By Emma Chow
Your average whole chicken intended for roasting is about 1kg. If you get the sort that is vacuum sealed in a plastic bag, you’ll see that they state that a single serving is 100 grams, and so a single chicken should yield 10 serves.
This is contrary to the Sunday lunch scenario, where you’ll need the whole chicken to serve 4 and several more if you need to serve a crowd. But the truth of it is we don’t need to eat that much meat to get enough protein in a single meal.
To live more sustainably, healthily and thriftily, let’s make that one chicken last 3 meals. Don’t worry, you don’t miss out on the roast chicken dinner and these meals in no way feel stretched thin.
To live more sustainably, healthily and thriftily, let’s make that one chicken last 3 meals. Don’t worry, you don’t miss out on the roast chicken dinner and these meals in no way feel stretched thin. Because a variety of cuisine styles and different vegetables and carbohydrates are used in each meal, your chicken is made new each time. These three dinners will serve four people – two adults and two children definitely.
Get yourself a good quality free range roasting chicken of at least 1 kg. Much larger and you’ll wonder what happened to the poor bird to get it so big.
Roast Chicken Dinner for Family of Four
½ a butternut or Jap pumpkin
2 large handfuls of brussel sprouts
250g frozen peas
8 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
1 clove garlic, diced
A teaspoon of smoked or sweet paprika
Salt and pepper
- If you can be bothered, section the chicken into breasts, wings, drumsticks, the thigh piece and the back. If you don’t enjoy dismembering a chicken, then feel free to leave it whole. Cutting the chicken up allows it to cook faster, and having it in pieces also means you will be less tempted to just serve the whole thing in one meal. If you are dividing the chicken, roast the back as well even though you won’t be serving it. This adds flavour to the stock you will make with it.
- Take the leaves from the thyme and rosemary. Combine this with a teaspoon of salt, a few cracks of black pepper the garlic and the paprika in a small bowl. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to this and give it a stir. With your hands, rub this into the chicken, all over. Don’t be squeamish about handling the meat with your hands, this is the best way to get flavour into the meat. Just make sure you wash them thoroughly afterwards. If you can, leave this marinade in for at least an hour before you intend to cook.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
- Cut potatoes into large chunks, do the same with the pumpkin. There is absolutely no need to skin the thin skinned varieties of pumpkin. The skin is actually very tasty once roasted, and is just as easy to remove during eating. I have sustained more injuries in commercial kitchens cutting pumpkins than any other thing. Toss with a couple slugs of olive oil and salt and pepper. If you have any thyme or rosemary left, feel free to add some to the veggies. Put in a large heavy baking tray. Put the chicken in the middle of the vegetables in the same tray.
- Halve the brussel sprouts and remove any yellowed outer leaves. Toss these with a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Put in a baking tray.
- Put the tray with the chicken and the veggies in. Reduce the heat to 200degC and cook for an hour. When cooking time for the chicken is done, remove from oven and put the tray of brussel sprouts in. The edges of the brussel sprouts crisp and caramelise through roasting; they should be sweet and addictively tasty. This takes 15-20 minutes.
- Put the peas in a large bowl, put the kettle on. Once the water has boiled, pour enough water to cover the peas by about 4cm. Leave to ‘cook’ for 10 minutes and then drain.
- Once cooking time has finished, remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to stay in the meat fibers, rather than just bleeding out all over the chopping board as you cut. This means your chicken is moist, and the residual heat will cook through any remaining pinkish bits without drying the bird out.
- Carve up the bird and divide up between plates along with the vegetables.
Reserve one whole chicken breast for meal 2.
With The Bones: Home-Made Chicken Stock (prep for Meal 3)
Bones from your Roast Chicken Dinner
1 onion, chopped in half
2 cloves garlic, whole
A couple of celery ribs/carrot tops and parsley.
Fill a large pot big enough to accommodate the bones and cover them with water. There’s no need to scrape the bones clean as any bits of meat will add more flavour. Add an onion chopped in half and a couple whole cloves of garlic. If you have any old celery ribs, carrot tops or parsley around, toss these in too. When your family are done gnawing the meat off the wings and drumsticks, tell them to put these bones in the pot. It’s perfectly hygienic; the bones will be boiled, and it’s your family that will consume the meal made from the stock. Have the stock bubbling away through dinner and as you wash the dishes. It should cook for at least 2 hours but preferably 4.
Once finished, allow to cool and put the whole pot in the fridge. You’ll be using this stock the day after next for Meal 3.
Chicken breast reserved from Meal 1.
1 bag of 10-12 tortillas
200g mozzarella cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
1 red capsicum
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Teaspoon chilli sauce
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Grease the base of a large baking dish.
- Mix together the tomato sauce, soy, brown sugar and chilli sauce. Shred the chicken breast and mix together with the sauce. Finely dice the red capsicum and combine with the chicken. If you happen to have any leftover cooked beans, these would be great to add to the chicken mixture to bulk it out.
- Warm the tortillas as per pack directions so they are easier to handle.
- Grate the mozzarella. Fill each tortilla with a portion of the chicken mixture, top with a little cheese, fold the short ends in and then the longer ends over the top. Use only half the cheese as the rest will be sprinkled over the top. Line the filled tortillas up in the baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, bring it to heat and then add the paprika and cumin. When the spices are fragrant (should only take a minute or so), empty the can of tomatoes into the pot and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour this sauce over the filled tortillas and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella over the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and cheese melted. Serve immediately.
Asian Chicken Brown Rice Soup
Chicken stock made previously (see above)
5 celery ribs
Handful of snow peas
1 knob of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 star anise
¾ cup brown rice
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar or similar
1 large red chilli (optional)
- Finely chop onion, celery and carrot, finely diced ginger and garlic.
- In a medium sized pot, add a tablespoon of neutral oil and sauté the onion, celery, carrot, ginger and garlic. Top and tail the snow peas. Remove seeds from chilli and finely chop, if using.
- Get your pot of chicken stock, pick through to remove the bones and the vegetables you used to prepare the stock. Discard. Keep any meat shreds and add this back to the stock. Add the star anise and chilli, if using. Bring the stock to a simmer.
- Once the vegetables in the other pot are cooked, add this to the stock. Add the sugar and brown rise. Once the rice is cooked through, throw in the snow peas and allow them to cook in the simmering soup for 2 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Season further with salt and pepper to taste.
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