If you’re a chicken lover, maybe you’re experiencing this at the moment: Heading to the supermarket to get some chicken for dinner, picking up a packet of some standard looking breasts and almost fainting at the cost? Unless you’re Sherlock Holmes and sniffing out awesome ‘buy one get one free’ deals, the dolla’ can rack up for a meat that’s such a staple in our diets.
Buying a whole chicken is the most cost effective way of cooking with this popular meat. It’s almost a no brainer when you get twice as much bang for your buck.
Here are some ideas for you to use all the elements to a chicken. When we say all, we mean all! You could cook it whole or separately by sectioning up your chicken into breast, thigh, leg and wings.
What are you waiting for?
A Whole Chicken For Family & Friends
We all love roast chicken with all the trimmings so that’s already one way you can serve up at the table fuss free… Add seasoning and herbs such as lemon and thyme to take a chicken a little further.
If you want to roast your chicken for dinner and you’re looking for something different to your Sunday tradition, remember you don’t always have to serve it with roasted potatoes and vegetables! How about a Thai style whole chicken? Infuse the bird with Asian inspired spices alongside a vegetable curry.
You can even barbeque whole chickens, no kidding! So if it’s summer, stick a beer can up its butt for something out of this world. It’s impressive and delicious.
If it’s the shredded meat you’re after for other recipes, then roast or poach your chicken with a little seasoning. Allow it to cool down, then shred all the meat of by using a fork and a knife.
Ideas For Leftover Shredded Chicken Meat
So what to do with all that shredded cooked meat? There’ll be a lot of it for sure. Are you feeling healthy? Do you want food fast? Then shredded chicken is a great, light, addition to a salad.
But maybe you’re feeling the total opposite of healthy and you want a bit of a chicken and chips binge? Have you heard of Poutine? It’s THE ultimate comfort food.
If you’ve got a little time on your hands make a batch of Chicken Pies. These freeze beautifully and you can then whip ‘em out and have a nourishing meal whenever you want.
How To Make Best Use Of The Carcass
Why is carcass such a horrible word? Now you’ve hacked apart the cooked bird, stick the leftover bones of the chicken with 5 litres of cold water and any roughly chopped veg you have hanging about. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 4 hours.
You can store it in a fridge, or freeze it! This can be used in any recipe for a delicious flavour. Soup or broth are wicked ideas for a homemade stock.
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Using Individual Cuts of The Chicken
As we mentioned, you can portion up a chicken like this. Once you have the breasts, wings, legs and thighs, the world of chicken recipes are at your feet. Here’s what to do with breast, wings, legs and thighs:
Breast is everyone’s favourite. Probably because it’s the most versatile of all the cuts and its lean qualities make it the healthiest too.
If it’s breaded, fried or crusted chicken you’re after, breast is the one. There’s no bone so you can beat, flatten and shape without compromising on the flavour.
Skewered finger food is fun for all the family! It’s the way forward at barbeques too because you don’t burn your fingers as you try to gobble it down. Experiment with flavoured sauces like teriyaki and play about with vegetables to get in your 5 a day.
2. Legs & Thighs
Leg and thigh meat has more flavour and is a little more tender than breast because it contains more fat. You can cook it on the bone, or cut off the meat first.
It’s a dream in curries because the meat adds extra flavour. Though breast is fine, you’re more likely to see thigh meat in Indian cuisine because a little goes a long way.
Thigh and legs are also the ideal cut for slow cooking in stews and tagines.
The wings always seem like the annoying bit of a chicken. Straggly with not a lot of meat. But as you’ll have two leftover per chicken save them for a mid afternoon snack! Nobody can say no to a chicken wing if they’re lathered in buffalo hot sauce.
Hopefully that’s been helpful. Save yourself some money and chow down on some delicious grub by making the most of whole chickens. Have you got any more tips and tricks to use up leftovers? We’d love to hear.
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