Sunday 21 January 2018

Transform 1 roast chicken into 3 meals

Feeling the pinch when it comes to your shopping bill? Make one roast chicken last for three meals.

Pan-roasted whole chicken with carom seeds.
Pan-roasted whole chicken with carom seeds.
Butternut Roast Chicken Pasta - Caitriona Redmond

Caítriona Redmond

I have this thing about roast chicken.

Maybe it's something from my childhood but the smell of a roasting chicken in the oven makes me feel like a Bisto kid when I walk into a house. It's the ultimate Sunday roast for me, and I normally cook it once or twice a fortnight. Most people don't realise how frugal a roast chicken can be, maybe because they throw away the carcass after the main event (the roast dinner) or perhaps because they just see the initial cost of buying a chicken. Have you figured out that if you're careful a roast chook will last for 3 meals?

You can expect to pay between €3-€5 for a whole medium chicken in supermarkets and butchers. If you are careful about how you treat the chicken, you will be able to eke out your meal and be left with very little food waste as a bonus. The vegetables mentioned here are only suggestions, make the most of the offers available where you shop and buy what's in season. Using value ranges in the shops at the moment, the list of ingredients below will cost you under €9.50. Considering you will get 2 main meals and 1 lunch for 5 people from these ingredients that will cost you under €0.63 per portion.



1 medium whole chicken

600g carrots

200g frozen peas

200g frozen sweetcorn

1.5kg potatoes

1 large onion

1 butternut squash

500g spaghetti


Store Cupboard Ingredients

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

Chopped sage (optional)



Meal 1: Roast Chicken Dinner

(serves 5)


• 1 whole chicken

• 750g potatoes

• 300g carrots

• 100g frozen peas

• 100g frozen sweetcorn



You need a roasting try with a grill rack inside.  I use my grill tray because I’m tight on space so don’t have the luxury of having both.

Have the chicken at room temperature. If it’s been sitting in the fridge then leave it out for at least 2 hours before you plan to cook. What I do is if I’m going to cook chicken for an evening meal, I take it out in the morning before/after the kids go to school.

Preheat your (fan) oven to 150 degrees Celcius. Don’t put your meat into a cold oven.

Boil a kettle of water before you start. Take the chicken out of the packaging, cut off any strings or elastics that might be holding it together. This allows the heat to circulate around the bird better. Now place the chicken on the rack.

Pick up the kettle of boiling water and pour the hot water over the chicken itself so that you scald the bird.  It only takes about 500ml of hot water to do this. Season with salt and pepper.

Now here’s the secret, I keep all my old butter wrappers for roast chickens. It takes about 2 x 1lb butter wrappers for each bird. Cover the chicken with the butter wrappers then cover these with a second layer of tin foil, shiny side facing inwards.

Open the oven, put the chicken inside and before closing, 3/4 fill the rest of the roasting tray with hot water from the kettle. Cook for 2 hours, 30 mins at 150 degrees Celcius. After which time, remove the wrappers and roast for another 20 minutes – this will give you that golden colour.

Finally, take the chicken from the oven and recover with the wrappers, lift onto a plate and rest for 30 minutes before serving.

So for 1 medium chicken (which is what I normally cook) put it into the oven at 2pm, take it out at 4.30pm, back in until 4.50pm and rest for 30 minutes. This means your simple roast chicken will be ready by 5.30pm to serve to the family. Couple your roast chicken with mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, peas and sweetcorn.


Meal 2:

Chicken Broth


• 750g potatoes, peeled & chopped into small chunks

• 300g carrotes, peeled & chopped into small chunks

• 100g frozen peas

• 100g frozen sweetcorn

The next step is to pull any of the remaining chicken from the carcass of the chicken. So that involves getting your hands dirty, removing the skin and picking it over with a fine tooth comb. The reason why I use no seasonings other than salt and pepper (and butter wrappers) for the chicken is so that I can use the carcass for stock afterwards.

Roast the chicken meat free (picked over) carcass at 200 degrees Celcius for 30 minutes before plunging into 1 litre of simmering water for 2 hours. Allow to cool a little before straining the stock away from the carcass (be careful it's hot). Return the stock to the pot, add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for a further 20 minutes, add the frozen peas and sweetcorn at the last minute and serve.


Meal 3: Roasted Butternut Squash with Chicken and Spaghetti


Butternut Roast Chicken Pasta.jpg
Butternut Roast Chicken Pasta - Caitriona Redmond

• 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks

• 1 large onion, finely sliced

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 teaspoon paprika

• 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme

• Remaining meat from the roast chicken (see above)

• 500g dried spaghetti

• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (optional)


Preheat a (fan) oven to 160 degrees Celscius. Mix together the chopped butternut squash, sliced onion, olive oil, paprika and thyme along with the olive oil on a large baking tray. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

Remove the squash from the oven and bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti as directed on the packet and once ready, strain into a colander. Return the pot to the hob and mix together the roasted squash and shredded chicken in the hot pot. Add the spaghetti to the pot and stir well so that it is coated in the roasting juices. Serve immediately with some chopped fresh sage.

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