Chicken – Meals to cook using a whole chicken


I recently started buying locally-grown chickens. When it comes to buying chicken this way, it seems my only option is to buy a whole chicken.

Right now I only know one way to cook a whole chicken, and that's roasting the entire thing in the oven. This is perfectly fine but I'd like a little variety.

Can anyone offer any suggestions? I don't need every meal to include the entire chicken, of course, but if I cook something that only uses breasts, for example, I'm going to need some complementary recipes for the rest of the bird.

Best Answer

If you use only the breasts, you can use the rest to make a broth/stock hybrid using meat and bones. You can also roast the rest of the bird and shred the meat to save up to put in soups, pot pies, chicken salad, or with a one-pot pasta meal.

Besides a standard roast, try butterflying (otherwise known as spatchcocking) your chicken. I do this regularly. The result is, in my opinion, much more flavorful than roasting the regular way.

Cooks Illustrated has many recipes that use chicken thighs. You may want to investigate those. You can also simply look into googling recipes for the different parts of the bird.

Finally, remember to freeze your bones and, when you get a quantity of them, make stock. It will be far tastier than store-bought stock and you can control what goes into it.