Getting the most out of your chicken.

Today was the first pickup for our pastured meat chickens. Hopefully, we will have a podcast out soon with details on the day, but I wanted to share a post for our customers who have one or a couple tasty chickens in their freezer and may not know exactly what to do with a whole chicken (or for others who maybe want to spice up their dinner routine!).

It’s a reality these days that a whole chicken is a daunting task in the kitchen. We have become used to the convenience of packaged, parceled out chicken. And that can be great! However, it is also costly for families, especially if you are looking for humanely raised, pastured, or organic chicken!  So I thought I would share my routine and a couple recipes that we have come to love!

My routine:  I usually use one of the whole chicken recipes listed below. Sometimes I venture out and try something different, and I included some of those ideas as well. If you stick to the basic recipes (or even Jamie’s Chicken in Milk recipe), depending on the group you are feeding, you might have some chicken meat leftover to use in another meal! If so, I shred/chop it up and freeze in 2 cup portions. This is the time to dig deep into the chicken. There is some great meat in the neck/backbone area and let’s be real, you want to get every piece of meat when you are paying good money for top quality pastured chicken! Just like your store bought rotisserie chicken, this leftover meat can be used for endless recipes (also listed below).

After cooking and picking off all the meat, I usually stick all the leftover bones and carcass, plus the neck and feet, into a freezer bag until I’m ready to make stock. So stay tuned, I am going to put up a post later this week about how I make yummy and super-useful stock and some more resources for that!

If you don’t want to use the whole chicken because your favorite recipe calls for leg quarters or bone-in breasts or whatever, here are two tutorials for breaking down and cutting up your chicken that have been helpful:

Alton Brown on Good Eats.

Melissa Clark from NYT.

Recipes

Basic Whole Chicken

Something a little different:

Leftover Chicken Meat Meal Ideas:

  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Chicken tacos (for a different taco recipe try this chicken tinga recipe)
  • Soup – Chicken Tortilla, chicken n dumplings, or the “throw everything in your fridge that’s about to go bad and add chicken” soup are a couple favorites!
  • Chicken “pockets” – Like a calzone, kinda. I use this yogurt dough and stuff it with endless things. Mediterranean (artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, feta, chicken), Spinach artichoke chicken, Indian Samosas (potatoes, peas, carrots, chicken, curry powder), etc.
  • Chicken salad – We don’t do a lot of chicken salad. It’s just not our thing, but some people love it, and leftover shredded chicken meat is ideal. One day, I’d love to try this recipe for Apricot Basil Chicken Salad.

We’d love to hear some of your favorite chicken recipes! And for our customers, we can’t wait to hear how our chicken turned out in your kitchen!

 

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