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Rotisserie Chicken (RC) Part 5

Quite a few years ago while in Paris my friend Jérémie took me to this small little restaurant for dinner which for the life of me I can’t remember where it is. I do remember what I had though. That night I had my first of many cassoulets.

A cassoulet is a slow cooked casserole originating from the south of France. It generally contains meat and white beans. I’ve made traditional cassoulets and I’ve made quick variations of them. For this last rotisserie chicken post I’m going to show you a variation.

If you’ve been following all of the posts then you’ll remember a few things from earlier. I start with two cups of the chicken stock we made in the beginning. We also add the leftover roasted vegetables and whatever is left of the chicken. At this point we’ve wasted nothing from the previous meals.

Add a can of white beans (I like Northern Beans). I sautéed a little onion and bacon together. A traditional cassoulet will contain pork skin but I’m not making enough to constitute that so bacon will have to do. I also added some cherry tomatoes from the garden only because I needed to use them up.

I will usually add pork sausage but I found some really interesting Bison Maple Blueberry sausage at the farmers market so I decided to go with that. Being that we have some roasted delacata and brussel sprouts I figured I would play up the fall flavors a bit. Salt, pepper, herbs and stick it in the oven.

For quick variations like this you don’t need to cook it long as everything is already cooked (I grilled the sausage and sautéed the bacon) and really only need to be heated up. You do want the flavors to meld together so you will want to give it some time. A traditional cassoulet is a three day affair so being done in an hour is a lot of cutting of corners.

While I could have attempted to eat the whole thing I portioned it out over two nights. It’s a great hearty dish for when the weather turns chilly. I make these quite often. YOu can usually get away with making them with one pork sausage, one boneless chicken thigh and a little bacon. I do however recommend having one at a good French restaurant if you get the opportunity.

So there we are. One $6 chicken and four different meals. Hope you enjoyed seeing how you can take something simple and spreading it out over five nights. I forgot to price everything out but we probably ended up at about $6 per meal.

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Rotisserie Chicken (RC) Part 4

I’ve been reverting back to my childhood self the past few meals and with the exception of the tomatoes in the red sauce avoiding vegetables all together. So to make up for it we did an easy dish of Sage Pesto Chicken with Roasted Vegetables. We have a sage plant in our garden that is out of control by April and continues producing well into October. I’ll cut it down at the end of the season but by spring it is back and raring to go. Because of this I make a lot of dried herbs and sage pesto. The recipe for sage pesto is about the same as it would be for a basil pesto but the flavor is quite different. It is very earthy and not nearly as bright. You have to be careful with that you pair it with because the whole meal can get heavy very quickly. For the chicken I covered the second chicken breast with the pesto in a roasting pan and put it in the oven to reheat.

Roasted vegetables are very easy to make as well. For this dish I used delicata squash, brussel sprouts and a little bit of potato that I have left over from a fish and chips dish I made earlier in the week. Delicata a great squash I got turned on to last year. They cook about the same as most squash but you don’t need to peel them which was something I have forgotten until Sarah reminded me. Cut all your vegetables into roughly the same size pieces (this will ensure the cook evenly), cover with some olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss them all together to make sure they are coated well and place them in an oven at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. You’ll want to stir them up every so often to make sure they cook equally on all sides.

When they’re done they should have some browning and nice caramelization. The roasting brings out the sweetness of the vegetables which is nice against the heaviness of the sage pesto. You might want to add something with a pop of color on the plate to make the dish more lively if you’re a serving guests but I was fine with an earthy color palette for this dish.

In part 5 we’ll use the last of the chicken exactly how you should use left overs.

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Rotisserie Chicken (RC) Part 3

So far on the cooking front we haven’t gone too far in regards to actual cooking. Well part 3 goes a little deeper although this could have been done easier as well. Sarah was making some red sauce with tomatoes from the garden so I decided I would get in on that. There was a little mozzarella left over from a dish last week so I figured why not make chicken parmigiana with one of the chicken breasts?

Like I said, this could have been real easy but if there’s two things I really enjoy making it’s fresh ricotta and fresh pasta. They are both so easy to make but most people think they’re difficult. Ricotta is three ingredients and takes about 20 minutes to make in a small batch like this. Pasta is four ingredients and can be done in about the same amount of time. Of course you could just buy pasta and ricotta in the store but what would be the fun in that? I’m assuming your’e here because you like cooking.

While the pasta was boiling I place the chicken breast in a small baking pan, covered with red sauce, ricotta and mozzarella and let heat do it’s work. From there it was simply placing the pasta on the bottom of the dish and topping with the chicken parmigiana – nice and easy.

In part 4 we start getting our vegetables which have been lacking the past two meals.

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Rotisserie Chicken (RC) Part 2

So the main reason why you buy a rotisserie chicken at the store as opposed to roasting one yourself at home is for the convenience of it. In part 1 we broke down the entire bird and then made 6 cups of chicken stock from scratch. Not really the simple easy meal we were hoping for up to this point. Well this is were that changes.

We are going super easy for the first full meal and opting for a picnic plate. I took the two drumsticks and a small 8oz portion of potato salad (also store bought) and a couple of slices of toast because I like bread with my meals. You can’t get any easier than this which makes it a perfect dish for when you need something quick.

In part 3 we get back to preparing things from scratch.

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Rotisserie Chicken (RC) Part 1

So the other while walking through the supermarket I passed by the rotisserie chicken section and thought – “I haven’t had one of those in a while.” Being in a omnivore / vegan-ish household doesn’t afford me a lot of options to have a whole chicken unless I plan it out and make a meal plan. So that’s what I did and here’s part 1 of the plan.

First thing you need to do is break down the bird unless you plan on just leaving it in your refrigerator and picking at it all week. If that’s your plan you can ignore the rest of this post as well as parts 2, 3, 4 & 5. I try to keep the breasts and drumsticks as intact as possible but usually the rest of it I don’t even bother.

So the first thing I want to do is make sure that nothing gets wasted so I plan on making a batch of chicken stock. This time around I bought pre-packaged mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot) for the sake of ease. At $2.99 it’s less expensive than buying all the ingredients individually. Normally I would go that route but I knew I didn’t have a need for all the extra celery and carrots and I hate wasting food. Sometimes I got more expensive if it produces less waste.

Place the mirepoix in the bottom of a large pot with a little butter and oil. Sauté everything down until the onions becomes translucent.

Now we throw in all the chicken bones and scraps that remain. This is all flavor and will get strained out so it’s all fair game. Add 8 cups of water to the pot.

Add salt and pepper to taste. I also add in the dried herb blend I make. It varies by whatever is growing in the garden so this past weekend it was sage, rosemary and thyme. Let the stock simmer for 45 – 60 minutes periodically stirring and more importantly tasting it as you go. The flavor will develop over time but you may want to make slight adjustments along the way.

When you get the taste to your liking strain everything out through a kitchen sieve (I add a piece of cheesecloth as well). You want to make sure you’re using something with a tight mesh to avoid having any small bone fragments getting through. You can strain it a few times if you’d like to be sure.

Depending how much evaporated during simmering you should end up with about 6 cups of stock which is a lot especially if you don’t have a plan. I portion it out into 1 cup portions and freeze them until I need them. I find it easier to have small amounts handy rather than keeping one large container.

My secret is those small snack sized zip-loc bags. Not only are they good for portioning out 100 calories snacks but they hold right around 1 cup of liquid. If you do it right you can also seal it without any air. Keep these in your freezer and you’ll always have stock on hand.

In part 2 we’ll actually start eating.