In them good old days when I was a child, my grandma used to keep chickens. She also kept the geese and cows and pigs. As we usually visited her during the summer holidays, all the meals at that time were cooked in the so called summer kitchen, i.e. in the oven just under a roof on four stilts, without any walls, not far from the wooden well and the big kitchen garden bordering on the woods. The hedges were rather neglected, and you could occasionally glimpse the deer. Or step on the snake while walking among the watermelons. Why am I suddenly reminiscing about those days? It crossed my mind that I rarely buy a whole chicken, preferring to buy just a pack of chicken breasts or thighs for cooking a meal. However, if you get a whole chicken, you can easily stretch it into several meals.
Meal no.1: Roast Chicken with bacon
The first chicken meal served on Thursday was the roast chicken, stuffed with the sausagemeat (mixed with the breadcrumbs and chopped fresh herbs) and semi-wrapped with the streaky bacon rashers to add the extra smoky flavour to the dish. It was a terrific roast, which I served with the roast wedges of squash and red cabbage with apples.
Roasted chicken will become a base for several meals.
Meal no.2: Chicken, avocado and feta salad
The next day I fancied some cold salad. The cubed chicken breast was mixed with the chopped avocado, red pepper, 100g cubed feta cheese, a handful of black pitted olives, a handful of pine nuts, a sliced tomato and the dressing made of 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey.
Meal no.3: Chicken noodle soup
The carcass and leftovers were used to make a lovely chicken noodle soup.
Put the carcass and shredded leftovers in the pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Add 1 chopped garlic clove, a piece of fresh ginger (grated), 2 finely chopped stalks of celery, salt and pepper and a dash of the soy sauce. Cook for about 20 minutes for the broth to get infused with all the added flavours. Slice a sweet red pepper, several mushrooms. Take the carcass out of the pan and discard, having removed all bits of meat. Add the mushrooms and pepper to the broth and cook for about 5 minutes. Put some noodles in the broth and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Serve with the chopped spring onions. You can make it more noodley if you want by adding more noodles, or keep it more soupy, it's up to you.
Be creative, change the salad ingredients, depending on what you have in the fridge. Feta can easily be substituted with a chunk of cheddar or hard goat's cheese. Add a sliced apple, chopped gherkins, walnuts. Salads are a great dish, where almost anything can go in for a satisfying meal.
Noodles in the soup can be swapped for rice or baby pasta.
What do you do with the leftover chicken?