25 Meal Portions from One Chicken

I like chickens. That is, I like to see a happy, well-tended chicken, and I love that contented clucking noise they make. I like the idea of maybe keeping chickens one day, but I don't want to actually have to touch one... I am no Dr Dolittle, but as I said, I think chickens are nice and deserve a happy life, which is why I only ever buy ridiculously expensive free range ones, and my goodness, when I do, it needs to go a long way.

Here is the typical end-of-life trajectory for one chicken at our house. Last Saturday I roasted the happy chicken and five of us had a very small serve of chicken with enormous mounds of roast and steamed veg. That night I shredded the rest of the meat, and we ate it for Monday lunch as chicken and salad wraps for fourteen. Saturday night I also popped the carcass into a saucepan with water and made stock. Before I threw out the bones I picked the remaining meat off them and stored that in the fridge too, so on Wednesday night I made comforting chicken and vegetable soup for six with the glorious wobbly jellied stock and left over chicken meat.

So there we are, twenty five individual meals from one chicken, and no waste, which makes me very happy. Thankyou Mr Chicken. However in the interests of full disclosure I must confess that last night I wanted to use up the last of the scary tentacled potatoes, so I made potato pancakes from a recipe I found on the web, and fried them up in the yummy flavourful chicken fat I had skimmed from the top of the chicken stock once it was cold. Oh, and some butter of course. They looked lovely, all golden brown and delicious, but they tasted vile, gelatinous and stodgy, like potato depth charges, so we gave up and had toast instead. I will use the rest of the chicken fat to roast potatoes, which is clearly a much kinder way to use a potato, and give up trying to make potato pancakes, which never end well for me..


I've recently gotten much better about actually making stock from my chicken carcasses. Like you, I buy the happy, free range guys, and it's good to make them do double duty. I'm sorry about your potato situation, but am glad to have the information. I will compost all eye-y potatoes from now on!

Anonymous said…
I thought about getting chickens. Until I read a book on keeping them!

I only get one dinner from a roast chock. My two boys will chose the chicken meat over all the roast vegies. No serving little pieces for me. I'd have a revolution.
Jo said…
You can only do that if the family never actually gets to see the roast chook. No serving it up with a flourish and carving it at the table. That would result in one chook - one meal as well. And yes, I do get complaints, but they all live. And sometimes they get to eat the whole chicken, but I figure it is good for their character development to 'suffer' a little occasionally!
don't you hate it when your best plans to be thrifty and wonderful just go belly up?! thanks for the laugh.

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