There’s a lot to love about the whole fryers that you can pick up at the supermarket:
The Price: We sometimes snag them for as low as 69 cents per pound. That means we get a 4-pound bird for as low as $2.79. Even 99 cents per pound is still a good bargain. You might say “but some of that is bones.” True, but bones mean flavor and moisture. And bones have other uses. Read on…..
The Method: Baking a whole fryer is one of the easiest things in the world to do. Baked chicken in its own juices is delicious as is (kind of like bacon!) and needs almost no seasonings. To cook in the oven: I simply rub the raw chicken with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt, garlic powder and paprika (or poultry seasoning) and pop in the oven uncovered. You can also tuck things inside the cavity of the bird like rosemary, thyme, garlic and lemon wedges. If you want to keep the bottom of the chicken from getting soggy, set a rack in the pan, or just stick some carrots and celery under there to keep it raised up. Twenty minutes per pound at 350 and you have an easy meal that looks, smells and tastes divine. To cook in a crock pot: Lightly spray the pot with oil. Set the chicken inside, sprinkle with desired seasonings and set to low. Walk away and come back in 7 hours to find dinner done.
The Possibilities: If you have a huge family, this might not apply, but you can usually get a second meal out of baked chicken. My top three favorites are (1) turning the carcass and leftover meat into soups like basic broth, chicken noodle, chicken and rice or chicken chili; (2) chopping up the leftover meat and combining it with cream of chicken soup, veggies and herbs to make a pot pie (with a biscuit or store-bought crust); and (3) making chicken and cheese quesadillas for lunch the next day.
The Appeal: All of our children love baked chicken, right down to baby Susanna. Even my pickiest eaters have never refused chicken. And it’s a lean and healthy source of protein.
Share your ideas for baking whole fryers and using the leftovers in a comment below!
Images courtesy myrecipes.com