Great, 20lbs of Chicken, Now What?

It’s all well and good to find yourself able to stock up on chicken drumsticks at $1/lb. You can have that happy glow all the way home, knowing you’ve secured enough protein for many meals, similar to hunters of yore. What the hunters didn’t have to worry about so much was where all that chicken was going, because the clan was going to pretty much eat it all as soon as he dragged it back and threw it on the fire.

Depending on your needs and kitchen, you have developed storage solutions of your own. I’ve got a vacuum sealer and a deep freeze, as well as a pantry with a reasonable amount of space. You might have a huge pantry, or be one of those coupon people with an entire store of stuff in the basement. Most likely, you wish you had more space, but don’t, and you don’t want to spend hours fussing with this chicken that was supposed to be a deal.

Fear not. This is easily sorted.

First, decide how you want to break this up. Some of it will need to go into the freezer, in sizes that you would use for a meal–for me, that’s six legs in a bag. Do two to four of those. Depending on how much you bought, you might be already done.

If you’re still looking at more chicken on the counter, you can go two ways here: More Flavor, or More Soup.  They will both take time, but if you break it up you’ll have put up enough chicken for several quick weeknight meals.

For More Flavor, season chicken with salt and pepper, put it on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. Roast it until it gets to 165 degrees, then let it rest a bit. If you’re out of time, wrap it up and put it in the fridge until you want to deal with it.  When that time comes, shred all the meat off the bones, and bag it up for the freezer.

For More Soup, put the drumsticks in a big pot that can hold them, and add water to cover. Salt the heck out of the water and boil the legs. There will be foam, which can be skimmed, but honestly isn’t going to hurt anyone. If you happen to have, say, old carrots hiding in the crisper, or half an onion, or celery that went limp about ten minutes after you bought it, wash and chop that roughly and toss that in, as well. Can’t hurt anything to add some vegetables here. Not kale though, this isn’t a kale time. 

Your last decision here is if you want to keep some of this soup–if you do, when the chicken is done, put a pot in the sink and put a colander in that pot.  If the pot with the chicken is very heavy, you can use tongs to fish the chicken out into the colander, then pour the soup stock over it, where it will then land neatly in the pot.  Cool the chicken and shred it off the bone, and freeze for later (as above, if you don’t want to do this now, wrap it up and do it tomorrow).  For the stock? I pour mine in old spaghetti sauce jars and put it in the fridge. Often, I don’t want this much stock, so some goes down the drain. Some people get super-ambitious and simmer the stock for hours to reduce it, then freeze it in ice cube trays to add to dishes later.  People that do this are mostly named Martha.

I realize you had to read a lot of words there, and that this isn’t how you like to see a recipe laid out, and the chicken is still on your counter. Here’s the haiku version:

Boil or roast the drumsticks.

Maybe save that broth.

Shred the meat. Freeze it in bags.

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3 thoughts on “Great, 20lbs of Chicken, Now What?

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