Whole chickens are yummy and economical | Kitchen to Kitchen

Sidonie Maroon
Posted 2/2/23

Roast chicken. So delicious — herby, garlicky roast chicken with a crispy skin. 

Every couple of weeks, I’ll roast a whole chicken in my Breville countertop oven. The oven’s …

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Whole chickens are yummy and economical | Kitchen to Kitchen

Chicken soup made with roasted chicken.
Chicken soup made with roasted chicken.
Photo courtesy of Sidonie Maroon

Roast chicken. So delicious — herby, garlicky roast chicken with a crispy skin. 

Every couple of weeks, I’ll roast a whole chicken in my Breville countertop oven. The oven’s kept on a cart in my pantry, so I roll it out, plug it in, and preheat to 425F. Then, line a broiling pan with parchment paper, lay on the whole chicken, and massage it with a heady homemade paste of 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, 1 tablespoon minced thyme or rosemary from the garden, half a head of garlic, and a quarter cup of olive oil.  

I don’t truss and place it back-side down. It roasts for 45 minutes. 

I check at the thickest part of the thigh with an instant read probe thermometer for 165F (the USDA safe temperature for poultry). The juices should run clear from the leg joint, not pink. The bird sits for 15 minutes before carving, as I snitch at the crackly, herb salty-garlic skin. Heaven! 

Classy economy  

This meal, with a sweet potato and a side salad, is our first of three meals from this chicken. 

I pour the pan juices over the leftover meat before refrigerating, so it marinates in its own juices. 

The bones go in my six-quart Instant Pot with two quarts of water and whatever vegetable scraps I’ve saved up. I set the pot to two hours on high pressure with a natural release. When it’s done, I strain it into a ½ gallon Mason jar and refrigerate. About ½ cup of beautiful semi-solid fat will settle to the top of the jars. I scoop it out and use it to sauté vegetables. 

We’ll have chicken for two more dinners, plus lunches in either soups, salads, tacos, sandwiches, or a casserole. The stock is used to make soup, cook legumes, or as a broth for risotto. 

Tasty Ranger free-range chickens are in my price bracket. I pay $12 to $15 for a bird. For a two-person family, we get three dinners, a couple of lunches, two quarts of homemade stock, and delicious cooking fat. For protein, that’s $1.50 per person per meal.

Learn to cut up fryers 

I encourage you to learn how to do this if you haven’t tried. 

The advantage of doing it yourself is the price and extra meat for stock. The best way to learn, besides having someone show you, is to watch a YouTube video. Here are a couple I’d recommend: “How to cut-up a whole chicken/Melissa Clark Recipes/The New York Times” and “How to cut up a whole chicken from Napa Valley Cooking School.” 

Poaching in the Instant Pot 

If you want moist, tender chicken and will sacrifice the crispy skin, try poaching in the Instant Pot. 

Use 2 quarts of water, with 1 tablespoon fine sea salt, 2 tablespoons ginger, and a chopped onion. Submerge the chicken in the water, 90 percent should be underwater. Set the Instant Pot for zero minutes, with a natural release of 22 minutes for a 3.6 pound bird. Increase or decrease the time by 2 minutes for every 4 ounces of weight. Check the bird’s temperature at the thickest part of the thigh for 165F. Bring it out with tongs and allow it to cool.  

Instant Pot Mi Ga Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves four.

Make this satisfying flavorful noodle soup when you have leftover roasted chicken and bones to make stock. It’s easy when you put the Instant Pot to work.  


For the broth 

6 cups unsalted chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced 

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 teaspoons fish sauce 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice, (recipe follows)  

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, more for the table 

2 teaspoons maple syrup or sugar 

1 tablespoon rice vinegar 

For the soup

4 cups baby spinach or bok choy, halved lengthwise and cut on the diagonal about
2 inches long

2 cups roasted chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces 

8 ounces of dried Chinese noodles, ramen, or soba noodles. Cook according to the directions on the package and drain. 

For the garnish 

½ cup cilantro, chopped

2 scallions, sliced  

toasted sesame oil 

ground black pepper 


Add the chicken broth, ginger, garlic, onion, fish sauce, soy sauce, and Chinese five-spice to the Instant Pot. Set to the broth cycle, or 30 minutes at high pressure with an instant release. Alternately, in a soup pot, bring the ingredients to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the broth through a sieve lined with muslin. The broth should be clear. Bring the broth back to a simmer using the saute setting. Add the spinach or bok choy and cook for about 1 minute. Taste and add the toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and maple syrup or sugar. Correct as wanted. Keep the broth hot at a low simmer.   

While the broth is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Divide the noodles and chicken between four deep bowls. Lightly dust the chicken with a pinch of Chinese five-spice. Add the hot broth and top with the cilantro and scallions. Let the diners add fresh black pepper if they wish.     

Extra tip: keep the bowls, noodles, and chicken warm in the oven set at 140F. 

Chinese Five-Spice 

Makes ¼ cup.

Toast the star anise, cloves, peppercorns and fennel. Mix in the cinnamon and, using a spice grinder, grind into a powder.    


1 tablespoon star anise pieces

1 tablespoon fennel seeds 

1 tablespoon ground cassia cinnamon 

1 teaspoon whole cloves 

1½ teaspoons Sichuan pepper or black peppercorns 

(Sidonie Maroon is culinary educator at The Food Co-op; abluedotkitchen.com. Follow Sidonie on The Food Co-op’s Facebook group, Cooking with the Co-op.)