This whole COVID19 quarantine business is surreal in so many ways. But one thing I didn't see coming was the surge in chain letters. I guess the lack of real human connection and the sudden void of busy-ness has us spiraling back to the olden days. Anyway, I received a chain letter asking for a #quarantinecooking recipe, and I thought... what's better than a recipe? Three recipes in one. Because if you're going to make dinner, you might as well get a few more meals out of it.
So here's what you do. One night, you roast or grill a chicken. You serve it for dinner with lots of sides (to stretch the chicken!). You make chicken broth. You use some leftover meat for a delicious Cobb salad, and you make soup with the rest. Keep reading for the details, and stay safe and healthy!
Grilled or Roasted Spatchcocked Chicken
1 3- to 4-pound chicken (organic is great, but use what you can find!)
olive oil or soft butter
If you've never spatchcocked a chicken, you must try it! It seriously reduces the cooking time on a whole chicken, and helps it cook evenly without drying out. It's not very hard, either. Here's a video showing the basic technique. You can do it with a chef knife, but it's much easier with sturdy kitchen shears. These are similar to the ones I have. I like that you can pull them completely apart and put them in the dishwasher - that way they get thoroughly clean.
Cut the backbone out of the chicken (save it for your bone broth!) and flatten it. Pat dry, then gently separate the skin from the breasts and thighs without tearing it. Use your hands to spread the olive oil or butter all over under and over the skin. Season liberally with the kosher salt, especially under the skin. This helps to season all the way through the meat. Leave it to soak in for about 30 minutes (this process is called dry brining). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 or prep your grill. On the grill: When the coals are ready, bank them all to one side of the grill. Put the chicken directly over the coals, skin side down for 10 minutes, and then flip it over and move it to the other side of the grill with the legs closest to the coals. Cook for another 30-40 minutes, until the meat is pulling away from the bones and the juices run clear. In the oven: Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the juice runs clear. Serve with lots of sides!
Chicken Bone Broth
Remove all the meat from the chicken bones and place the bones, the back, and any pieces that came in the little bag into a large pot. I have an instant pot, which I love, but you can use any large pot. Add some veggie pieces - onion, carrot, celery, garlic - and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (this helps to draw the minerals out of the bones), and cover the whole thing with water. (Note about the veggies: I've started keeping a gallon-sized bag in my freezer and putting scraps in anytime I have them. Carrot scrapings, onion skins and roots, herb stems, anything that's about to go bad - all of it goes into the pot when I'm making broth!) In the instant pot, set it to manual and cook on high for 4 hours, then do a natural release. This is always an overnight process for me. Otherwise, simmer for 12 hours or longer on low. Strain and refrigerate!
Chicken Cobb Salad
mixed baby greens or lettuces
cherry tomatoes, halved
crisp bacon, cut up
blue cheese or feta
hard boiled eggs
Equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Arrange all the ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with dressing, toss and serve!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
When I open a can of chipotles in adobo, I use one or two in the recipe and then I line a sheet pan with parchment and scoop the remaining chiles individually onto the parchment. Then I freeze it. After it's frozen, I put the chiles into a container and the next time I need one, I don't have to open a new can!
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 small onion or half of one large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
3 Tablespoons neutral cooking oil
1 quart chicken broth
1-2 cups leftover cooked chicken, cubed
Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic into a blender or food processor and puree. Place a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the oil. Pour in the pureed tomato mixture and cook for a few minutes, until it thickens slightly and the color darkens a bit. Add the chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes or so, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chicken and cook for a minute to warm. Place a handful of crushed tortilla chips in each bowl, then ladle over some soup. Top with avocado, cilantro, queso fresco, and a squeeze of lime. Dig in!