I am a reformed vegetarian. For ten years, I stayed away from the flesh. But then, one fateful night my love interest enticed me with a chicken burrito. I ended up marrying him, and have been eating meat ever since.
Even though that was almost exactly five years ago, I still had a major fear of cooking a whole chicken. A fear and a fascination. I was determined to cook a whole bird - bones, skin and all. And this last weekend, I did it - faced that big, pink, bumpy bird right in its decapitated neck. It kinda grossed me out, but once it was all said and done (and fully cooked), I was proud, satisfied and ready to eat. I followed this recipe, and it truly was Real Simple.
I can't believe I haven't done this before. It's so cheap and so delicious - and you can literally use the whole chicken. The next day I made chicken stock with the leftover carcass (pardon the gross word). You can do it, too! Here's how it started:
And here's what you need:
1 leftover chicken carcass
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
1 large carrot (optional)
fresh parsley (I had a ton in my herb container, you can throw in whatever herbs you prefer)
salt + pepper
Stick the chicken, vegetables (roughly chopped) and parsley in a large stock pot.
Add just enough water to cover the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmering and allow to simmer uncovered for 4-6 hours.
If there is any fat on top, skim it off.
Strain into a container and allow to cool completely before you cover and put in the freezer or refrigerator.
It'll keep in the fridge for 3 days. Otherwise, you can put them into individual bags and freeze for later use. This is what it ended up looking like:
All that cooked down to four little cups of rich chicken goodness. Perfect for soups, stews, sauces...
So, if you haven't done it already, you really ought to try it. A whole chicken for $5 and multiple meals? Can't beat it.