Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stretching Chicken

I am notoriously frugal. Of course, my friends say that is code for "cheap"...but in reality I hate waste, and will wear things out before I contribute to the trash stream with more "stuff".

The exception, of course, would be food. I will spend anything, without any thought to price, for exceptional ingredients. The nice people at Claudio's at the Italian Market in South Philly will attest to this...I drop large sums (aka my kids college funds) there for cheese and cured meats.

Chicken, of course, does not qualify for exceptional status. I mean, how special is a bird that everyone claims other things taste like? "Alligator", my cousin Kenny recently stated, "tastes like chewy chicken". Rabbit is said to taste like it, reputedly, so do frogs legs. (My father once told me a joke about 2 lesbian frogs...I'll leave it to your imagination.) Oddly, turkey is the same family, but no one ever claims that it tastes like chicken.

So...imagine my glee when Shoprite recently ran breasts on the bone for .99 lb. Armed with $15, I procured 3 packages of 4 each. In keeping with no waste, I was able to convert this fowl product into more than a week of meals for my family of 5. How?

1) I de-boned them into 12 breasts of approximately 1 lb. each. 
2) I cooked the bones, strained the broth, and made over 2 gallons of soup.
3) I picked the meat from the resulting bones, and made chicken salad.

For your consideration, the soup and salad recipes. I was aided by mushrooms, yellow & orange peppers, and vidalia onions which all happened to be on sale this week.

Chicken Soup (one of many versions)
- add 2 or more lbs of well-rinsed chopped escarole to the aforementioned broth
- add a pound of sliced mushooms
- add 2 lbs of carrots, sliced
- add a cup of pastina (a tiny macaroni)
- add a 1/2 head of garlic, chopped
- add some of the picked white meat from above
- simmer, eat. keep in mind you can add just about any veggies to this.
Chicken Salad
- a bunch of the picked chicken, chopped
- 2 yellow and 2 orange bell peppers, diced
- 2 small vidalia onions, diced
- some garlic powder and seasoned salt to taste
- a few tablespoons of mayo, barely enough to moisten
- the family seemed to enjoy eating this on anything, but especially by making wraps with baby spinach leaves and buffalo mayo

Coming recipe using 2 breasts for what I call "Mediterranean Chicken Normanno".

PS...the winning entry in the dish naming contest was "Piccolini con avanzi di merda". It appears some of you have a sense of humor....type it into Google translations and enjoy the translation from Italian. Ciao!

No comments:

Post a Comment