Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Whole chicken dinner

The other day I bought a whole chicken from Trader Joe's. It was cheaper per pound than buying boneless, skinless breasts and only slightly more expensive than just drumsticks. The whole chicken was a little over $11.

I put onions and celery in the cavity and rubbed salt on the skin. Then I put it in the oven and cooked it at 350° until it was 165° inside. I used a meat thermometer. Actually, I used the probe that comes with our oven.

I cooked the chicken liver with the chicken and took that out early for a tasty appetizer.

I served the wings and legs for dinner. The skin turned out crispy on top, which was delicious, and the meat fell off the bone. Compliments received were that it was the best tasting chicken ever eaten. I think that is because of the skin.

After dinner, I took the remaining meat off the bone and put it in the freezer so we can make burritos or other things later. Then I cut up some more celery and onions and put them in a crock pot. I added some fresh rosemary and basil (leftover from the garden and going bad quickly), salt, the carcass, and remaining gizzards and neck. I added water until it looked right. I cooked it in the crockpot on low overnight.

In the morning I strained out the broth and put it in leftover spaghetti jars in the freezer. I didn't want to waste all the onions and celery and bits of meat from making the broth, so I scooped out as much of that as I could without getting bits of bone and saved it. I added these leftovers to some jarred spaghetti sauce and served it over pasta. It came out good.

I probably should have cut the breasts I froze in half. They are probably too big for a single meal. I think that a whole chicken can make at least six dinners for two people. Maybe eight because we really didn't need to eat the legs and the wings. I think those could have been two servings.

Seems like a good deal. If only I could get the chicken from a real farmer. Even though Trader Joe's calls it a "natural" chicken, I don't know what that means, and it was obvious the poor creature had been genetically engineered to have such a huge breast as to render it incapable of standing for any length of time. When you eat a chicken whole, the dark meat becomes more important, so in my opinion, a huge breast isn't so important on a whole chicken.

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