Last week, I spent half my budget on a chicken. Did it pan out? Yes, yes, indeed. If you’re eating for alone, you can stretch out a three point nine pound chicken over five meals, possibly even seven, but whether you can bear eating chicken infused goodness for a week straight is another question.
There are many 1 chicken, 5 meal blog posts, but when I delved in deeper, the meat only lasted about three meals and the last two inevitably used stock (e.g. risotto, soup). Some of the posts used a humongous eight pound chicken so I guess you could definitely feed a family of four with meat as the highlight for four or five of those meals (chicken salad, anyone?). But your children will probably hate you for it, because even I was getting a little tired of chicken around meal four and I bought the damn thing.
Only one of the five meals contained zero chicken meat, but the potatoes were cooked alongside the bird and infused with its drippings.
After roasting the chicken with potatoes and eating the wings and skin for lunch — crispy chicken skin is the best and it gets soggy later so you have to eat it fresh — I stripped the meat from the bones and separated the dark meat and the light meat, snacking all the while.
The bones were thrown into a big pot and cooked down for several hours with carrots, an onion, and half a a lemon. An aspiring chef once told me that the acid in the lemon helps break down the bone, and the citrus-y note is quite subtle. I don’t salt my chicken stock when I’m making it, but I find the lemon-y taste disappears once I add other seasonings. If I’m making chicken stock from raw bones, I sometimes add a bit of ginger.
Meal 1: Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Farro (Lunch)
Although I flirted with the Zuni recipe, it takes a few days so I went to the chicken recipe that has never failed me. You can check it out in my cookbook here.
But basically, it’s a chicken over a bed of thinly sliced potatoes. I like to separate the skin from the meat as much as possible so it gets crispy. This time I set it on a rack suspended over the potatoes in hopes that they’d get extra crispy. Do you notice the theme? Instead, I may have packed the potatoes too closely. Usually, I use a 9 by 13 pan, but this time I chose a 9 x 9. The potatoes were so chicken-y, but also soft. I think they would have fried in chicken fat if I had spread them in a thinner layer, but damn, those potatoes were great and they crisped up nicely in the frying pan. I regret nothing!
The cup of farro was boiled in two cups of water.
Meal 2: Potato, Egg, and Croissant (Breakfast)
I skipped dinner the night before because I ate too much buttermilk raspberry cake. It happens to the best of us. One of my friend’s guilty pleasures is reheating french fries in a pan and then cracking an egg on top. I tried with my chicken-y potatoes and a smidge of bacon fat, and it was delicious!
Meal 3: Potato, Egg, and Chicken with Farro (Lunch)
It was so good that I had to have it again!
Meal 4: Chicken, Farro, and Green Beans (Dinner)I parboiled the green beans and added some toasted almonds and caramelized onions. Confession: I don’t like green beans. I thought I was ambivalent to them, but I don’t like them unless they’re stir fried with garlic and chili. The chicken is hidden under a bed of green beans.
Meal 5: Chicken, Farro, Green Beans, and Potatoes (Lunch)
Basically what I had for dinner but with the last of the potatoes.
- 2 chicken breasts, diced. I’m not a huge fan of white meat. It so much drier and blander than dark meat, but it will be great for chicken soup and chicken quesadillas, etc.
- 3 quarts of chicken stock. Bones, an onion, a carrot, half a lemon. Celery would be nice, but I’m never able to finish an entire bunch.
In other news, I still have three eggplants to cook and no, the chicken pictured is not the chicken I ate. The featured chicken was probably eaten long long ago, because the photo is from either 2011 or 2012.