Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall offers three recipes to use one chicken as part of his UK Chicken Out campaign.
Meal one: Roast chicken Serve this with nothing more than a green salad to mop up all the herby, buttery juices.
1 plump free range chicken, weighing 1.5-2kg 25g soft butter a couple of generous handfuls of fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives and marjoram, roughly chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 1/2 glass of white wine Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.
Remove the bird from the fridge at least an hour before cooking it. Take off any trussing from the chicken and remove the giblets if they’re inside (keep them in the fridge and use them for the stock, see below). Put the bird in a roasting tin and spread out its legs from the body. Enlarge the opening of the cavity with your fingers, so hot air can circulate inside the bird.
Put the butter in a bowl, throw in the herbs and the garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Mix together with your fingers, then smear all over the chicken, outside and in.
Place in the centre of the hot oven and leave for 25-30 minutes. Then baste the chicken, turn the oven down to 180°C/gas 4, pour the wine into the tin (not over the bird) and roast the bird for another 40–60 minutes, depending on its size. You can tell when it’s done by poking a knife into the part of the bird where the thigh joins the breast; the juices released should run clear. Open the oven door, turn the oven off and leave the bird for 15–20 minutes to rest before carving.
Carve the bird in the tin, as untidily as you like, letting the slices fall into the buttery juices, then take the whole thing to the table so people can help themselves.
Chicken stock After eating your roast, let the chicken go cold then slice, pick and tease every last scrap of remaining meat from the bones. Set this aside. The carcass that’s left can now be used to make a rich, savoury stock – a potential base for any number of soups, stews, risottos or gravies.
Makes 1-1.5 litres
1 cooked chicken carcass the neck and giblets from the chicken, if you have them, but not the liver 1-2 onions, roughly chopped 1-2 large carrots, roughly chopped 2 bay leaves a few black peppercorns 3-4 celery sticks, roughly chopped ½ a large leek, roughly chopped a few chunks of peeled celeriac or parsnip (optional) 1 sprig of thyme (optional) a few parsley stalks (optional)
Tear the carcass into fairly small pieces and cram them, along with any skin, bones, fat, jelly or burnt bits from the roasting tin, into a saucepan that will take them snugly. If you have the fresh giblets, add these too (minus the liver, which can make the stock bitter – save it for sautéing). Add the vegetables and herbs, packing them in as snugly as you can so that you need no more than 1.5 litres of cold water to just cover everything.
Bring the pan to a tremulous simmer and let it cook, uncovered, for at least three hours – up to five. Top up the water once or twice, if necessary. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, leave it to cool, then chill it. A layer of fat will solidify on the top, which you can scrape off – but I don’t usually bother unless it’s excessive.
Meal two: chicken risotto If you use a good, tasty chicken stock to make a risotto, you need very few other ingredients to make a meal of it.
1.5 litres chicken stock 80g butter 1 small onion, very finely diced 400g risotto rice 1 glass white wine grated parmesan cheese and a little more butter, to finish salt and freshly ground pepper
Other ingredients: choose from about 200g peas or petits pois (defrosted if frozen) about 200g sweetcorn kernels about 300g mushrooms (fresh, dried or a mixture) 100-150g bacon, cut into little scraps anything else that takes your fancy – including chopped, leftover chicken
Bring the stock to a simmer in a pan, and keep it simmering while you cook the rice.
Heat the butter in a large pan and add the onion (if you want to use bacon, add this along with the onion). Cook gently for 10 minutes or so until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and cook for just a minute, stirring well to coat it in the butter. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until it has been absorbed by the rice.
Now start adding the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring now and then and adding a fresh ladleful of stock once the last has been absorbed. The rice should be cooked (tender but still just slightly al dente), and the risotto at the right soft, moist consistency after about 18 minutes. If you’re adding peas or sweetcorn, do so after the rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes. If you want to add mushrooms, sauté them in separate pan and add, with any juices, when the rice has almost finished cooking. Leftover chicken can go in just before the end too – just make sure it gets thoroughly reheated.
When the risotto is cooked, turn off the heat, dot a little butter all over the surface, and sprinkle with a little parmesan. Cover and leave for 2-3 minutes, then stir the melted butter and cheese into the rice. Season to taste then serve, in warmed dishes, with more parmesan.
Meal three: the leftovers Here are just three of the ways you can use up the cold meat cut from the carcass after roasting. And if none of these take your fancy, never forget that a good chicken sandwich – with fresh bread, crisp salad and mayonnaise – is a thing of joy.