Four easy meals using a whole chicken
I have never bought a whole chicken before (well I have never needed to). If I get it from the butcher they chop it up how I want, and if I get it from the shops I get a pre cut one. I see my mum cutting a whole chicken often and have never thought to learn how to do it myself.
On a recent shopping trip (when some thought panic buying was great and cleared the shelves, including chicken packs) I picked up a whole chicken because that was all that was available. Marks & Spencer’s value range have small chickens for £3.
I am not sure why I have not bought a whole one before because it is better value for money and more nutritious. After looking at a few videos I went right in and tried to cut the chicken as best as I could.
It look about 30 minutes and I managed to get 2 legs, 2 wings, 100grams of little pieces of chicken, 200 grams of breast pieces, carcass and the skin. I started with the legs, then wings, followed by the breasts and then all the other parts. I am sure at the end of the pandemic I will be a pro at cutting a chicken.
For two people, the small chicken was enough for 4 meals. Here are the four easy meals I made with the chicken. You can swap the additional ingredients and use similar substitutes to make the most of what you have in your cupboards/fridge.
Bone and Skin : Ramen and Crispy chicken skin
Broth: Once I picked out the meat out from the main bone (the ribs and neck), I put it to boil with a litre of water, along with an onion, carrot, bag leaves, salt & pepper. I also added a bit of skin too. I let this boil on low heat for about an hour/until the bones were falling apart. After picking out the fat and big bones, I strained what was left through the sieve including the onion and carrot. Many recipes suggest you through this out but I didn’t want to lose any goodness.
With the remaining skin, I seasoned them with a rub and baked them to give a nice crisp skin.
With the broth I made homemade Ramen. I pimped mine up but you can just add in some cooked noodles to the broth alongside some veg and serve it. The flavours of the broth are comforting and rich. I boiled some noodles in salty water, then once cooked added them to the broth along with some cooked pak choi. I let this come to a boil then placed it in a bowl. I topped this Ramen with a poached egg, cooked seasoned tuna steak, half a poached egg, chopped carrots and radish and a piece of crispy chicken skin.
Chicken Legs & Wings : Roast chicken
With the legs and wings, apply a dry rub to them with some oil. This will make a perfect roast. For those missing Nandos, marinate the legs and wings with the Nandos rub or Nandos sauce overnight. I froze the marinated pieces for use at a later date. The roasted chicken would taste perfect with some salad and sweet potato wedges or fries.
Chicken can be seasoned with almost any dry herbs or spices you have in the cupboard. Just remember to add a splash of oil and rub the seasoning in well. The marinate overnight before cooking it.
Chicken pieces: Chicken & Mushroom Risotto
I cut the breast/chicken fillet into pieces and used some for the risotto along with the little pieces that I picked out.
Risotto is filling and really comforting. This was my first time to make any sort of risotto and was worried it would become too stodgy. It was actually really simple as long as you follow the instructions. I used the one pot risotto recipe below from the BBC Good Food website.
You could use the chicken broth here for the stock but I chose to use a stock cube and keep the broth for the Ramen noodles. I had enough for 2 meals for 2 people from this recipe. Remember you can always adapt recipes. If I didn’t have risotto I would have used rice and made a stir fry using thyme, mushroom and chicken.
Chicken breast fillet : Curry or Sticky chicken
With the breast pieces pieces, you can make a curry with rice or sweet and sticky chicken. I recently made some sticky chicken.
I had some thai green curry paste in the cupboard and luckily some coconut milk so I made a chicken curry with some coconut rice. For the coconut rice, I boiled basmati rice with some desiccated coconut.
Sticky chicken is also really good and quick. Here is one I have made in the past. Looks fancy but is quick and tastes great. To make the chicken (100g) just stew it with some honey (1tbls) and soy sauce (1tbls) in a pan. A video of how i made this can be seen here. Don’t turn on the pan until you have all the ingredients in. Let this cook on medium heat until the waters reduce and you have some sticky chicken. Perfect with some rice, a fried egg and some pickles.
Have you ever cut a whole chicken? Got any tips?