The Chicken Diary, Day 1



With snow in the forecast for tomorrow, I found myself thinking of a maybe final round (for the season) of winter soup-making. So I bought a whole roasting chicken over the weekend, even though I didn’t really want to eat roast chicken. I wanted chicken carcass and organs to make stock. Thirteen dollars and eighty-eight cents at Trader Joe’s got me an organic bird weighing in at about five pounds (far bigger than I’d wanted, but TJ’s is never known for their selection, especially in the meat department), visions of Curry Mee making dancing in my head. And, admittedly, I’d always meant to try that simple roast chicken recipe of Thomas Keller’s that’s continually making the blogsphere rounds.

First published in his Bouchon cookbook, Keller’s roast chicken recipe
is surprisingly simple, requiring nothing more than a chicken, some
salt, and some cooking twine. How good could it be, I wondered? And, more importantly, what would I do in the ensuing days with all the leftover chicken and stock?

Well, first off, the chicken is really damn good. The recipe’s here. In short, all you do is rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken, so as not to steam it, salt the cavity, truss it (easy, this video shows you how if you haven’t done it before), and then pour some salt over the rest of it. Then toss the bird in a blazing (450 degree) oven for about an hour (my big bird took another 20 minutes or so). No basting, it’s just that easy people.

The bird that comes out is gorgeous–juicy meat with a crispy, salty skin. You can then give the chicken a quick baste, adding some thyme to the juices if you like. Wanting to keep things super simple, I didn’t bother. Keller recommends slathering the meat with fresh butter when serving, but there was really no need with all the delicious chicken grease present. Even my butter-loving Brit declined the butter option.

So the Brit and I had roast chicken for dinner last night, gobbling through a thigh and a bit of breast meat. After dinner, I eagerly picked the rest of the meat off the bird’s carcass, and tossed the skeleton in a stock pot with some onions, bay leaves, and carrots (no celery handy).

Today I’m left with a few pounds of chickens meat and a few quarts of stock to get through. I’m thinking of it as sort of an experiment in frugality to see just what I can do with all my chicken meat and stock in the next few days. How much does this one $14 chicken have to give?

Lunch today for me and the Brit was of course chicken sandwiches. I opted for a whole wheat tortilla wrap with hummus, avocado, tomato, and of course chicken. The Brit snagged the last bit of focaccia for a panini with arugula, TJ’s tomato chutney (not bad), cilantro mayo (aka homemade cilantro pesto mixed with store-bought mayo), and more chicken. Tomorrow I’ll put some of the stock, and some of the meat, towards the curry soup, but I have a feeling there’ll be more chicken remains to deal with. Stay tuned…


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