I have heard on various recession-helping money-saving programmes that a whole chicken is one of the most economical purchases around. I always thought that it would be too much effort to calculate the cooking time, continually baste the bird, attempt to carve it and then try to pick off all the leftover meat from the bones. Having tried it though, I am sold.
You can buy a whole chicken for between £5-7. The meat from the breast can be used for a main meal such as the bbq pulled chicken burgers I made below and then the carcass can form the base of another meal. For us, it creates our lunches for the week ahead.
BBQ PULLED CHICKEN BURGERS WITH CARAMELISED SWEET POTATO FRIES
This is a delicious meal and not too unhealthy. It may seem like a lot of ingredients but it is so easy and so tasty.
Ingredients (for 2 people):
12 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp allspice or mixed spice
Shredded chicken pulled from the breast (skinless and boneless)
1-2 large gherkins
2 medium-large sweet potatoes (these are so more-ish so you might want to make extra to be on the safe side!)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
oil (for baking the potatoes)
Sweet potato fries (start with the potatoes because they take much longer than the burger):
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into long spears or wedges.
- Mix the sugar with a half teaspoon of Maldon salt and half teaspoon of pepper (quarter teaspoon if using table salt and ground pepper).
- Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the sugar mix. Toss the potatoes to make sure they are coated in the mixture.
- Place in the oven for 20 minutes then take out and turn over.
- Put the potatoes back in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the size of the spears) until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Sprinkle with a little extra salt.
- Mix the tomato ketchup, dark brown sugar, vinegar, worchestershire sauce and all spices in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Add the shredded chicken to the ketchup mixture. Stir to coat all of the chicken and then allow it to heat until the chicken is warmed through.
- Warm the buns in the oven and then pile the chicken onto the bottom half of each bun.
- Slice the gherkin on the diagonal to create 3-4 long slices. Arrange on the chicken and place the burger bun on top or at a slight angle so that the chicken can be seen.
- Place a pile of sweet potato fries on a plate or board next to the burger.
- Serve with a green salad or some coleslaw.
Now on to the lunches. The stock below is a staple for the ultimate queen of the kitchen and queen of my family, my grandmother, Granny Smith. She uses it for all soups. If you don’t want to buy a whole chicken then chicken wings work just as well. They are relatively cheap compared to breast and the brown meat adds lots of flavour. The stock is a great base for any soup so the world is your oyster. This is just one of many recipes you can choose from.
CHICKEN AND RICE SOUP
Chicken carcas with leftover chicken (plus jelly from the roasting tin)
2 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
1 cup of rice
For the stock:
- Place the chicken carcass and jelly in a pot with two peeled carrots, two onions and two stalks of celery (all roughly chopped), two bay leaves and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 1 hour. Skim off any gunk that comes off the chicken whilst cooking.
- Once the stock is ready, remove the chicken from the liquid and place to one side. Once it has cooled slightly, tear off any chicken that remains on the bones. This is a bit of a messy job but the best way to get all the chicken is just to go through it with your fingers. Do not put the chicken back into the stock just yet.
- Strain the stock through a sieve.
For the soup:
- Peel the remaining carrots and onions and grate or chop for a chunkier soup.
- Add the grated veg and rice to the stock.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Check the seasoning and adjust. Finely chop the parsley and sprinkle through the soup.
Et voila! Lunch for the week.