The glories of the whole bird

If I’d been smart, I would have taken a photo of our whole roasted chicken Sunday night before we carved it up. But, alas, I am rarely so bright! You’ll have to take my word that it was a nice-looking chickie. Beyond that, it’s also a very useful thing to cook, even for small families, every so often.

We bought an over-stuffer roaster this week at the grocery store. These birds are bigger than your average hen–this one was over 6 lbs. My mom cooked them a lot for the four of us when we were kids. The mister and I never buy chickens that large, except that they were running a ridiculous sale on them. The birds were 77 cents a pound. That meant that our bird was about $4.70. Nice. I roasted it–about 2 hours at 350, sprinkled with olive oil and a hefty dose of Penzey’s Northwoods Seasoning–and the two of us split one breast that night. That left us with a lot of chicken. Mr. Pea had half a breast for lunch Monday; I’ll have the other half on Tuesday. There’s still a lot of bird. So here’s my plan for the rest. I probably got about 5 cups of torn meat off the chicken after our meals were eaten–of that, about 3 c went into the freezer for later enchiladas or quesadillas or what have you; another 2 c will go into a chicken pot pie tomorrow. Mr. Pea picked up some frozen peas for that–otherwise we have everything on hand. We’ll likely get 6 slices out of that pie, or 3 servings each.

I took the birdie body and put it in a stock pot, covering it with water, and let it simmer away for 2 hours. It’ll need some salt and pepper later, but after draining the broth–carefully–through a colander, I had about 12 cups of broth. Sweeeet. This saves me from buying cans or cartons, both of which can be a little pricey, for a long time. I picked up some quart-sized freezer bags at the store and froze (in a freezer box thing, not right on the rack, having learned that lesson) 2 bags of four cups broth each (risotto sized), one bag of 2 cups (handy) and then put 2 cups in the fridge for tomorrow’s pie white sauce. Fantastic! And I know what’s in it, to boot! Not a lot of mystery ingredients there. So our little $4.70 bird–seemingly too big for just the two of us–has given or will give us 5 meals apiece, or 10 meals, plus a boatload of broth, plus more chicken for as-yet-unplanned meals. It’s not a bad investment!

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