Whole Roast Chicken - with potatoes, gravy and stewed apples
Whole roast chicken can be a great frugal meal because it lends itself to multiple meals over several days, even for several people. To start with, whole chicken is less per pound than chicken that comes cut up. Since you decide how to cut it up, or not to cut it up, it gives you more choice as to how you might put the bird to good use on your table.
Best of all, you get to use the whole thing in a range of recipes. Why not? You paid for it all, so you should use it all.
Inspiration for this article comes from my friend Meshelle over in the U.K. She's a frugal homemaker who has a great idea about how to make and use whole roast chicken. The bottom line is use most of the meat by slicing or removing portions, then cook the carcass to make a soup or stew.
This is a great idea simply because it uses all that you paid for, and you get to create a nice bone broth (for another meal) that is highly nutritious.
Here is Meshelle's approach to preparing whole roast chicken:
Her Sunday tradition includes having a whole roast chicken with accompanying side dishes like potatoes, gravy, and stewed apples. She then stretches that whole roast chicken into chicken curry with rice, and simmers the carcass to make soup while she prepares homemade bread.
She notes that a single chicken with side dishes should be enough to feed six people and it tastes better the next day. Her approach to frugal cooking uses every last bit of the chicken, and she can make one bird provide food for two people for an entire week.
So, let's get to it. Here's how I'd suggest making whole roast chicken with potatoes, gravy and stewed apples for three people. Be aware, I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I will. If you're bold and adventurous, then let me know how it turns out.
- whole chicken with giblets
- 6 new (red) potatoes
- 3 sweet red apples
- butter or vegetable oil
- cardamom (optional)
- sweet cream or whipped cream (optional)
- Clean and half the potatoes (quarter if they're large). Peel them first if you'd like, but I prefer mine with the skins on. Set them aside.
- Cut and core the sweet red apples. Dice them up, leaving a generous portion of larger chunks.
- Lightly crush up some rosemary, and add crushed tarragon and pepper to create a rub. Toss in a bit of whole rosemary for appearance as well.
- Remove and rinse chicken giblets, and mince everything up.
- Clean and rinse the chicken, pat it dry with cloth towels, place it in a high-sided cookie sheet or roasting pan (with sufficient room to allow the potatoes to be placed around it), slather it up with butter and sprinkle on the rub you made in the previous step.
- Peelings can go into the compost bin, and unused (uncooked) portions of the giblets can be fed to the dog or saved in the freezer for soup.
- In a medium covered sauce pan with just enough water to cover, simmer the minced giblets with a nice helping of crushed thyme or a modest sprinkling of herb-based poultry seasoning.
- In a skillet with butter or oil, brown the potatoes on medium high heat. Everything is better when it's browned.
- In a large covered sauce pan, heat the apples over medium low heat. Add a bit of water to create steam and prevent the apples from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Toss in a small handful of brown sugar, a healthy dose of cinnamon and a couple of shakes of cardamom for a nice complementary flavor. Stir occasionally and vent as necessary to reduce the water content to make a nice thick consistency as your final product.
- In a roasting pan, arrange the browned potatoes around the bird, and sprinkle dill or parsley and a bit of salt on those spuds. Cover the pan with foil to preserve moisture and help create juices for use in making gravy. Place this wonderful arrangement in the oven and fire it up to 350 F for about an hour covered, and another 15 minutes uncovered for crispness associated with the chicken skin. When it's nearly done, shut the oven off and let it coast while you get the table set.
- Transfer the chicken and potatoes to an oven-proof serving dish and put them back into the oven to stay warm (with or without the foil cover). Keep the juices for use in the gravy.
- In a small sauce pan, over low heat, melt a half stick of butter and then slowly add about the same amount of flour, stirring constantly until you get a good thick roux. Add roughly equal parts of fat from the roasting pan and flour to build up the quantity of roux. Slowly pour in some of the juices from the roasting pan to make a nice gravy consistency. Turn up to medium low heat. Strain giblets and mix into the gravy. Add salt to taste, and more juices from the roasting pan for volume and to thin out the gravy as it thickens. Keep stirring and cook until the gravy is thickened to a consistency that you like.
Carve that bird and enjoy it with gravy. Grab a helping of those potatoes as-is or smash them up a bit and smother them with gravy.
Enjoy the stewed apples in a small side bowl for dessert, perhaps covered with a bit of sweet cream or whipped cream.
There won't be much left of the stewed apples, but we're likely to have potatoes left over, and most certainly we'll have chicken left over for future meals like stir-fried concoctions, and we'll have a complete carcass for chicken soup and chicken stew. Refrigerate what's left over, and start your next frugal meal using the leftovers from this whole roast chicken recipe.
Done with Whole Roast Chicken, back to Frugal Cooking