(1, 2 – some interesting chickens)
Perhaps I’ve been studying too much Modernist architecture, but the phrase ‘Less is More’ seems to have sunk into my mind-set, and my cooking. Of course, it could also be the tight bank budget caused by staying at uni during Easter to revise / balls & graduation tickets / desperate impulse eBay buys spurred on by hopeless boredom from revision. Whichever way you look at things, chicken is expensive and, as I refuse to buy an animal that has effectively been tortured its whole life, I can’t bring myself to buy anything other than free range. So I thought I’d share with you how I managed to use pretty much every part of such a pricey purchase!
Firstly, I buy a whole chicken, and cut it into parts. After all, a couple of chicken breasts can cost you the same as a whole bird, so you might as well start sharpening your carving knife. This delightful chap taught me how to do it, and it’s actually pretty easy if you follow the lines on the meat itself (what can’t you learn on youtube?! It’s brilliant). Once cut up, I divide the thighs, drumsticks, wings & breasts I’m left with and bag them up for the freezer – you can get plenty of meals out of them already!
For my chicken korma, I just used one chicken breast, plus half a small butternut squash, and a couple of handfuls of red lentils. To make it I used this “Spicentice” mix I found in Tesco reduced section (now really sad I didn’t buy more of them, they were amazing!) which came with a sachet of marinade spice you add to your chicken, yoghurt, garlic & ginger mix and leave for half an hour; a packet of cinnamon bark/cardamom pods/cloves that you fry with onion, more ginger & garlic and eventually the third spice mix plus all of your other ingredients (squash, lentils, tomato puree, chicken & marinade and coconut milk or cream) along with some water. VERY good. And made about 4 servings, with just one chicken breast!
One thing remained at this point though… the carcass. I didn’t have much in the way of vegetables to make a stock with, so I just boiled it up anyway in a large pot for about an hour with water & salt, then strained off the liquid once this was done. I also picked off any bits of good meat that had cooked on the carcass for my soup. And with similar ingredients to the Korma I made a simple soup…I fried an onion & some garlic, added ginger, paprika & cumin, added the rest of the squash (which I had roasted in the oven), the chicken pieces & more lentils. Finally, add the chicken stock, a few spoons of coconut milk and simmer for 15 mins. Easy. I’m off to eat it for lunch now!