Evolution of a Dish: Roast Chicken

As a frugal cook, roast chicken is one of my all time favorite things to make. It supplies the basic ingredients for a week’s worth of meals, which is pretty great when you live in Southern California and the thermometer hit a ghastly 98 degrees today and you can’t bear the thought of turning your oven on again, not ever, for as long as you live.

There’s the juicy, herbal-scented meat of the roast chicken itself which can be made into a gazillion different sandwiches or salads, the just-out-of-the-oven crispy, salty, skin that puffs up ready to be peeled from the steaming meat, and last but not least, there’s the bones. Full of gelatinous goodness. Homemade chicken broth simply cannot be beat, and the carcass of a roasted chicken is a thrifty girl’s necessary first ingredient.

Though some argue that starting broth from a new, raw chicken yields the best results, I’ve found that as long as you don’t pick your carcass dry there’s still plenty of meat left clinging to the bones to flavor the broth. Besides, boiling the whole chicken would mean no crispy skin. And no crispy skin does not a happy cook make.

Anyway, back to the title of this post. I wanted to show just how much of a culinary workhorse a roast chicken can be.

This week, what started as an hearty roast chicken and roasted root vegetable dinner on Sunday…

…turned into chicken stock by Monday.

And a healthy chicken veggie soup by Tuesday.

I used Alice Waters’s recipe from The Art of Simple Food for both the chicken and the broth. Though I turned to Chef Waters in this case, the instructions were basic- no real surprises here, and I’m sure your Mom’s tried and true recipe would work equally as well!

**And in case you wondering, the green tinge you see on the roast are herbs stuffed under the skin (I used rosemary and marjoram.) They provide a great aromatic quality to the meat, and are not signs of a Frankenstein deformity on my precious chicken thank you very much.

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