The following guest blog post is by Lish Fejer creator of Green It Yourself…
I love cooking – not fancy cooking, but hearty cooking, feeding-folk sort of cooking. My idea of heaven is the prospect of cooking up a storm in a clean kitchen, good tunes, getting lots of things cooked at once (maximizing my time, pots and pans and oven being on!) and no interruptions.
Rarely do the planets align that this all happens together. It is usually a rushed affair, kids claiming to be helping, poor timing, singing nursery rhymes, dodging mess and general dishevelment.
So for the moment I am cooking food that is cheap, quick, easy and delicious – all with a sprinkling of sustainability.
I love to be resourceful – with the food, my time and energy. The more meals I can eek out from one thing and one session in the kitchen, the better. The other day I cooked up a cracking roast lamb. I’m a country girl and this is my ultimate childhood favourite. With the left-over meat and gravy I made shepherds pie and with the bones and last bits, lamb barley soup – 1 leg of lamb, 3 meals. My granny would be proud – and I really made the most of the meat and its eco-hoofprint.
I have continued to develop and look for recipes that make the most of our food and time spent cooking. I call them ‘take one, make many’ meals. For more of these recipes subscribe to my website Green It Yourself. I post a new ’take one, make many’ idea in the newsletter each month – as well as lots of other green DIY tips.
This is a great one to start on. Take one chicken and make 3 fabulous meals from it. This one makes Hainan Chicken Rice, chicken pie and risotto or soup. I may be a freak but there is a great sense of satisfaction in this. You really can mix it up any way you want, it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ style of cooking! I’d love to know what you do with one chicken – tell us in the comments!
1.) HAINAN CHICKEN RICE
This is a comforting, delicious meal-in-one dish. It is a favourite in our house. The 2, 4 and 40year olds all love it.
1 1.5kg roasting chicken*
3 sprigs coriander
3 sprigs celery leaves
3 spring onions or ½ onion (chopped)
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp salt (I put in less for kids and add more soy sauce at the end)
** I use a whole fresh chook for this recipe. I love ALDI and they have fresh, free-range chooks for around $10. Use whatever fowl you want. You can even use legs or Maryland.
For the rice
500gm long grain rice
2 Tbsp peanut oul
2 Tbsp oriental sesame oil
1 Tbsp sliced garlic
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 onion, finely sliced
For the dipping sauce
1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
1 Tbsp fresh chilli or sambal ulek
4 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp sliced hot red chilli (if you like it spicy).
Rinse our chicken.
In a saucepan add about 2 ½ litres cold water, coriander, cerery, spring onions, peppercorns and salt. Bring to the boil and gently lower chicken in, breast side down.
When water returns to the boil, reduce heat to simmering, cover pan tightly and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow chicken to finish cooking in the stored heat for 40 minutes without uncovering the pan.
Meanwhile, wash the rice. In a heavy based pan with a well-fitting lid x heat both kinds of oil and fry the garlic, ginger and onion over low heat to soften but not brown. I use a rice cooker to do all this – so easy. Remove a tablespoon or more of the flavoured oil for one of the dipping sauces.
Add rice to the pan (or rice cooker) stirring for 2 or 3 minutes until all the grains are coated with oil. Measure 4 cups of the stock from cooking the chicken and add to the pan. Bring quickly to the boil and cover with lid. Lower heat and cook very gently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered for 15 minutes longer.
Take chicken from stock and cut into bite-sized pieces. Serve chicken with dipping sauces (below), rice and steamed vegies (bok choy or any glorious green) and stock. I serve it all in one bowl.
SAUCES: For one sauce combine the reserved oil, ginger and chilli. For the other combine soy sauce and chilli. Kids might just like it with soy sauce.
This should feed a family of four (and it is delicious so you might not have much left over in which case go straight to the soup).
When you have eaten all you can (try and encourage more vegies or rice for seconds!) take the rest of the meat of the bones. It’s easier to do this while the chook is still warm. This might be a bit greasy but worth the effort.
2. ) CHICKEN PIE
I am not going to be too prescriptive with this pie. I like to fry a variety of vegies up in butter, add some flour and make a cheesy, winey white sauce. Bacon, leek, mushrooms, a big lot of old fridge vegies, frozen veg , curry … all make a good pie. In my opinion, anything in a white sauce, encrusted in a golden crust of pastry is fabulous.
Use your favourite pie recipe but if it calls for raw chicken, follow recipe as normal and , as you will be using cooked chicken, stir it just at the end before baking it.
3.) RISOTTO or SOUP
By the time you get to this recipe, there mightn’t be much chicken left on the bones but you can make a delicious stock. If you can’t be bothered, use the stock from the Hainan Chicken Rice. It’s delicious but using the carcass will make a richer.
Making stock, to me, is the ultimate use of a something. If you are boiling something to get flavour from bones, you are really making that animal’s life, and death, worthwhile.
Chicken carcass (add more chicken bits if you wish)
Bits of vegetables (my granny used to use all her washed peelings and trimmings to make the stock..not the vegetable – onion skin, carrot ends, celery leaves or chopped carrot, onion, leek, celery vegetables)
Left over stock from Hainan Chicken.
Boil altogether as long as allows (between 2 – 6 hours). The longer it cooks, the more flavor. Store in fridge for 3 days or freeze.
About the Author: Lish is Australia’s Queen of Green. Science communicator, presenter and energy efficiency aficionado, she is best known as co-presenter of ABC TV’s Carbon Cops. Lish has had an interest in energy efficiency ever since she realised it actually worked and is the creator of website Green It Yourself, which gives simple, step-by-step instruction to make green DIY is easy. She wants to make a green handy-person out of everyone – especially women as we are the ones who notice what needs doing and fixing around the house.