With the rising cost of groceries these day chicken still seems to be a good bargain and when preparing a whole chicken you can get the most for your money.
So on a Sunday I sometimes will put up a pot of chicken soup to start. If the chicken is plump enough I can get two or three nice size meals depending what I make.
Basic Chicken Stock Recipe
1 Large chicken (about 4 lbs)
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped into quarters
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 medium stalks of celery, chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 sprigs parsley
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 1/2 quarts cold water
Rinse chicken under cold water and add the chicken to a large heavy stockpot. Add cold water to cover chicken. Bring the water slowly to a boil then reduce to a bare simmer. There should be very few gentle bubbles bursting on the surface of the water. Skim the surface of the stock to get rid of the impurities (foam).
Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsley, peppercorns to the pot. Continue to simmer the stock for 3 hours, skimming occasionally.
Carefully remove the whole chicken. Strain the stock through a paper towel or cheesecloth lined colander into a large bowl. Carefully discard the hot solids. Let cool. Place in refrigerator for 12 hours to allow fat to rise to the top. Skim fat off and discard. Divide between freezer safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months if it lasts that long!
Yields 2 quarts
Once you have make the chicken stock there are lots of meal options that can be made: Once the chicken has cooled remove the chicken from the bones and divide. Separate and shred the breast and wing meat into two portions. Then remove the leg thigh meat making a third portion of chicken. Each portion should yield about 2 cups of meat enough for three meals. After a long day at work it’s nice to have one of these meals easy to prepare.
What to make now? Here are a few ideas.
Chicken Soup – your choice, you have two quarts of broth you can add vegetables, rice or noodles and one portion of the chicken or follow your favorite recipe.
Chicken Pot Pie with 2 Crusts or Biscuits
This is old-fashioned, from scratch, comfort food. This has been a family favorite for years.
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cut up cooked chicken
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
2 prepared pie crusts (1 top crust and 1 bottom crust)
Heat butter over low heat until melted.
Blend in flour, onion, salt and pepper.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly.
Remove from heat.
Stir in broth and milk.
Heat to boiling; stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute.
Stir in chicken and veggies. (Add in 1 – 2 diced cooked potatoes if you like!).
Line pie plate with prepared bottom crust.
Pour in filling.
Top with top crust. Cut slits in center to vent. Flute edges.
Cook uncovered in 425°F oven until crust is brown; approximately 30-35 minutes.
Note: If you don’t have any pie crust available add the filling to a greased 9″ x 13″ casserole and top with your favorite biscuits and bake for 20 minutes.
Chicken ala King –
This old fashion meal is total comfort food on a cold winter evening and when you have two cups of chicken available it’s so easy to prepare. Have you ever read about the history of Chicken ala King? Seems there are at least 5 different possibilities of where the recipe originated going as far back as the late 1800’s and it was served in some very prestigious restaurants and hotels. Who would have thought, right?
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
2 tablespoons diced pimientos or small diced red cherry pepper
In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and celery in butter until crisp-tender. Stir in flour and salt until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add chicken and pimientos; heat through. Serve over toast points, or biscuits or in puff pastry patty shells if you want something fancier.
Chicken Tetrazzini –
Named after a famous Italian singer, Tetrazzini is an American dish made with diced poultry or seafood and mushroom in a butter/cream and Parmesan sauce flavored with wine or sherry. It is served hot over linguine, spaghetti, or some similarly thin pasta, garnished with parsley, and sometimes topped with Parmesan cheese. Tetrazzini can be prepared as a baked noodle casserole, sometimes with steps taken to give it a browned crust.
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked thin spaghetti (not Angel Hair) or pasta of choice
1/2 cup butter & 2 Tb
2 TB Olive Oil
Add any of these items to taste – I have no exact measurements
1 10 oz. box of Frozen Peas or Peas & Carrots (optional)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth & 2 cups milk
1 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
Handful of chopped parsley
Season to taste, herbs etc.
Butter bread crumbs to top the casserole if you like.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and place in the prepared baking dish.
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
At this point I sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms. Remove from pan and set on the side.
Melt 1/2 cup butter in same pan over medium heat.
Stir in flour, pan cook so flour cooks but is not brown
Mix in chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in about 1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, and remove from heat.
Add onion, garlic mushroom mix to the sauce and fold in. Add chopped chicken, parsley or any frozen vegetable you are using
Mix chicken sauce mixture with cooked spaghetti and put into a greased 9 x 13 casserole.
Easy-to-make chicken croquettes. These croquettes freeze well. This one needs a bit of pre-planning as the croquette mixture needs time to chill in the refrigerator.
Cone shape is traditional for croquettes, but I have made patty shaped ones that are just as wonderful. Try adding some chopped mushrooms too
2 cups roasted chicken, shredded
1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup or cream of celery
1/4 cup milk
1 (6 ounce) box chicken stuffing mix
1 large egg, slightly beaten
½ of a small onion, chopped fine
1 stalk of celery, chopped fine
breadcrumbs, for dredging
1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying (may need more or less)
1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
Mix well the chicken, soup, stuffing mix, egg, onion, and celery. Refrigerate for 3 hours minimum.
Create a ‘log’ shape from about 3/4 cup of mixture. Gently drop onto the counter to flatten the bottom to form a traditional ‘cone’ shape. (about 3″ high, 2″ in diameter), or form patties for a simpler method.
Roll croquettes in bread crumbs. (At this point, you can freeze them for up to two months or cover them and place them in the fridge overnight to serve the following day. Just bring them to room temperature when ready to use if frying them).
Fry in about 1/4″ of oil in skillet over medium heat turning occasionally till golden brown on all sides and bottom, about 10-15 minutes. For a healthier version, they can be baked at 350F for about 25-30 min (from the freezer, bake 45-50 minutes).
MAKE THE SAUCE: In a small saucepan, stir the remaining can of soup with milk, stirring until warmed and creamy.