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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cooking Whole Chickens

I realize a lot of people these days just don't know what to do with a whole chicken. When I was growing up that's pretty much all you got in the grocery store. Then they started selling them whole cut-up chickens and since they were about the same price it was easier and less time consuming to buy the cut-up bird. Now most people just buy the parts they want to eat. While I get that a lot of people think that is the most economical way to purchase chicken, because they may only want to eat the breast, or legs, it's not. You can still purchase a whole chicken at a price per pound that is a lot less than boneless-skinless breast.  My goal today is to help you with cooking a whole chicken.

If you are purchasing a whole chicken from the grocery, I recommend washing it. Remove any feathers, or yellow outer skin. One of my favorite ways to cook it is in the slow cooker. You will need:

1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut in half the short way
1 stalk celery, cut in half
1 stem of fresh sage, (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Poultry seasoning

Place the cleaned chicken in the slow cooker breast side down. Salt & Pepper the back side then sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Flip the bird over so the breast side is up. Stuff the cavity with the onion, carrot & celery. Then push the fresh sage as far inside as you can. If the sage is sticking outside the cavity that is okay. Salt & Pepper the breast side of the bird then sprinkle with sage. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

I usually serve this with mashed potatoes and gravy (made from the drippings in the slow cooker), and a green vegetable.

You should have plenty of broth in the slow cooker to use for the next meal. Once you have finished you meal, pick any remaining meat off the bones and store in the fridge. Also, save the broth because you are going to need it to make a chicken casserole for another night. You can still boil the bones and make more broth. Just put the whole carcass, onions and all, in a pot full of water. Add more onions, carrots & celery (sometimes I use the tops of carrots and the ends of onions and celery, you know, the stuff you usually throw away) bring to a boil then simmer for an hour or so. Strain and freeze in 1 cup portions.

Chicken Casserole
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth (use the can from the chicken soup)
1 bag stuffing mix (I use Pepperidge Farms cornbread)
1/2 stick butter, melted

Spread the chicken in the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish. Mix the cream of chicken soup and 1 can of chicken broth together and pour over chicken.

Mix the butter, stuffing mix and enough broth together to give it a nice, moist consistency (usually about 2 cups). Bake at 350° until browned and bubbly making sure it is hot all the way through.

We usually have leftovers of this for lunches for a couple of days.

Sorry I don't have pictures yet, but will work on that this weekend.

Here is a link to another recipe for whole chickens:Rosemary Chicken & Potatoes

There is just so much you can do with a whole chicken that makes it so much more economical than parts. And, trust me, your family will not even know they are eating the parts they don't like when you put them in a casserole.

Have a great day!

Linking with the Homestead Barn Hop

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