(Sort of) Recipe: Don't Be Chicken About Chicken
I recently asked a friend what recipes she would like to see on the blog, and she asked for more chicken-based meals. As it happens, I have a whole chicken in my freezer, and since we're in the beginning of November, I decided to plan several of this month's menu around said bird.
Cooking a whole chicken can be intimidating. Especially if you're not into cleaning out the neck and gizzards and whatnot. But, a job is a job, and good food is good food. And it's my job to help you create good food. So here I am, in the kitchen, working with a newly thawed whole chicken.
It's important to thaw any meat according to directions, in the fridge. Never let food, meat especially, sit out overnight. It collects bacteria and, can start to smell a little off. You don't want to feed your guests that, do? I didn't think so.
What's my kitchen mantra? Say it with me: "Slow Cookers Rock!" and I don't mean Aunt Edna shuffling with her walker. I mean the countertop plug-in kind.
Once the chicken is thoroughly thawed, cleaned and dried, plop it into the slow cooker and let it do its thing overnight. Yup. That's it. One whole chicken, cooked on low, for 8 or more hours. A general rule of thumb is one pound of bird per quart/room. So if you have a 5-quart slow cooker, get a chicken that's 5 pounds or less. When it's done, pull the meat off the bones (be sure to let it cool first). You can save the juices for homemade chicken stock/broth.
"But what am I gonna do with so much chicken meat," you ask? Simple, I say. This is the fun part. Anything. You. Want. Well, almost anything. I wouldn't recommend putting in an ice cream sundae or jello salad.
But you can add veggies and water to the stock and have homemade chicken soup. Slice it up for sandwiches. Shred it for enchiladas and soft tacos. Toss it on a salad. Use some of it in my Creamy Chicken with Rice recipe. Toss some ginger dressing and sesame seeds on it and serve it over rice. Top a pizza with it. Best of all: freeze some for later.
A 3-4 pound bird can give you enough meat to do all these delicious meals, and have some left over to just snack on with cheese and crackers. If you're feeding more than one person at a time, of course, you'll either need a bigger bird or fewer meals. Even so, a whole chicken is worth the price.It's hearty, healthy, and cost efficient.
In my book, that makes it a pretty tasty treat.