as we stood at the kitchen counter. Yes. Crispy, buttery, salt drenched skin and moist breast meat on a Sunday equals the best meal of the week.
Then next day I made a small amount of chicken salad with tarragon, walnuts, and white grapes. A little of this decadent, sweet salad goes a long way. And I didn’t find out until yesterday that Elvis doesn’t like tarragon after five years of making tarragon chicken salad. His reason for not sharing this tidbit? Something about not hurting my feelings. Ha. Marriage.
Several days later we wanted Mexican food. I found the easiest (and healthiest) Mexican-style meal is a grilled quesadilla. I planned to cook down the carcass for chicken stock, so when I was ready to make quesadillas, I removed the carcass from the fridge and then pulled some back meat and thigh meat from the carcass. I roasted fresh broccoli, added shredded Queso cheese, and served it with a tangy, spicy salsa. Viola. Meal number three.
Next up: chicken stock. I placed the almost bare carcass in a large stockpot and covered it with water. I added two cut carrots, celery leaves, a minced shallot, one bay leave, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, kosher salt, and black pepper. I covered it, brought the whole thing to a boil, reduced to low, vented the lid and let it simmer until I was ready to go to bed. Then I turned it off and left it on the stove until morning.
The next morning, I reheated the chicken stock (no sense throwing out the fat). After about thirty minutes, I removed the pot from the heat and strained the entire contents into a bowl. I picked apart the remainder of the carcass and reserved the tiny shreds of meat (about one cup) for another meal.
I skimmed the chicken broth, portioned it into sealable containers, and placed two cups in the fridge, the remainder in the freezer for future soup.
When I was ready to make Bolognese (some call it Sunday gravy), I used the shredded chicken bits in lieu of chicken livers and a half a cup of chicken broth. Meal number four.
That’s it. One bird. Four meals. And some stock.
I’m ready to roast another bird so I can dream about our next vacation to Italy, or maybe just down the road to Memphis to visit Graceland.
What meals do you make with your leftover chicken?
Maureen C. Berry
Freelance Writer and Blogger
Visit Maureen’s nationally renowned culinary website at www.cuisinebymaureen.com
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