Today I bring you three recipes that can all be made from one chicken. Deliciously fatty and crispy roast chicken with potatoes and carrots, chicken fried rice, and the ultimate comfort food: chicken soup. This is an incredibly cost effective use of your budget and, even better, tasty!
Cost for the chicken: $12 (varies depending on size)
Cost per serving: $1.90 to $1.60
1 whole chicken, raw, with skin
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp butter, soft
opt. fresh herb (rosemary, tarragon, or oregano, 2 – 3 sprigs)
2 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Part the skin from the meat of the chicken with your fingers. Take small amounts of butter and slide it underneath the skin on the breasts. Put the rest of the butter on top of the skin on the back, legs, wings, and cavity.
3. (optional) Fresh herbs add a great flavour to the chicken, but you’re meal will still be delicious if you would rather forgo the cost. If you do decide to use them, pull the leaves from the stems and slide them under the skin of the breast and back, and on top of the skin of the back, legs, wings, and cavity.
4. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan, along with the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle the oil over the vegetables and season with salt.
5. Bake in the oven until the chicken and veggies become a dark golden, crispy brown, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. After portioning off the standard cuts, reserve the remainder for the two other dishes. Pick of the remaining meat and reserve for the fried rice. Reserve and freeze all the bones, skin, fat, and any scraps for the soup.
Chicken Fried Rice
Cost per serving: $1.55 to $1.75
*Note: Ideally this should be cooked in a wok (nothing fancy, a cheap one from China Town works perfectly). If you don’t have a wok, substitute with a large pot.
2 tbsp oil, plus more if needed
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 cups rice, cooked the day before and still cold
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1. Fry the carrots and celery in the oil until the veggies’ are brighter in colour and look a bit softer, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the rice. Be sure to constantly stir the rice as it fries so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Fry for a few minutes to allow the oil to be evenly distributed and the rice to heat up. Don’t be afraid to add more oil if you it’s needed.
3. Make a well in the centre of the rice and pour the beaten egg into it. Wait for the edges to cook before scrambling it, then mix it with the rest of the rice.
4. Mix in the chicken, then season with the sesame oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. Add more if you think it’s needed. Seasoning is always to taste, after all.
5. Eat your delicious, fried, greasy rice.
Cost per serving: $0.65 to $0.89
Left over chicken bones and scraps, still frozen
6-8 celery stalks, roughly chopped (I bought one entire head of celery for both the rice and soup recipes and finished whatever I had left for the soup. The number of stalks you decide to use isn’t strict)
4-6 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (same deal with the carrots)
1. Dump everything into a large pot and cover with water
2. Raise the heat and allow the water to come to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. This should cook for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours, preferably 2.
3. Pour the soup into a second pot or large bowl through a strainer.
4. Put the veggies back in the broth and dump the bones and scraps. At this point feel free to add whatever you’d like to the soup: noodles, bits of leftover chicken meat, matzah balls (my personal favourite).