One thing I have yet to directly address in my cooking posts is the stated theme of my blog–inspired cooking while living alone. If you look at my post about preserving beans, or about making granola, both are really designed to make cooking for one easy on short notice. I’m all about shortcuts to allow me to make big batches of foods and store them for later use. Freezing and canning are two great ways to cook in large batches and store foods for later use when I’m ready.
One of the best ways to do both is to roast chickens and then make stock. I figure that if I’m going to bother to roast a chicken, I might as well roast two. I roast the two chickens and then freeze the extra meat to use for future meals. Then I can use the leftover bones and bits of meat to make a stock to save for future cooking as well.
I begin by stuffing the skin of the breast with butter and thyme. The beautiful thing about cooking for the freezer is that it doesn’t have to be lovely to impress your dinner guests. Even if you get a little bit rough and tear the skin, it wont really hurt anything. I preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and spread about 2 tbsp of butter under the skin of the breast of each chicken. I then add in 4-5 sprigs of thyme where the butter has been spread. I salt and pepper the outside of the chicken, then bake, basting occasionally for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the temperature registers at least 165 degrees.
After the chicken has cooled, I cut off each of the breast fillets, trying to keep it in one piece. I wrap the breasts in saran wrap, then store in ziploc bags in the freezer.
I then shred the remainder of the meat from the chickens, and store any I wont use in the next day or two in freezer bags. I made a great chicken salad with some of the shredded chicken meat, and will share that quick and easy recipe tomorrow.
Don’t forget to save the bones and skin for making stock–that’s coming soon, too!