We eat chicken a lot in my house. I roast a chicken at least once a week. It is easy to make and serves so many purposes. I feel very efficient in my ability to nourish my family when I roast a chicken. Not only do we get to enjoy delicious and succulent meat with a chicken stock based sauce, I get to use the remains to add to my cauldron for a week’s worth of simmering health-giving liquid. When it comes time to throw out the bones from my brew, I crumble the very soft portions of bone in my fingers and feed that along with the marrow to my dogs. They absolutely go crazy for it. (I only give them what I can crumble into granules; anything larger than tiny sand-like pieces and they could get cut internally from sharp pieces).
This is how I approach chicken:
- As often as possible I marinate it overnight in some sort of white wine mixture, preferably something that will make great flavor added to chicken stock for the sauce. If I don’t have the time, I pour a bit of white wine over it and also into the cavity.
- I always cover the skin in melted butter and throw an onion and/or lemons inside the cavity. Certainly toss on some salt and pepper and in the oven it goes. Super easy.
- I make a sauce or gravy. Sometimes this may simply consist of boiling bone broth until it reduces to a thicker liquid, and adding soy sauce for some extra flavor. If I have more time, I add some other goodies, like garlic and lemon juice, herbs and spices.
- Once we have thoroughly enjoyed the roasted bird, I save the leftover bones, organs and scraps in a plastic freezer bag to make soup stock in the future, or add it to my cauldron immediately to start the perpetual simmer.
- Any leftover meat I use to make soup, salad or just reheat with the leftover sauce.
Sometimes I buy a chicken from the store. If there is a butcher on site, I request that it be cut into eight pieces. This makes the marinating more effective, I believe, and also separates the back from the rest of the pieces which I usually stick in the freezer for later use to make broth.
I never buy chicken pieces, like boneless, skinless breasts. Waste of money. You pay double and get short-changed on all the good stuff like, um, bones and skin. If I want my chicken in pieces, I cut it up after I have bought the entire bird (unless the butcher did it at my request). If no one in your house likes, say, dark meat, it is great to use for chicken salad or soup. And again, I emphasize the importance of bones. You must make broth, and make it with bones. The crock is the absolute easiest way to do this. If you make soup sometimes and buy broth for it, you are definitely losing out on so much nutrition and flavor than if you just simmer the bones from a bird you have already purchased. Plus, you save yourself some extra cash, too. Major bonus! I have jars upon jars of bone broth in my freezer. I have actually been known to just sip it straight from a travel mug, sprinkled with a little salt. Even my son loves to drink it right out of his own little mug.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of bone broth? I love the abundance of posts from Nourished Kitchen on this topic. If you try your hand at making your own bone broth, be sure to add a bit of apple cider vinegar to aid in drawing out the minerals. Love red meat? Holistic Kid has a great post on making your broth from the leftovers of your latest T-bone, with some added marrow and knuckle bones for added flavor and nutrition.
Nourishing Traditions speaks extensively about bone broths, and also contains my favorite chicken recipe called Moroccan Chicken. I plan to share that for those that do not own the book. It includes an amazing sauce, so stay tuned!