I hate to waste food and time, so I am always looking for ways to save both. This way of preparing chicken has been a feature of my weekend cooking for as long as I can remember. It takes very little prep time and it gives you a main meal on the day you prepare it plus the basis for two more mains and a couple of lunches in the week. Like the sound of this?
HERE IS WHAT YOU DO:
Firstly buy a plump, organic, free range chicken, the size depends on how many people you are going to feed, anything between 1kg to 1.2kg in weight will be perfect. Buying organic, free range is a non-negotiable option here. It’s the only way you are going to get decent depths of flavour and when you think how far the chicken is going to stretch it is definitely worth paying that little extra for it.
Start by making a delicious homemade chicken broth bursting with nourishment and flavour. This will take a good 3 hours to cook but after the first 10 minutes prep time, it’ll require next to no attention, leaving you free to read the weekend papers, catch up with family or whatever else you need to do.
With very little effort you have the base for several delicious, quick-to-assemble healthy meals and some delicious chicken for lunchbox salads or wraps.
CHICKEN BROTH – MAKES 3-4 LITRES
Simple, delicious and nourishing this broth will keep in the fridge for 3 -4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
|1 organic, free range chicken
Small bunch of parsley
1 tbsp whole black pepper corns
3 stalks of celery
3 vine tomatoes
Place the chicken in a large saucepan and cover it with water. Place the pan on a very low heat and bring slowly to a gentle simmer. This will take approximately 1 hour.
Peel the carrot and onion, wash the tomatoes, celery and parsley and leave it whole. When the water start to simmer remove the lid from the pan and skim the foam that has formed on top of the water with a spoon. Add the vegetables to the pan, cover with the lid and continue cooking on a slow heat for a further 30 min.
Take the chicken out of the broth and carve it. Put the carcass back in the broth and continue cooking for a further 1 hour. Turn the heating off and leave it to cool.
Strain with a sieve into a clean bowl and refrigerate. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze it in glass container for up to 2 months.
TORTELLONI WITH HOMEMADE BROTH
Healthy, fast food for busy weeknights!
|1 litre homemade chicken broth
4 tbsp grated parmesan
|500g fresh tortelloni
Put the broth in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Add the tortelloni and a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium heat according to packet instructions.
Before serving, flake a third of the poached chicken into the soup, ladle into soup bowls sprinkle with parmesan and a generous grind of black pepper.
RESTORATIVE CHICKPEA AND TOMATO SOUP
Serves 4 ready in 30 minutes
A substantial soup, rich in protein, fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. A balanced meal in a bowl!
|600ml homemade chicken broth
2 sticks celery
1 green chilli
4 slices sourdough bread
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2tbsp olive oil sea salt black pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 bunch spring onions
50g sundried tomatoes
400g tin chopped chickpeas
Put the sundried tomatoes in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak.
Wash the parsley and celery and finely chop. Wash and trim the spring onions and finely slice. Peel and thinly slice the carrots. Wash, deseed and finely chop the chilli. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.
Warm the oil in a pan. Add the spring onions, celery and parsley, sprinkle with a little salt and soften for about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan.
Drain the sundried tomatoes, roughly chop them and add to the pan with the carrots and chilli. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Add the drained chickpeas and tinned tomatoes with their liquid to the pan and stir to combine.
After a couple of minutes, add the chicken stock and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.
To serve, toast the slices of sourdough. Put a slice into individual bowls then ladle over the soup and sprinkle with a generous grinding of black pepper.
RISOTTO WITH MOZZARELLA, BASIL & TOMATOES
Serves 4 ready in 25 min
Soothing, creamy risotto. A hug on a plate!
25g unsalted butter
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1.2 l homemade chicken broth
|1 tbsp torn fresh basil leaves
350g Arborio rice
Put the chicken broth in a saucepan, add a generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and keep it at a low simmer.
Peel and finely chop the onion. Drain and finely dice the mozzarella. Wash and roughly tear the basil leaves.
Melt the butter in a wide pan. Add the chopped onion, sprinkle with a little salt and cook for a few minutes until soft, stirring frequently to prevent it sticking to the pan. Add the rice to the pan and stir well to coat the grains with the butter.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stir the mixture with a spoon. Turn the heat down to simmer.
Add a ladle of hot broth or stock to the rice and stir continuously until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat until you have used all the broth or stock and the rice has been cooking for 17 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Add the chopped mozzarella and torn basil leaves. Stir well, cover the saucepan and leave to rest for 3 minutes.
Stir the rice again to ensure the mozzarella has melted. Add a generous grind of black pepper and serve immediately.
CHICKEN AND MANGO SALAD
Serves 2 ready in 20 min
|200g cooked chicken
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
|1 fresh mango
1 tbsp snipped chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Peel and dice the mango, wash and snip the chives. Mix the juice of the lime with the yogurt and mustard and season with a little salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Put the diced mango and cooked chicken in bowl, pour over the mustard dressing and mix well. Sprinkle with the snipped chives and serve with rye bread or boiled brown basmati rice.