Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Use Every Last Bit

I bought a chicken this weekend (a butchered one this time, though we were accosted by some heavy persuasion to purchase a young pullet on Saturday - we resisted). I was almost out of stock in the cupboard, so it was time to 'stock' up again. (har har har). Last stock was turkey - a nice rich golden color, this time around it was chicken - a yellower broth, but just as full of nutrition and goodness.

I boiled the chicken whole, after removing the breasts and thigh meat which i cooked up for dinner with some lovely roasted veggies and a white wine sauce. I simmered that bird along with a carrot, some celery, some malabar spinach, onions and garlic from the garden plus some salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves right off the tree. The aroma was mag nee feek! I simmered it all evening only turning the heat off when it was time for bed. I left the pot out over night and stuck it in the fridge in the am, skimming the fat once it hardened. By this late afternoon i seperated the bones and other bits out and brought the stock back up to a boil to condense down before canning. The meat and veg chunks were separated out in this way, allowing me to use up EVERY part of that bird:

Good meat for us - mixed up with some fresh, homemade mayo to be a delicious and decadent chicken salad.

Bones cleaned to dry (in my car) until brittle, at which point i'll grind them up to make bone meal for feeding the plants (Thanks, Susy at Chiot's Run for the brilliant idea of drying and grinding the bones!).

Nasty meat, questionable skin and fatty chunks, sad vegetable parts all go to the chooks. No, it is not gross, morbid, cannibalistic, or unhealthful for the chickens to eat cooked chicken. It may be DISTURBING,  but it's actually good for them. And they enjoy it. A LOT.

Belina says "This is delicious. Give me more. MORE."

So here i have 8 lovely pints of homemade chicken stock, plus 2 ice cube trays in the freezer. Not a bit of the bird was wasted, and everyone in the household from myself to my chickens to the plants in the garden will benefit from the nutrients taken from that fryer.

Do you clean your plate? Do you compost what you don't finish? What tips do you have for using up every last bit of something?

This post was also seen in Simple Lives Thursday - check it out!

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