Low waste cooking: how to get three great dishes from one chicken

Dec 1, 2022

We love homestyle cooking with real, local ingredients like our whole chickens—and we’re firm believers that these delicious birds should be used to create more than one meal. After all, there’s so much goodness in every one! The tender meat is only the beginning—here are three delicious meals you can make using a single whole chicken. You can also make these meals using a variety of bone-in chicken pieces (breastslegs, etc) if you prefer. It’s time to get cooking—enjoy!

Meal one: roast chicken with vegetables

Your first meal is the most obvious one: a perfectly roasted chicken with vegetables on the side. Here’s a great recipe from Ina Garten—just add your favourite fall vegetables on the side and serve. We suggest some carrots, parsnips and potatoes, but anything goes.

Now, some prep work for meal two. Once you’ve enjoyed the chicken breasts for dinner, remove the rest of the meat from the bird and place it in a glass storage container. That can go right in the fridge—you’ll be needing it later, but not yet. Now, place the chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with approximately 12 cups of water. Add as many aromatics as you can—an onion or two, some celery and carrots, a few bay leaves and your favourite herbs—and simmer on medium low heat for four hours or so. Soon (ok, in four hours) you’ll have delicious, nutritious homemade chicken stock. Put it in the fridge if you’ll be using it the same week—otherwise, pop it into the freezer once the broth is cool.

Meal two: chicken noodle soup

Now that you’ve got that delicious chicken stock, it’s time to make soup! We want to limit our use of broth in this dish because a lot of the stock will be used in meal number three (see below). A hearty, savoury soup is the goal here! Start by sauteing some sweet onions with chopped celery and carrots, then covering them with your homemade chicken broth and bringing it to a simmer. You’re going to add meat and noodles, so make sure there is enough stock to keep things ‘soupy,’ but not too much. Once the pot is simmering, add torn or chopped pieces of your leftover chicken. Then, add about a cup of uncooked noodles. Classic egg noodles are a great choice, but you can also use something like stelline pastina or even orzo. Continue simmering until the noodles are ready to eat, season with salt and your favourite herbs (chopped parsley is a good one) and consider adding a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving. Yum!

If you’re not one to “wing it” with informal directions like this, here’s a simple recipe to try.

Meal three: your favourite risotto

Risotto is amazing because it’s hearty, delicious and way more versatile than you may think. Once you’ve mastered a basic risotto (here’s a great recipe, if you need one) you can make any additions you want: mushrooms, green peas, sliced asparagus, spinach or kale, meat, chopped herbs, microgreens or chopped bacon as a garnish, etc.

Use the last of your chicken stock to make this delicious risotto with whatever complementary vegetables you have on hand. You can also incorporate some Italian sausage for added protein and flavour (two or three sausages will go a long way—just remove the casings, cook the ground sausage in a separate pan and then stir the meat into your risotto near the end). Or, keep your risotto simple and serve it with some protein or a green salad on the side. There’s meal number three—we’ve hope you’ve enjoyed them all!

Please visit VGFarmToCity.ca to shop for your family’s favourite Ontario beef, chicken, lamb and pork products. Or, visit us in store! Our retail locations can be found in Simcoe and Stoney Creek.