Using Up The WHOLE Chicken

We love roasting whole chickens for dinner in our home. I love that one whole roast chicken usually can yield two meals, plus a big batch of bone broth and some natural fats to replace butter or oil, too. For total food consumption, I think a whole chicken provides the most, and renders the least amount of food waste, which is something I've been trying to curb recently. Plus roast chicken is just the tastiest, most comforting meal in cold weather I think! Here's what I do once we've roasted up a whole chicken:

Step 1: Remove all the excess meat from the bones, set aside for other meals. We like to mix chicken pieces with black beans and corn for tortillas, add the pieces to soup, or make chicken salad sandwiches with leftover meat.

Step 2: Pour all the drippings into a jar (1 whole chicken usually yields 1 litre of drippings) and refrigerate. This will coagulate and separate - most of your jar will be translucent dark brown gel, which, when mixed with boiling, is an amazing base for soup in it's own right. The very top will be pure fat and yellowish/white. I scrape this off and put in a smaller jar for ultra-flavourful fat to sub in where some recipes might call for butter. It lasts for over a month in the fridge and is insanely flavourful. Of course, it's a trans-fat and not a health food, but in small portions, it gives normal meals such added flavour. Plus it saves you from buying other ingredients like oil or butter, wastes less!

Step 3: Make your bone broth. Put the whole carcass and any loose bones or skin into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Then get creative, emptying your fridge of veggies that are soon to expire. I usually add green, red, white, and yellow onions - whichever I have on hand, or all of them - as well as celery, carrots, apples, Parmesan rinds, and spare herbs. I add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, but sometimes I'll add in dried coriander, pickling spices, or paprika to mix it up. Fill with water, until everything is submerged. Bring to a boil and leave boiling for a few minutes, leave it at a simmer for at least thirty minutes. The flavours get richer the longer you leave it, so I try to leave my broth simmering for a good hour. Once the liquid is cooled, pour into ice cube trays, freeze, then pop frozen cubes into large freezer zip lock bags for future use, or just place in jars in your fridge.

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