I’ll be totally honest. Despite the fact that I LOVE to cook and experiment with different foods, new vegetables and different cuts of meat, the ability to use a whole chicken has always eluded me. Well, maybe not eluded me, but it certainly scared the hell out of me. It was always so much easier to just get the dang thing pre-cut, already prepared into breasts, or thighs, things that I could use, that were easy. But have you noticed that when things are easy, they are also expensive?? And once we made the choice to go only with sustainable, organic and local free-range chickens that price went WAY up. Like holy hell that chicken is worth it’s weight in GOLD.
Once we joined our local CSA, the choice for a pre-cut, prepared bird also went FLYING out the window. Because they only came whole… Like, an ENTIRE chicken. And with the fact that the whole chicken was expensive (but delicious, and free-range, organic and every other thing I needed it to be) I knew that the days of just using chicken breasts were OUT the window. But how was I going to get my money’s worth out of this amazing bird when I really had no idea what to do with it?
So there was a lot of trial and error. There were some completely destroyed chickens… overcooked and underwhelming. But I persevered!! And one day, that chicken came out DELICIOUS. Like, moist and tender, flavorful and DAMN good.
And I managed to stretch that chicken into THREE meals that lasted us about a week.
Now THAT’S getting your moneys worth out of a whole chicken.
So I’ve done all of the leg work and will be giving you guys some options for how to use an entire chicken. Because it’s a great alternative to the pre-cut chicken breasts and thighs, tends to be less expensive, and it means that you can start buying organic free-range chickens if you have been put off by the price tag in the past. Did you know that Costco has even started carrying organic whole frozen chickens? If you have a big freezer, grab a couple of those babies at a SUPER cheap price and give it a try!
Stage One – The WHOLE Chicken.
Stage Two – The Leftovers.
Stage Three – The Carnage