1. Meat – Harvest the meat from the bone to be used in any capacity. In our case we grind the meat in order to make chicken jerky.
2. Skin – We skin the quarter of chicken and put it on a grate over a dish and place it in the oven at 350. I watch as the skins brown and crisp up (anywhere from 25 mins to 1 hr… just keep checking). I remove them when they are entirely hard and put them on a cloth to absorb any excess fat. These are super yummy on their own (certainly not in excess…. despite the amazingly addictive flavour)….I’ve been known to add Himalayan sea salt and ground rosemary & thyme prior to putting them in the oven….. oh yes I did! ….they were AWESOME! Use your imagination… curry powder or cumin… garlic…k. You Get It. I’ve also been known to crumble some over a fresh salad served with the chicken. Delish. Gotta love Crackling.
3. Rendered Chicken Fat – The cool thing about making the skin (aka crackling) is you also make rendered chicken fat at the same time. Make sure prior to cooking the skins that there is no meat or bone on the skin… this will prolong its shelf life tremendously. After the skins have transformed into little crunchy pieces of deliciousness, you'll notice that there is clear liquid in the dish. HARVEST THIS NECTER!!! It’s rendered chicken fat. GREAT FOR A PALEO DIET! Strain it through cheesecloth before putting it in a jar. Cap the jar and let it cool to room temperature. You will note it changes colour (as it solidifies). Once cool to the touch then place in the fridge for random use. Just scoop out what you need! It cooks at a high heat which makes it beautiful for roasting vegetables or simply as a dab of oil as required. I am also a fan of using it for making fresh popcorn as it gives it a yummy flavour. So ya….Keep this! It will last for a VERY LONG TIME in the fridge.
4. Bones – Without a doubt making broth is often my motivator for pulling a quarter chicken out of our freezer.... between you and me what to do with the meat is completely secondary. There is nothing better than homemade broth from yummy tasty organic grass-fed chicken! Grass-fed chicken is naturally more flavourful (try it yourself if you don’t believe me) ~ you see it’s all in the grass! So throwing the uncooked bones into a slow-cooker with some organic carrots, onions and celery greens is just like a gift from the earth (yes….I did just say that!). So take the time and make the broth. I recommend putting the bones and veg in a slow-cooker with water added only to the top of the bones (don’t over water as this weakens the flavour of the broth) set at low and walk away….. for like 10 hours. When you return strain the contents through a sieve and place the broth in a jar ~ cap the jar and let it cool on the counter…..um…..or just leave it in the slow-cooker and add your soup ingredients….WHY WAIT??? Happy soup making!
5. Pet Food – After the broth has been separated you are left with a whole lot of yumminess ~ maybe not the most appealing to guests or family but in that mess is a dinner of champions for your furry little….or big…..friends. Separate ALL bones from the meat and veg ~ this is extremely important as chicken bones are not animal friendly! For our Bella I take out the celery greens and most of the onions as she’s not a fan…. I leave behind a healthy amount of chicken meat and some delicious soft carrots, a stray onion or two and a little broth. I tell you she’s one happy puppy!!!
So there you have it!
One chicken quarter can provide 5…. count em’… FIVE GASTRO DELIGHTS! Who knew? ….
WASTE NOT WANT NOT