Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Chicken, Three Meals

I am in full-on soup-making mode. The weather has been rainy and cold for most of the past two weeks (for most of the past two months, for that matter), which means soup sounds good every night.

Last night I made chicken chili for Darby and me. This has been a favorite of ours since I first made it two years ago. It is so easy. It takes a while because of the amount of time it simmers, but most of that time is hands-off. The recipe calls for shredded rotisserie chicken. I normally don't buy rotisserie chicken, but I think I might start doing it more often. Darby and I can get 3 meals plus leftovers and 3 cans of chicken broth from one $5 chicken. It's a pretty good deal. Now, roasting my own chicken would be even more economical, but I haven't gotten that brave yet. In case you're interested, below is the process I used to squeeze every last cent out of that chicken. That sounds weird.

For the first meal, eat whatever pieces of chicken you want plain. After eating, pick off all remaining meat and place in container. At this point, it can be frozen for 1–2 other meals (such as the chili below). We can get 2 casseroles from the leftover meat, if I keep a pretty low meat-to-other-ingredients ratio, which I usually do.

Place chicken carcass (along with skin and fatty pieces) in Crock-pot along with roughly chopped carrots, celery, and yellow onion, a few peeled garlic cloves, and spices such as bay leaves, sage, thyme, and peppercorns. Pour 1-1/2 to 2 qts. COLD water over ingredients. (For a small rotisserie chicken, I'd stick with 1-1/2 qts.) Cook on low at least 10 hours. Let cool slightly, then strain into large bowl. Chill in the refrigerator several hours; then, skim the fat off the top. Divide among 2–3 freezer bags, lay flat, and freeze. This should yield close to 6 cups broth, about 3-1/2 cans worth. It might not seem like a lot but considering you would just throw the chicken bones away anyway, it's not too bad. Plus, you can use the leafy parts of celery and the tops of carrots. Next time you're using those vegetables, toss the scraps in a freezer bag and save until you want to make broth. Not to mention, homemade broth is much healthier and far lower in sodium than canned, and you can bask in your self-sufficiency and resourcefulness for days. ;)

I let the broth cook while I was sleeping, and—although convenient—waking up to the smell of chicken broth is not that pleasant. Neither is straining the broth and discarding the carcass before breakfast. Just FYI :)

Now for the chili recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Smoky Chicken Chili
From Southern Living (I think?)

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I'm sure you could substitute boiled shredded chicken, but it wouldn't have as much flavor.)
2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2–3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans chili-style diced tomatoes
2 cans beans (black, navy, or both), drained and rinsed
12-oz. beer (Any kind. If you are opposed to buying beer, you could probably substitute chicken broth, but again, it wouldn't be as flavorful.)
1 pkg. McCormick white chicken chili seasoning mix

Saute the peppers, onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat about 8 mins. Stir in tomatoes, beans, beer, chicken, and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with shredded cheese.

1 comment:

Kalyn Gensic said...

I love the broth recipe. That is a clever way to use scraps.