I suspect I will be excoriated by all chicken fanciers – but it is my opinion that the chicken, ALIVE, is the stupidest animal in the barnyard. It continues to run around even after its head is cut off…!
DEAD, however, the chicken just might be the smartest. Not only does it come in pre-sectioned portions – (2 breasts, 2 legs, 2 wings and 2 thighs) but its carcass can be transformed into Chicken Soup – the universal panacea for much that ails one.
One of my most popular classes at my cooking school was, Three Meals from One Chicken. There was one student however, a petite southern lady, who was astonished I would even teach such a class. Her opinion was, ‘Honey, I eat one half of the chicken and my husband eats the other’.
For the rest of us the chicken is indeed the ultimate in frugal feasting.
The chicken breasts can be used for a salad or sandwiches. The legs, thighs and wings will transform into a casserole. And the carcass can wait its turn in the freezer, until we have time to make chicken stock and from that, many wonderful soups [see Part II next week].
I used to roast a fresh chicken, but with the advent of the excellent roast chickens available in most supermarkets I cut out that step and buy one ready roasted.
Bring it home and proceed to just pull apart the bird at its divisions! After you have set aside the breasts, legs, thighs and wings, place the carcass, skin and ‘bits’ in a freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.
(Note: I find it is easier to ‘disconnect’ the chicken parts as soon as you get home – while the chicken is still warm. It is more resistant if it is chilled.)
So now – using the Chicken breasts, you can create:
CHICKEN SALAD with Buttermilk Dressing
2 chicken breasts cut into small cubes
1 apple, peeled or unpeeled, cored, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Stir together the dressing ingredients.
Pour ½ of the dressing over the chicken salad and toss lightly.
Set on a bed of fresh greens and serve with the extra dressing on the side.
You can also create a filling for sandwiches or Roll ups using tortillas or flatbread.
Roll Up Sandwiches:
1 flat bread or tortilla
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 cup diced white chicken
½ cup buttermilk dressing [see above] ¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ cup shelled edamame [found in freezer section]
Butter the flat bread.
Toss together the rest of the ingredients and spread evenly over the buttered flat bread.
Wrap in grease-proof or baking paper and chill until ready to eat.
[Yes, I Know I Know! – you think the servings are too small – but be with me – portion control is very important these days.]
And here is a recipe………..for the legs, thighs and wings:
CHICKEN WITH ORANGE CURRY SAUCE
Legs, thighs and wings of one chicken
1 cup orange marmalade
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon mild curry powder [or to taste]
Pre heat the oven to 350
Set the chicken pieces in a casserole dish
Stir together the marmalade, orange juice and curry powder. Blend until smooth then pour the mixture over the chicken.
Bake for 15–20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.
(Note: The casserole may be cooled and then frozen in preparation for the night you come home exhausted and cannot FACE the stove. Just remember to defrost overnight – then microwave on High for five minutes or until the casserole is bubbling.)
Next week: Part II of Three Meals from One Chicken – SOUP!
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com’s “Food” section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.
Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?