Whole Roast Chicken: 3 Meals in One May 19, 2018 – Posted in: How to, Recipes
Busy week ahead? Have a game plan for dinner. Below are three simple dishes you can mix and match with various veggies and grains you already have in your pantry.
We’re not talking about eating the same leftovers for five days straight. This is a practical alternative to multiple nights of weeknight prep. Thank us later.
One 2-3 pound chicken*
5-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
Freshly ground pepper
*Note: You can buy a bigger chicken but keep in mind the cook time will increase.
Meal Number One: Whole Roast Chicken
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Dry chicken inside and out with paper towels (you are welcome to rinse your chicken, but a good quality bird doesn’t need to be rinsed). A dry chicken creates dry heat and helps to crisp up the skin.
- Place the thyme inside of the chicken cavity. Cut the lemon into slices and place them inside the cavity.
- Salt and pepper the cavity and entire bird on all sides.
- Place chicken in baking pan or dish, breasts up.
- Now you’re going to “truss” the bird: use butcher’s twine to tie the legs (or drumsticks) over the top of the breasts and tuck the wings into the body. This helps the chicken cook evenly and quickly as it prevents internal heat from escaping.
- Roast your chicken until it reaches 165ºF, using a meat thermometer to test between the thigh joint or in the breast to be safe, about 50-60 minutes. It should be golden brown with a crispy skin. If it happens to not be crispy you can turn your oven up to 500ºF and cook for 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or it will dry out. Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then place it on a cutting board.
- Remove the twine and debone the chicken, removing the thighs, wings, breasts, and drumsticks.
Roast two birds to make sure you have enough leftovers (if you have more than four hungry adults, we recommend it), and throw in your favorite vegetables underneath–potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions work best. Keep in mind roasting two chickens will require more time in the oven.
Create your favorite flavor combinations:
- Sweet and herbal – switch the lemon for orange and sub rosemary for thyme.
- Warm and spicy – rub chicken down with ground cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, and cumin before roasting.
- Throw some onions and whole garlic cloves in the cavity to strengthen flavor.
Meal Number Two: Leftover Chicken
After your dinner, grab a fork and scrape off all the meat around the bones you missed. You’ll be surprised at how much food you can salvage. Don’t throw away the bones.
Whole pieces: We love whole, juicy pieces with a grainy mustard or parmesan pesto. Serve it with garlicky wilted greens, a cheesy risotto, buttery potatoes, sweet roasted carrots, or a fresh salad for something quick.
Shredded: Throw it in a taco with some salsa (or hello, nachos), mix it with mayo and celery for a chicken salad sandwich, whip up some Asian lettuce wraps, or toss into your salad for lunch. You can also season with olive oil and eat every last morsel when no one is looking…
Meal Number Three: Chicken Stock
Discard as much of the ligaments and fatty skins as you can from the bones. Take all of the chicken bones and place them into a giant stock pot or crock pot.
- Fill the pot with water and add a few pinches of salt, whole black peppercorns, and any vegetable scraps you have lying around (celery, carrot peels, and onion skins) .
- Bring the liquid up to a slow boil, then turn the heat down to low. Slowly simmer for 6-8 hours, depending on your method. The longer, the better.
- Once it’s done, strain, let cool, and place into heavy-duty plastic bags or sealed containers to freeze for later use.
And now you have spectacularly flavorful chicken stock ready for use. Soups will be made brighter, and your stews will impress anyone who comes over for dinner. You can also drink it by itself for a nutritional boost.