|Chicken & Stars|
When I see whole chickens on sale for around $.79/lb. or less for my area, I buy two, and this is what I do with them:
On a day when I plan to be home, I set up two stock pots on my stove and add the following:
- a 3-5 pound roasting chicken - make sure it is thawed, remove giblets
- 2 med. onions, quartered (leave the skins on for nice color)
- 2 lg. carrots, halved
- 2 ribs celery, halved
- 1 green bell pepper, halved (I sometimes leave this out, these tend to be expensive)
- 1/2 c. fresh parsley
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3-3.5 qts. water - enough to cover the chicken
Bring to a boil, then simmer on the stove for about two hours.
Remove chicken from pot and allow it to cool a bit. Remove the meat reserving for another use (soup, salad, sandwiches, casseroles...). Return the bones and skin to the pot. Cook for another two hours, simmering on the stove.
Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing the vegetables and bones with a spatula to extract all liquid. Chill broth overnight in the fridge and skim off any fat. Freeze stock that will not be used in 2-3 days. I have several pint and quart containers that I reserve for freezing stock.
Next, I make homemade cream of chicken soup to freeze in 1 c. and pint containers for casseroles. It's a little runnier than canned, so I often cut down any other liquids or stuff like sour cream in the casserole. This is so good that I never buy the canned stuff anymore!
4 TB butter
1/4 c. celery chopped
1/4 c. onion chopped
2 cloves garlic (1 tsp)
1/3 c ww. flour or arrowroot
1 c. half and half, cream or milk
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. cooked chicken, chopped
1/4 tsp. white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 TB parsley
Heat butter. Add celery, onions, garlic, and saute. Add flour mixture over veggies and mix well. Cook several more mins. Add broth, chicken and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 mins. Puree in blender and then return to pan. Stir in milk and heat thoroughly. Freeze or use.
Makes about 4 pints
Cream of Mushroom - substitute 16 oz. chopped mushrooms for the chopped chicken
I'll often use my chicken meat and stock to go ahead and make chicken noodle soup for freezing. I like to have a quart or two in the freezer all winter for cold season. It's the yummiest remedy I know for a cold!
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
- 2 c. cooked chicken meat
- 2 med. celery stalks, diced
- 2 med. carrots, diced or grated
- 1 med. onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 c. frozen or fresh shelled peas
- 1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley or thyme
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 dried bay leaf
- salt to taste
- 1 c. uncooked pasta
- chicken broth to cover the chicken/veggies
I'll let you figure out how to put all of that together!
You notice many of these recipes call for fresh parsley... I grow some in a corner of my perennial garden right outside my kitchen door and it is so handy! It stands up to the summer heat and will even last through a nip of frost. Plus the butterfly caterpillars love it as we discovered this past summer!
Two little chickens sure do go a long way!