Whole Roasted Chicken: Five Ways
One of my favorite convenience foods/meals is grabbing a whole rotisserie chicken from my nearest grocery store and figuring out how
not to eat the whole thing at once to make multiple meals out of it. This last round, I think I got it locked down.
Lezbehonest – I can NOT bring home one of those and, while it’s still hot and steamy, not immediately rip off one of the legs and eat it. That’s the best part! And it’s so tender! So I do it.
In the past, I’ve loved those first few tender bites, but after the rest spends the night in the fridge, I’ve been super bummed out by how dry it can get. I’ve found that cooking leftovers (bones and all) in stock (nice low simmer for awhile) will melt that meat right off the bones AND give you a gorgeous, silky, flavorful stock/broth that’s more of the consistency of demi glace.
Beyond that, I’ve figured out how to turn it into a few different meals that go beyond just tearing it apart. Here’s how I used the whole damn thing this last time around:
Eat the leg, ASAP
Like I said, I can’t *not* do this.
Chicken breast = taco meat
I’ve found that there is the perfect amount of chicken breast for making a few days worth of taco meat. Chop it up fine (or shred it with a fork) and then treat it like any other taco protein in a skillet – add a little water and whatever your taco seasoning of choice is (I’ve been buying Brandless, but use Ortega or your own mix or whatever). Add your favorite taco bar toppings (mine: onion, corn, black olives, tomato, cheese, sour cream, lettuce) and enjoy.
Shred into soup
I’ve found that the best way to reheat this chicken is to do so in liquid (which is why the taco situation works). In this case, I added in the last three pieces (wings and other leg) to a mushroom soup I had on hand. Let that simmer, then shred the meat off the bones into the soup.
This is my favorite part. Unless I’m getting to it right away, the skin is best fresh and hot and does not really hold up reheated very well. However, it fries up like a CHARM.
I keep all of the skins and then air them out on a paper towel until they’ve dried out a little, then throw them in a nearly-ripping hot skillet (cast iron works beautifully) until they start to crisp up. Turn ‘em once, then take off the heat, let cool a bit, and then either eat ‘em like potato chips or chop them up and use them as a topping on soups, salads, or pasta.
At some point, when I’ve gotten most of the meat off of the whole thing, I’ll throw the bones, fat, and carcass into a pot of water or broth. Let this simmer for awhile and then strain the bones and bits out of it. I ended up with something about halfway between an actual stock and a demi glace consistency, and it’s delicious. Add a spoonful to thicken or flavor a sauce or soup. Thin out with some water and use as stock. So long as you strain the bits out, this fatty mix will keep for awhile (a week or so).
Today’s Tuesday, and I bought the chicken on Friday. It’s made up some part of at least one meal every day since, and the whole thing cost me less than $10.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner?
(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
[photo credit: Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash]