I Stretched a Chicken...

when i mentioned this concept to my mother, she said she pictured me standing in my kitchen pulling on a chicken at both ends...  i tried desperately to find a picture that related to this, but alas, you will have to use your imagination as she did.  and when you stop laughing, you can continue reading this post...

i used to buy whole chickens all the time after we got married, and i would roast them and then we'd eat it for dinner that night and i'd scrape up as much of the leftover chicken as i could to get a second, rarely a third meal out of the bird, and throw the rest away.  it didn't really seem that cost efficient to me, even though a roasted chicken is very tasty and i'm dying to try THIS recipe.  so, i stopped buying whole chickens.

then, i was reading a friend's farm blog HERE, and she mentioned an article about stretching a chicken for 6 meals...yes...SIX...  so, obviously i read the article, and decided i had to give it a try.  now, granted my chicken wasn't quite as large as the ones she used, but i was still surprised at the results.  

begin by placing the chicken in a large stockpot, and fill 3/4 with water.

add any assortment of vegetables(i used carrots and onions) and some sea salt.

bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for several hours...i left mine for 3-4 hours.  by this time the house was smelling SO yummy and i was craving chicken soup...even thought it was almost 100* outside.

remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool enough to handle.  separate the meat from the bones/skin.  return the bones/skin back to the pot, cover and continue simmering for several more hours.  i think it ended up being about 3 hours.  by this point my entire family was ready for chicken soup. :)

using a fine strainer, strain the broth from the bones.  

place the bones in a crockpot and cover with water.  simmer overnight.  i turned it to high for about 2-3 hours until it was bubbling and then turned it down to low for overnight.

my first batch of broth was 2 jars worth...with room left for expansion in the freezer.

the next morning, we were all ready to eat chicken soup for breakfast!  while it doesn't really look very appetizing, this made a broth that appears just as strong as the first batch.  i got about a jar and a half from this one.  

for this batch, i strained out the broth and then added the carrots into it and pureed it in the blender.

so...from one chicken, i ended up with about 7-8 cups of meat (3-4 meals worth for us), and about 3.5 jars of good broth.  not. bad.

the articles that inspired this post are Homemade Chicken Broth and How to Stretch a Chicken.


Rachael said...

Just wanted to make sure I understood you correctly - do you put your jars of broth in the freezer (I didn't know you could do that). Or would it work to process them in a water bath, seal them and just store them room temp? I'm just trying to figure out the best way to store them? Thanks for all the info. Love your blog posts!

Amanda said...

Yes, I put them in the freezer, AFTER they have cooled COMPLETELY. And, you have to leave some room at the top for expansion or they will crack and bust. You could also store the broth in freezer bags, which, once frozen, stack nicely side by side or on top of each other.

I would think that the water bath and sealing would work, because that doesn't seem any different than the chicken broth you purchase at the grocery store...

Thanks for reading!! :-)

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