What to do with a whole chicken? Part 1

When it comes down to it, when buying meat, buying a whole chicken is the best value you’re going to find.  So my husband and I asked ourselves: How many meals can we get out of one of these things?

They average around 6-8 pounds a piece, so there’s plenty to eat.  I mean, it would be easy enough to roast it once and call it done for the week, but what’s the fun in spending most of a week eating the same-seasoned leftover chicken? I mean, it’d be a great opportunity to explore the world of side dishes, but that’s not what I’m after. So we took the challenge.  We bought a whole chicken.  And with my darling’s mad carving skills, he dismantled the bird, and we put the carcass in the freezer for the end of the week (I’ll get to that in part 2.)   This was a great chance to dive into Weber’s Big Book of Grilling – not that we were going to grill in this kind of cold; even if you’re going to cook the meat inside, this is a great resource for spice rubs, marinades, sauces, and brines.  This post is brought to you by this book.

The first night, we soaked the breasts in a north African-inspired marinade.  The book suggests for all their rubs and marinades to be on the meat 1-4 hours before cooking, so in all cases here I put them on two hours before cooking.  I made to go with it some couscous, mostly because a few weeks ago I made couscous as a side and needed to use up what was left.  I’m not sure it’s an authentic meal, but it sure was tasty, and that’s really what I’m after.

North African Marinade (from Weber’s)

  • 1/2 C fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 C fresh mint leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1-2 dashes hot sauce

Combine everything in a large plastic bowl, then put the chicken in with it, turning to coat well.  Refridgerate for 1-4 hours.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pour chicken and marinade into baking dish, bake for 30 minutes, until done.

The best way to travel is on a plate.
The best way to travel is on a plate.

Apricot Mint Couscous

  • 2 C Israeli couscous
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C chopped dried apricots
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • About 20 mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • the juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil, heat over medium heat.  When warm, add the shallot and jalapeno.  When soft, add the broth, coucous, apricots, and mint.  Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and let cook until the liquid is absorbed and the coucous is cooked, about 8 minutes.  Uncover and add the lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

The second night we had wings, but I forgot to take a picture of them.  We used the Type A rub, which I have a feeling would be great on pork chops or salmon.  On the side we had eggplant casserole.  Check that out here.

Type-A Rub (from Weber’s)

  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

The last I’ll give you this week is the rub I used  on the the legs.  I baked these the same as I baked the breasts, only I left them in for around 45 minutes, as leaving the bones in meat will make the take longer to cook.  As you can tell in the picture, I always cut into my meat, just to be safe.

Asian Rub (from Weber’s)

Book was right, one can go on even bad food with the right spices.
Book was right, one can go on even bad food with the right spices.
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried lemongrass
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne

Tip of the week: If you choose leave a marinade or a rub on meat in the fridge overnight, make sure to put it in a glass or plastic container, as a metal bowl can affect the flavor, and never for good.