Perhaps the ultimate sense of culinary frugality comes from throwing a pile of chicken bones, left over from a successful roast, into a big pan, adding some cheap and cheerful flavourings (carrots, celery, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt) and dousing the whole lot in water, then bringing to a slow simmer for a couple of hours to produce a vat of heart-and soul-warming broth.
This is part 1 of a series on how to turn one roast chicken into 3 delicious meals! Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow and Part 3 on Wednesday!
One of the most satisfying feelings in the kitchen is that of frugality. Finding myself ladling homemade jam, chutney or marmalade into sparkling clean jars gives me a sense of contentment unlike anything else. Stashing away those often discarded roots of herbs like coriander and parsley in a freezer for use in curry and herb pastes at a later date (have a look on my post about making the most of your freezer); simmering a glut of cooking apples into purée to use in granola or cakes; freezing leftover egg whites to whip into a meringue or mousse at some point in the future. All these things give me a proud feeling of culinary accomplishment.
Perhaps the ultimate sense of culinary frugality comes from throwing a pile of chicken bones, left over from a successful roast, into a big pan, adding some cheap and cheerful flavourings (carrots, celery, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt) and simmering to a heart-and soul-warming broth. A chicken carcass, in my opinion, never belongs in a bin. It’s potential is just too great: think of the soups, risottos and stews you can make with home-made stock, far fuller flavoured and better for you than the processed cubes you buy in the shops.
With this in mind, I want to show you how to get the most out of your roast (chicken). With a little planning and culinary ingenuity, you can turn a chicken into three separate meals. There’s the initial roast, where the highlights are crispy skin (it doesn’t taste good cold, make sure you eat it all while it’s hot and crunchy!) and succulent flesh. But then there are the chicken salads, satisfying and portable, you can whip up for weekday lunches. Finally, there’s the chicken soup, made by simmering those bare bones into something aromatic and soothing. This is also a great idea for those of us with busy lives: you can enjoy your roast in the sedate tranquillity of your kitchen at the weekend, knowing that you have lunch and dinner sorted for the next couple of days.
This idea is endlessly adaptable. Flavour your roast with whatever you like: some lemon and thyme, perhaps, to use in a salad with chickpeas and tomatoes and olives, and a soup with earthy barley and green vegetables. Lime and paprika, maybe, for a Mexican twist that will make a delicious black bean and avocado salad and a fabulous spicy tomato soup. Here, though, I’ve given the chicken a Japanese twist, marinating it in a sweet/sticky/salty mixture of soy, umami-rich miso, lemon juice, garlic and a hint of mustard. It’s not strictly Japanese, of course, but the flavours are inspired by that part of the world. This gives the chicken a delicious Asian slant that works fabulously in the next two recipes: a chicken, edamame bean and rice salad with pomelo and peanuts, and a Vietnamese-inspired chicken noodle soup that is guaranteed to become a firm favourite.
A note on quantities: how much chicken and rice you have left over from this will obviously depend on your appetite and how many people you’re feeding. I’ve suggested a whole chicken to feed two people and double the amount of rice you’ll need at one meal, to allow for plenty of leftovers. If you’re serving four, you can just use the recipe below as it is, but if you want enough left over for salads and soup I would suggest doubling all the quantities (so two chickens etc.). You can, of course, still make stock from the bones however many chickens you decide to cook.
Finally, a plea: do buy the very best chicken you can afford for this. Seeing as you’re being so clever and frugal with it, and you’re going to be eating it for several meals, it makes sense to go the extra mile and buy a lovely free-range specimen. You’ll taste the difference.
here's what you'll need...
For the marinade:
- 100g brown miso paste
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp salt
- 40g fresh ginger, grated
- A pinch of chilli flakes
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 chicken, jointed into 4 or 8 pieces
For the rice:
- 300g basmati/long grain and wild rice mix
- 200g edamame (soya) beans
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- A large bunch of coriander, finely chopped