A whole chicken the healthiest and most frugal poultry investment you can make. It comes with more meat per cent than do individual chicken parts while also containing plenty of bones and other inedible pieces to make a nourishing chicken stock from.
Any whole chicken will work, but I recommend buying it free-range. A chicken that can roam around out in the open and eat bugs and veggies will naturally be leaner, healthier and tastier. Try stripping a cooked free-range chicken down to the bone and notice how little (if any) gristle you find in comparison to a conventionally raised chicken.
I also highly recommend using a slow-cooker for the sake of economy, convenience and safety. Although the instructions throughout this Making Full Use of a Whole Chicken series entail using one, you can certainly get similar results using an oven or stove-top as long as you adjust their temperatures appropriately.
Cooking the Chicken
Make sure it’s completely thawed before doing anything else.
Wash it both inside and outside with running water.
Place a tablespoon of cooking oil (I recommend from coconuts or olives) inside the crock-pot and rub it around until the bottom surface is completely covered.
Place the chicken inside the crock-pot with the lid on it and let it cook for about 3 and a half hours on high or 7 hours on low.
Separating the Meat
Once the chicken is completely cooked, turn the crock pot off and let it cool for about half an hour.
Then, dump the chicken and liquid (broth) into a large bowl with a colander over it.
Place a large plate nearby the bowl and crock-pot. Tear the chicken apart and stack all the meat onto the plate. You should have a large pile of torn chicken meat once you’ve completed this process.
Throw everything you won’t eat (bones, skin, fat etc.), as well as all the liquid (broth) that ends up in the large bowl, back into the crock-pot. Once you’ve done all this, set the crock-pot aside. We’ll get back to it in Part 2 of this series.
Portioning and Storing
Divide all the edible meat into whatever portions you desire. I personally divide 7 separate portions (all of relatively equal size) to last me throughout the week.
From an average-sized whole chicken, 7 portions are usually about 4 ounces each; the perfect amount for stir-fries, sandwiches, pastas and salads:
Health Realist Simple Salad:
- Organic Spinach, Carrot & Beets Blend (Sprouts brand)
- 1/2 Avocado, mashed
- 3-4 oz Chicken
- 1 handful Crushed Walnuts
- chopped Cucumber
- diced Red Bell Pepper
- chopped Red Radish
- chopped Scallions
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Bragg Organic Sea Kelp Delight Seasoning
Securely wrap each meat portion in foil.
Freeze every wrap you don’t intend on using within a few days. Each frozen chicken wrap should completely thaw within 24 hours after being placed in the refrigerator.
You now have a tasty, healthy and relatively inexpensive variety of chicken meat that should last you a good while.
Now it’s time to make use of those not-so-edible chicken parts. Trust me, they’re not as useless as you might think.
I’ll explain why and what you can do with them in Making Full Use of a Whole Chicken- Part 2: The Stock.
See you there!