I find it completely amazing how many meals and the amount of nourishment you can get from one chicken! If someone came to me looking for cooking advice I would recommend they learn how to roast a chicken and then go about showing them how to use every part of the chicken. In my opinion it’s such a waste to throw away the carcass and other goodies left in the bottom of the pan.
Early in the week I slow roasted a heritage, free-range chicken that I had purchased from a friend. My husband and I ate most of the meat off of it in various ways throughout the week. Then I took what was left in the bottom of the roasting pot and turned it all into usable items. By no means is this the only way to go about it but maybe it will inspire a few people to use every bit of their next roast chicken. 🙂
After roasting the chicken all of the juices and fat can be poured off and they will separate. This time I just left them around the chicken carcass in the pan and when cool it’s easy to separate them. First I split up the remains into their usable parts. Above picture from top left (clockwise): chicken fat, chicken carcass & skin we didn’t eat, giblets, remaining meat picked off the carcass & the gelatin.
Chicken Fat (Schmaltz) – The chicken fat still has some impurities in it so I heated it in a pan and poured it through a cloth into a container. This removed most of the impurities but then I put the dish in the fridge and once cool I removed the fat and scraped off the little bit of gelatin and fine particles that settled on the bottom. This fat is pretty stable so you can just keep in the fridge or freeze it until you use it. It’s wonderful for roasting root vegetables, as the fat in savory pastries or just spread on some rye bread with a pickle. Because this chicken was raised outside eating grass this fat is full of nourishment like vitamin E & D… see that beautiful yellow color!
Carcass, Giblets & Gelatin – To make some yummy chicken stock I added the carcass, giblets and gelatin to the dutch oven that I roasted the chicken in. To that I added some vegetable scraps that I had in the freezer, some carrots & celery, peppercorns and lots of filtered water. I brought this up to a boil, skimmed off the foam and let it simmer for a couple of hours.
After the stock simmered, I strained out the solids and threw them away with the little bit of skin I had pulled off the carcass earlier. Except the liver and heart, my husband did eat those while they were still hot 🙂
The stock went into the fridge to cool and the next day I skimmed off the little bit of excess fat on the surface.
I froze a couple pints of stock to use later and with the remainder I made a yummy chicken noodle soup! I sauteed some carrots, celery, and garlic in olive oil. To that I added some corn, green beans and sauteed leeks that I froze last summer and seasoned the veggies with sea salt and pepper. The veggies were added to the stock along with the little bowl of meat I picked off the carcass. So there you have it, that’s how I put my roast chicken to more uses!
Now I just need this stock pot so I can make bigger batches!