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January 5, 2011

My menu for the week ..

– Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
– Red wine vinegar chicken (thighs)
– Honey-chili chicken & leftovers atop salads
– Chicken quesadillas
– Something gloriously not chicken

So, I am at the store and looking at buying at least 5 packages of chicken. Necks etc. and wings for the chicken stock, thighs for the red wine vinegar concoction, lots of breasts for the honey-chili, quesadillas and soup. This will end up costing me at least  $25. And chances are we’ll end up going out one night and I’ll waste a package of chicken by waiting to cook it for too long.

My new solution – buy a whole chicken and butcher it. I have no training on how to butcher a bird and just a little practice at carving them. I just winged it – and it’s surprisingly gratifying! I need a better knife (I used one of those super sharp colorful paring knives your mom buys you every single christmas) but other than missing a little bit of the breast meat on the bones I think I did a halfway decent  job.

I saved the breast and thighs for the future dinners. I took the meat off the drumsticks and grilled it in strips for the quesadillas. The only part I discarded was most of the skin (we’re so healthy). I roasted the ribcage. neck, spine and the wings for my chicken stock.

$10.25 for a 5ish pound chicken (because I shop at a store that plays classical music) and I have meat for 4 dinners and some fantastic homemade chicken broth (enough to use for the soup and to some to freeze for next week). Eventually I’d like to find a farm nearby where I can buy the birds directly and just skip the overpriced supermarket entirely.

Believe me – butchering is utilitarian bliss.

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