As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, growing up was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t easy. My parents worked themselves to deep tiredness to ensure we never had to struggle as much as they had. For that I am eternally grateful, and it is in that spirit of making the most out of everything we were lucky to have, I’m running an experiment to see how many meals I can make from one humble chicken.
I’m using store cupboard essentials that I already have to hand and am going to buy extras as and when I need them. I’ll decide what I’m going to cook on the day and really go from there. These recipes are for two people over three days. But first up, as every good week should, we’re starting with a roast chicken.
Day One: Roast Chicken
For this I’m using the principles of my Red Box Roast Chicken to get that umami like skin but without the herbs, olives or lemon. I served with greens and gravy.
Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Groovejet‘ by Spiller
- 1 large chicken
- Dijon mustard
- Maldon salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan
- Slather the chicken with the dijon mustard and generously season with salt and pepper (see image below)
- Roast for 1hr 40 mins (or more, depending on the weight of your chicken).
- Once roasted, carve with scissors (legs first, then the breast). The breasts should be huge so cut these in half).
- Use two breast pieces for tonight’s meal and store the remaining chicken in a Tupperware box.
- To maximise the flavour, deglaze the roasting tin with a splash of water and pour over the chicken you are going to use tomorrow.
- Once cooled store in the fridge.
Day Two: Lemon Chicken Risotto
This part of my recipe relay makes use of all the left over chicken and produces a mammoth amount of risotto. Expect to have at least half of this left over because you’ll need it for leg three of the relay.
And I’m going to throw this out there, it also makes use of the oregano I’ve been growing in my window box. This is no mean feat for me; plants usually wilt when within three feet of me so have anything usable is an achievement.
Enough bragging, let’s get cracking.
Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘All of the Lights‘ by Kanye
- The remainder of your roast chicken
- 2 Medium onions chopped finely
- 1 Clove garlic, crushed/grated
- 2 Knorr chicken stockpots
- 1 Litre water
- 500g Arborio rice
- 40g Salted butter
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 5-6 Sprigs oregano (leaves removed)
- 80g Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper
- Strip the flesh from the chicken and chop finely, then put to one side. Put the skin and bones into a large saucepan, add the stockpots and water. Bring the pan to the boil and simmer for 20 mins then strain off the juice and discard the skin and bones. You now have the stock for your risotto.
- In a wide, heavy-bottomed pan melt the butter over a medium heat. Once melted add the onions and garlic, season well with salt and pepper and sweat them down slowly. About 10 minutes should do it.
- Once your onions are translucent, add the chicken and mix well. Then stir in your rice, making sure it’s well coated with sticky onions and melted butter.
- Add a large ladle of your homemade hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until it’s been fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add more stock and repeat until the rice is soft but also firm to the bite (al dente). This will take between 20 and 30 mins.
- At this stage, remove from the heat and add your zest, lemon juice and oregano leaves and a big knob of butter if you’re feeling extravagant, and stir through.
- Sprinkle over the parmesan and stir though and let sit, covered, for a few minutes before serving.
Day Three: Arancini
I’ve never made arancini before… those deep fried rice balls you find all over Italy but particularly in Sicily. What’s the worst that could happen… Fortune favours the brave.
I don’t pretend that these are in anyway authentic – I made mine in the shape of a golf ball not a tear drop, I used polish breadcrumbs (lockdown limits apply – as it turned out these are delicious) and I didn’t tinker with the basic risotto mix. I could have added more cheese but I feared I’d lose the lemony tang
There are no real measurements here, you’ll have to gauge the amount of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs you’ll need for the amount of leftover risotto you have. I used 2 eggs, 75g flour and 75g breadcrumbs for 12 golf ball sized arancini.
I also don’t have a deep fat fryer, so these were medium-fried (between shallow and deep) and the frying instructions are for this.
Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Happy Hour‘ by The Housemartins
- Left over lemon and chicken risotto, chilled
- Plain flour
- Eggs, beaten
- 1 litre Sunflower or vegetable oil
- Put your flour, egg and breadcrumbs into separate bowls – use a big bowl for the breadcrumbs.
- Shape enough risotto to make a golf-ball sized arancini. Roll the risotto ball in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Make sure each ball has an even coating of breadcrumbs. Repeat until you have used all your left over risotto.
- Heat your oil over a medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan (I used my stock pot). Throw some breadcrumbs in to test if it is ready… if the breadcrumbs sizzle, you are good to go.
- Fry in batches and don’t stuff the pan with arancini – they should have enough space to sizzle and fry (see video below). Fry for a total of 8 minutes but be sure to turn the arancini every 2 minutes.
- After 8 minutes, remove from the pan and put on kitchen paper to absorb the excess grease.
After a few minutes, tuck in. You deserve it after completing your three-day chicken recipe relay.