Roast Chicken: The Gift That Keeps on Giving (or how to use up leftovers…)

Years ago I bought a book called ‘The Thrifty Cookbook: 476 ways to eat well with leftovers‘ (Kate Colquhoun). It appealed to me because I don’t like throwing away food just cos it’s gone a bit soft (fruit) or hard (bread)! It’s a great book to dip into if you have something you want to use up, or want to make go further. We roasted some plums this week using a recipe from the book , mainly because we had a pot of double cream that needed using up… When I bought the book the back cover stood out to me as it has this illustration of a roast chicken and all you can do with its leftovers, which I thought was a great idea:

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We don’t often have a roast in our house – if i’ve only got a Sunday off it’s a toss-up between a sunday brunch or lunch – and brunch usually wins. Every now and then the craving for a good ol’ roast dinner does pop up though, and last weekend it did just that (so we were greedy and had that AND brunch). We decided to buy a chicken and work our weekly food shop around what we could do with the leftovers – as per the thrifty book. For the actual roast we had a leg and a wing each, with chippolata’s wrapped in streaky bacon, crunchy potato’s, roasted root veg, broccoli, stuffing, and homemade gravy – it was immense.

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After the epic roast, we still had the whole of the chicken carcass left to use up during the week, so I picked off all the meat (which I find quite therapeutic, and it means I get to eat the chicken oysters as a perk of the job), and kept the bones. We had enough leftover chicken (and stuffing, and gravy!) for six sandwiches during the week, and we also made four servings of one of our favourite healthy meals ‘Mexican chicken stew with quinoa’ (as seen here) with the last of the chicken.

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Making ‘Bone Broth’ or Stock

‘Bone Broth’ is a bit of a trend in healthy/clean eating at the moment (as popularised by the Hemsley + Hemsley sisters), it’s basically just stock that’s cooked for longer to extract more nutrients from the bones – ‘A good, homemade bone broth is rich in easily digestible substances such as amino acids, gelatine (a source of protein that helps counter the degeneration of joints), glucosamine, fats, vitamins, minerals and collagen (which improves the condition of skin)’ taken from this guardian article. Making great stock is normally a good enough reason for me to buy a whole chicken in the first place, so I thought I might as well try the broth! Once I’d stripped the meat off the carcass, that and a couple of leftover carrots and an onion all went into the pan (with a few bay leaves), and simmered for 6 hours. If you don’t have 6 hours to spare for the bone broth, good chicken stock will only take around 2.

You can make stock/broth with almost any meat bones, and also from fish bones or leftover raw vegetables (even peelings) – the fish and vegetable stocks only need about half an hour to cook though as they are more delicate.

I can’t give you a verdict on the broth yet as we have frozen it in preparation for this weeks recipes – I will update soon though!

We are planning on making a Hemsley + Hemsley recipe using the broth this week: Healthy Red Lentil Dhal, but often i’ll use up some of the remaining chicken and the stock in a risotto – just add an onion and some mushrooms! A soup would be another good way to use up one or both ingredients – if you have leftover veg from your roast, they could go in too.

So if you’re thinking of having a roast this weekend, why not think about what else you could use the leftovers for and get thrifty 🙂

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