Wednesday, August 29, 2012

whole chook challenge: roast + laksa + stock

I told my lovely grandmother-in-law about my whole chook challenge. She was amazed (amused? horrified?) when I confessed to never having roasted a chicken before. When her kids were little, she worked in a chicken farm/processing plant. And was allergic to chickens.

But! I can proudly say that in the past week, we have consumed no chicken other than the one, free range chicken I bought on shopping day. This is the story of the Neverending Chiii-iiicken (ah-ah-aaaah. ah-ah-aaaah. ah-ah-aaaah).

Once upon a time, I bought a chicken. A whole bird, labelled free-range. Being on special that week, the cost was the same amount I would normally spend on breast meat for one meal for my family of five.
On Sunday night, I roasted the whole bird. I found a lovely recipe for lemon and tarragon roasted chicken, but having neither lemon or tarragon, I made orange and rosemary roasted chicken instead. As I prepared the whole bird, I reflected a little on the life given to sustain ours- I felt very grateful and humble. I served the chook with roast potatoes, onions and sweet potato, steamed carrots and beans and a gravy made from the roasting juices. We carved the chook at the table.
Orange and Rosemary Roast Chicken
Pat dry your chicken with paper towel, thoroughly drying the inside of the cavity.
Into the cavity: season with salt and pepper, pop half a large orange cut into wedges, a couple of bruised garlic cloves, half a brown onion cut into chunks, and a nice spring of fresh rosemary. Tie the legs with kitchen string. I also tied the wings.
Onto the skin: Massage the juice of half an orange well into the skin, all over. Sprinkle with some olive oil and season well.
Into the oven: I cooked my chook, sitting upon a rack in my roasting pan, in a 200 degrees Celsius oven, for around an hour. Pour water into the bottom of the pan, and keep refreshing throughout the cooking. Check that juices run clear of use a meat thermometer.
Pan juices gravy
Add about a cup of water to the empty roasting pan. Bring the water to the boil, on the stovetop if your pan can go on the element, or in the oven. Stir it well to get all the crunchy, sticky bits up off the pan. Add a tablespoon of plain flour and whisk quickly until the gravy thickens. You could use arrowroot if you like a clear gravy. Season to taste.

On Monday, I removed the remaining meat from the carcass and set aside. I used the bones of the bird to make a stock. Slow cooking at its best, and very, very simple.
Chicken Stock
Break or cut the meatless chicken carcass into four smaller pieces. Roughly chop two carrots (don't bother peeling), three celery sticks (including the leafy bits), and a brown onion. Put everything into a big pot, along with some peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves and a couple of squashed garlic cloves. Cover with plenty of water. Bring the pot to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for ages and ages, until the broth tastes chickeny. When you like the flavour, strain well, then leave to cool so you can skim the fat. If you want to store in the freezer, return the stock to the heat and simmer to reduce even further, then you can use it like a concentrate.

On Tuesday, the remaining meat was used in a laksa- delicious but very, very hot! I use a supermarket laksa paste in a jar, with coconut milk and heaps of veggies. Make sure you have a nice big bunch of coriander and a pack of fresh beansprouts too. Yum.

All in all, I'm really happy with the economical use of the whole chicken. My stock will go into some roast veggie risotto for dinner tonight, so three meals is a pretty good stretch, I think. I will definitely be using chicken in this way from now on.

If you have a great recipe using leftover chicken meat, please link me up!

4 comments:

  1. I love the way a whole chook can keep on giving. Thanks for the inspiration of to get one for dinner.

    Reminded me of the wholefood mama's meal plan post –

    http://thewholefoodmama.com.au/2012/08/whats-for-dinner/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mmmm, there is nothing like home made chicken stock! x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh fantastic, the chicken that keeps on giving, brilliant!! In the future, we'll happily eat our chickens (we'll breed actual table birds) but for now our chicks who have turned out to be roosters are safe, love Posie

    ReplyDelete
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