Wednesday, 8 March 2017

One Chicken, Six Meals

While this article isn’t for our vegan friends it is about helping those who wish to reduce their meat intake. More people are becoming aware that the way we produce and consume meat has a largely ill effect on the earth and our bodies; the vast quantities we consume, the suffering of animals and the environmental impact of raising animals for meat.

So if you’re moving towards eating less meat this article should help.  Also chickens have less environmental impact on our earth than other animals (see diagram).

Using one whole free range chicken this is what I did to make one bird feed our family (of four) for six days.

Remove the two breasts/chest area and place in a freezer container. No need for impressive knife skills, just do the best you can. Remove the wings, drumsticks and thighs (I like to separate the thighs from the drumsticks because there are more pieces to go around). Two batches of chicken ready for freezing and using later on in the week. 

Place the remaining body of the chicken in a large pot, stuff and onion into the cavity, and cover with water. Add some flavours if you like such as peppercorns, cloves, garlic and bay leaves and add salt to taste. Cook on a very low heat for at least three hours. 

When the chicken stock is done allow to cool before removing the body of the chicken and strain the liquid into glass bottles. This makes several (recycled) wine bottles of homemade chicken stock which you can freeze and use at your leisure.

Meal one: remove the bits of chicken from the bones that have been slowly cooked in the chicken stock and use in homemade backed beans. Tinned beans (strained) cooked in a 800g of crushed tomatoes with sautéed onion and the chicken pieces. 

Meal two: slow cooked chicken Italian style. Wings, drumsticks and thighs slow cooked in 800g of crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs and some home grown olives. Served with brown rice (or mashed potato if you prefer).

Meal three: use one bottle of chicken stock in a vegetable risotto. 

Meal four: the chicken breasts were cut into bite sized pieces and used in a yummy homemade butter chicken sauce, served on a bed of brown rice. 

Meal five: after eating the Italian style chicken (meal two) there was a fair amount of very flavoursome tomato sauce left over. This sauce can be poured over cooked pasta as a rich flavoured Napoli sauce. 

Meal six: using another bottle of chicken stock cook some macaroni and a large tin of beans, with added Italian herbs and make a delicious and hearty Minestrone.

These dishes are just an idea of how the whole chicken can be used in many different, economical ways and it takes me back to a time when families were frugal with food and used every bit to make food go a long way.
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