Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Chicken Who Fed The World!

Introducing Chooky #20. In her own words, "You might assume that I'm just an ordinary chook. Size #20, so not exactly skin and bone, but nothing out of the ordinary!  Well, you're wrong!  Just look what I can accomplish: Casserole, Soup, Pizza, Fried Rice, and delicious chicken stock.  I could feed the world, I tell you!  Feed the world!"

So Chooky #20 did have delusions of grandeur, but who was I to argue?!  Six meals from one chook.  Six delicious, soul warming, body sustaining meals.

Now, what follows may seem complicated.  It is long, I give you that.  But I felt that you might like to know the details of how Chooky #20 fed the world (aka, fed us!).  You do not need to be really organised. Honestly. You probably don’t want to eat 6 meals all at once that use chicken anyway, you’d probably get bored by meal number 3! You only need to be organised enough to cook, shred, and freeze that chicken! Then you can pick and choose what other chicken meals to make when you feel like it! I used Chook #20 last month, early August. I currently have a smaller one on the stove, stock simmering away.

How to make the most of a chicken?
Roast a chicken in the morning (this helps prevent you wanting to eat half of it in one dinner!). For a size 20, about 2hrs on medium heat (180degreesC). I filled mine with a small lemon, cut in half, and a small onion, peeled and quartered. I added some sprigs of rosemary and 2 clumps of garlic, topped and bottomed (later used in a roast sausage dish). I rubbed a bit of salt and olive oil over the skin and covered the lot with tinfoil. Nothing too fancy.

Once cooked, shred. Discard only the lemon and the skin/fat. Keep everything else. Bones and bits in one pile, shredded chicken in another. You can bag the chicken and freeze it, and even freeze the bones for using later in soup. 

Chooky #20 provided an estimated 6 cups of shredded chicken and 8 cups of chicken stock. The meal options from there are almost limitless!

Meal One
Chicken casserole, served over rice (Serves 6 adults minimum!!!!!)
Cut one onion (see it, on the floor in the photo?!). Saute in a little oil with half a teaspoon of salt and a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (optional – adds a tiny zing).
Add 2 medium carrots and 3 medium potatoes (or kumara/sweet potato), peeled and cubed and enough boiling water to just cover.
Add ½ a tin of pineapple pieces and all the juice (430g - optional – just adds more flavour – keep the other ½ of the pineapple for pizza later in the week!)
Add a tin of crushed tomatoes (400g)
Add 3 cups of shredded chicken
Keep simmering (lightly bubbling)
Once the potatoes are almost cooked, add 1 cup of frozen peas, 1 cup of frozen corn, and a tin of cannellini beans (400g, or your choice, but these have a very light flavour so are my preferred sort). Simmer for another 5minutes or so (just enough to heat them through).
Thicken with maize cornflour to suit.
Serve with rice or pasta and a salad if you want.

This would also go really well as pastry parcels, or as a pie! Great options if you want to have essentially the same meal tomorrow or the following night, but feel like it is different. You could make a gluten free version of pie by putting it in a casserole dish, and covering with mashed potato or kumara.
We froze two whole family meals for later in the month, as well as eating this for dinner.

Throw chicken carcass into large pot, cover with boiling water, add sprigs of fresh herbs (or a couple of teaspoons of mixed dried herbs if you don’t have any). Add a couple of bayleaves, some salt, pepper and some celery stalks/leaves and a peeled onion (the one from when you roasted the chicken perhaps) if you want.

Simmer all day long. Literally. If you have to go out, turn it off and then back on when you get in.
Strain through a sieve into containers once it has cooled a bit. Freeze or fridge for later!
I got 2 2/3 containers full, which is about 8 cups of stock. I later made 3 different meals with my stock.

Meal Two
Chicken Pizza (Serves 2 adults, 3 if you serve it with something like salad/potatoes/etc)
Make or buy a pizza base. I made a pizza base in my breadmaker.
Load it with yummy things. Cook. Enjoy!
Ours had tomato paste, tinned spaghetti, onion, pineapple, corn, chicken, cheese, pepper and parsley. We thought the chicken made it one of the yummiest pizza’s I’ve made. This is a fabulous quick meal with minimal preparation, and feels almost like having takeaways!

Meal Three
Salmon Risotto (Serves 4 adults - or 2 for dinner and 2 for lunch the next day!)
Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add 1 ½ cups of rice with small amount of oil to coat it (I just used our usual basmati rice instead of arborio). Gradually add 3 cups of chicken stock. Simmer gently (just bubbling) and stir every few minutes. Add a little boiling water if it starts to dry out too much before the rice is cooked. Once the rice looks cooked and the liquid is nearly absorbed add 1cup of defrosted frozen peas (I pour boiling water over them in a glass jug then drain), and some other veges of your choice (1-1 ½ cups – I used celery, spinach, parsley, and broccoli from the garden). Lastly add150g salmon cut into small pieces (this is one small slice of a fillet – not very much at al – I usually buy it when it is about $20/kg). When the salmon has all changed colour, add salt and pepper and a drizzle of lemon juice to taste.

For a really scrummy meal serve this dish sprinkled with parmesan cheese. You can freeze it, but it is best to leave out the greens and add them in when you reheat it as they go a bit mushy otherwise. You can make it with cubed carrot, frozen corn, or whatever veges you like.

Meal Four
Irish Chicken Soup (serves 4, with toast as a main meal, or have it as an entre)
Simmer in a pot:
1 cup shredded chicken
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups boiling water
2 medium carrots, cubed
2-3 medium potatoes (or kumara/sweet potato), cubed
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 leek (or spring onion, onion, shallot, chives, etc!), sliced
Salt and pepper

Once the potatoes are cooked, add:
½ cup peas
½ a lettuce, cabbage, or silverbeet, shredded

In a separate jug mix:
2 egg yolks
½ cup of plain, unsweetened yoghurt

Remove the soup from the heat. While stirring the yoghurt mix, gradually add an equal quantity of the hot soup liquid to it (this is to stop it curdling). Then gradually add the whole lot to the soup, stirring it in.

Note: it is this mixture that gives this soup a tangy, delicious taste that makes it different from other chicken soups. You don’t have to add it, but you won’t get Irish Chicken Soup if you don’t, just average chicken soup! 

Note: this recipe originally uses a chicken carcass. You can do it that way instead of using stock and meat, you just cook the carcass in 5 cups of boiling water for an hour, remove the carcass (keep any meat) then add the other ingredients.  This month we had Irish Chicken Soup.  I made stock, drained the stock, refilled the pot (complete with the chicken carcass and herbs still there) and cooked it for a few more hours before adding the other ingredients for the soup.  Delicious!

Meal Five
Fried Rice (serves 2-3 adults - Boyo hates mushrooms so this was one I got to have all to myself - except that Munchkin actually loves mushrooms so he did share!)
Saute an onion and 3 large yams (cut) in a little oil.
Add 5 medium sized button mushrooms (cut).
Add cooked rice (1 cup of dry rice, preferably cooked earlier in the day or leftover from the night before).
Add 1 cup of diced chicken and a cup of defrosted frozen peas and corn.
A swish of soy sauce and salt to taste.

I add greens when serving rather than when cooking so that if I want to freeze or reheat the meal they don’t turn to mush. 2 small spinach leaves and a smattering of parsley per person is ample.
You can mix in an egg while the meal is still on the stove if you like, or serve it with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  Substitute the yams for carrots.  Skip the mushrooms.  Add bacon or whatever else is lurking in your fridge or freezer!  This is a really quick meal to prepare!

Meal Six
Kumara and Lentil Curry, served over rice (serves 3-4 adults)
I originally found this recipe in the Kiwi Parent Magazine (Parent’s Centre). We didn’t like the first attempt, so this is the recipe changed to suit our tastes and eaten again this past week…

Saute one finely diced onion and a diced/crushed clove of garlic
1 tsp tumeric
½ tsp curry powder (you could increase this to 1tsp – we decreased as we found it too much – also bought a different brand of curry powder as we disliked it so much!)
5 small kumara, peeled and cut into small cubes
½ cup of split red lentils (rinsed) or 1 400g tin of lentils
1 cup of stock (vegetable is fine but I used chicken stock!)
1 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
When the kumara is soft when sliced with a knife add a cup of green beans and/or peas (or other veges)
Serve over rice or with some kind of bread something to dip in it.  Munchkin absolutely LOVED this one!  He ended up eating off our plates after cleaning up his own!

So there you go, folks.  One chook.  Six meals.  Totalling at least 21 serves.  Lots of great eating, that's what!  Chooky #20 wasn't all that far off when claiming that she could feed the world!

So now that I've worked out I can get this many meals out of a chicken, I'm on the look out for more recipes that use shredded chicken or stock.  What do you like using chicken for?



MaxineD said...

I'll have to come back to this and snag your recipes - sounds awesome use of one chicken!!

Elizabeth said...


Like Mum, I'll have to come back and steal those recipes! We have a Size 20 Pams chicken sitting in our fridge right now - need to think about it now, was just going to roast it as normal ;-)!