Let me convince you to buy two whole chickens this week:
Roasting two chickens is just as easy and roasting one. Plus sometimes you can buy a two-pack of whole chickens for less per pound than one. You get an almost obscene amount of broth from the remains of two whole roasted chickens. AND you can make delicious chicken and dumplings with chicken number two.
Convinced? Good! Now let me show you what I usually do with my two chickens.
Chicken #1 and #2
Make a double dose of Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken.
Preheat your oven to 425 and get out a big roasting pan with a rack.
Clean all the giblets from inside each chicken and give them both a good rinse with cold water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels.
Cut two lemons, a white onion, and a bulb of garlic in half. Remove the papery outsides of the garlic and the onion. Separate the garlic bulbs as best you can. Stuff one lemon, half of the onion and half of the garlic (I actually cut the onion in half again so it will fit) in each chicken cavity. Massage both birds with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Cook in a 425 degree oven for 90 minutes. Every thirty minutes, open the oven and baste the birds.
Now your house smells like heaven and you have most of dinner ready. I usually serve the first chicken with roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach.
After dinner, throw the remains of the chicken (cut off any big pieces of remaining meat and save them) in a stock pot with the lemon, onion, and garlic that cooked inside it and cover with water. Let simmer for about an hour. I throw away any charred bits of onion first.
I strain my stock twice. First I put a strainer in a bowl and pour the broth through it to catch the big stuff inside. Then I pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer to catch the little bits. Let the strained broth cool, then pour it into a container and put it in the fridge until tomorrow.
Pull any extra meat out of the bones and save it for tomorrow, too. This makes a really lovely, light, garlic and lemon broth that works really well in the recipe for chicken #2.
The next morning, we’re going to use the second chicken to make a simple, delicious chicken and dumplings in your slow cooker. (If you want to make chicken and dumplings in your slow cooker and you don’t happen to have a roasted chicken in your fridge, a rotisserie chicken from the market and canned broth work, too.)
The next morning, pull all the meat off the second chicken and add it to the meat you got out of the stock pot the night before. Throw all that into your slow cooker, along with a pound of baby carrots, half of an onion finely diced, and chopped garlic to taste (I like a lot).
Make a roux by melting 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan, then stirring in 3 tablespoons of white flour. Stir that around until it turns golden. Slowly add two cups of the broth you made last night, whisking well between additions. Your roux should look and taste like chicken gravy. Pour the roux into the slow cooker.
Now you just add six more cups of broth. If you are short, add water or canned broth. Stir everything together to make sure the roux incorporates. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on low for six hours. Taste for seasoning.
Open one of those tubes of biscuits–you know, the ones that scare you half to death when they pop. Cut each biscuit into quarters and lay them on top of the soup. Put the lid back on the slow cooker and let cook another hour. The biscuits will puff up and become delicious dumplings.
While the soup is cooking, you can make more broth with the bones of chicken #2. If you get more meat this way, just add it to the pot. The broth can be kept in your fridge or you can freeze it.
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