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Everlasting Chicken

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is to roast a chicken, and then see how many meals I can get out of it over the week. Using a quality, locally raised bird is pricey, but you’ll make sure not to waste a bit of it, and the taste is markedly better. Many chefs recommend using a small chicken for more flavor and tenderness. Here, I used a four-pound bird form Josh’s Foraging Fowls farm, located near Willcox and available at the Tucson CSA. You may need to adjust the cooking time de-pending on the size of your bird. A good meat thermometer is a must.

Since you’ll have the oven on full blast for an hour or so, take advantage of the heat and roast your veggies for the week. This is one of the many tips I cherish from Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal. I like to roast my veggies separately from the chicken, because I am particular about getting a nice brown sear on them. But if you like, you could toss the potatoes in the chicken pan in the last 30 minutes. Roast other veggies and cook some lentils while your chicken is roasting away. Store all this goodness for a salad later in the week. (Cold roasted vegetables are my jam, but you could re-warm gently.) Whip up your dressing on Sunday, too. Store it away like a squirrel in the fall. This dressing is tangy and thickened by tahini rather than the emulsifiers in store-bought dressings.

After I finish roasting my veggies and bird, I immediately set about making stock. It’s truly a cinch if you use a crock pot. Once you carve the bird and pick off all usable meat, throw the bones into a large crock pot. Add a broken carrot and a couple of broken stalks of celery, a halved onion, any herb scraps you have lying around, a bay leaf, and a generous amount of table salt. Set the crock pot on high for 6 hours or overnight. Taste and add more salt if needed. You can also accomplish this by simmering all the same ingredients in a pot for 1-2 hours. Strain, cool, and use in a few days for farrotto (basically, risotto made with farro), or freeze and use for soup. Homemade stock is ten timesbetter than store-bought, and it creates no waste.

No matter what meals you’re cooking for the week, consider frittata as your Monday or Tuesday night leftover-reviver. Any bits of veg-gies, greens, cured meats, or odd pieces of cheese will shine again in a frittata. Get creative and make up your own. A favorite frittata I made recently was with leftover roast broccoli, feta, and prosciutto. I often have leftovers, so I sandwich slices of cold frittata between buttered toast for an on-the-go breakfast.