Monday, October 5, 2009

Wonderful Chicken Meals

You may have read my posts from last week with suggestions for creating meals with one whole chicken.

There were 2 stove-top skillet meals, baked stuffed chicken breast, and on Friday it was chicken with foraged apples.

This weekend I had a leftover chicken quarter from Friday's meal and though my palate was beginning to feel chicken-weary, I made a leftover meal with the cooked thigh (I'd eaten the drumstick for lunch.)

When you have leftovers, the challenge is to create a new meal with a different flavor so that you don't feel as though you're eating the same thing over and over.

The meal I made with the leftover chicken quarter (which had been previously cooked with apples, leeks and cabbage), was heavy on the eggplant, red pepper, squash (pic above), plus I cooked the dish with rosemary, and in red wine -- quite in contrast to the flavors of the previous meal.

I sauteed all the veggies in olive oil and garlic, tossing in a couple sprigs of rosemary and then a glug of red wine, before placing the lid on the skillet and turning the heat down.

If I'd added tomatoes the dish would have been a version of ratatouille. But I decided to leave the tomatoes out and instead I added more eggplant, which because of its sponge-like quality, sopped up the red wine and the flavor of the rosemary.

I let the veggies stew for about 15 mins, and part way through, I added the leftover chicken thigh. Obviously if I'd added it at the point when I poured in the red wine, the chicken would have taken on more of the red wine flavor. However, I don't like to 'twice cook' meat, instead I generally heat it or just warm it through; that way it doesn't dry out.

I still have one remaining breast from the whole chicken I purchased last week. It's in the freezer, along with some of the chicken carcass which I'll use to make stock and then soup.

As I alluded to above, I've had my fill of chicken for a while now, so though I thought I'd defrost the breast yesterday and do something with it for last evening's meal and today's post, I couldn't face another chicken meal; it's time for something else.

Nevertheless, I'm going to wax on excitedly for one more paragraph on the number of meals one can create from a whole chicken.

Last week I posted 5 meal-ideas and I cooked 3 of those meals and ate them, plus I had some cold, leftover chicken from those meals at a couple of lunches.

So it's possible to stretch 3.5 pounds of whole chicken (and in this case the chicken was a one-day sale at Whole Foods for $3.50 or .99c lb) over many meals, especially if you consume about 3 ounces of chicken per meal.

And 3 ounces of meat protein at one sitting is actually enough, so long as you're serving plenty of fresh vegetables and a grain too.

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