No-Chuck Chicken 5 Ways
‘Chicken 5 ways’ is a concept inspired by my advocacy work with the UN World Food Programme. In a world where nearly 700 million people struggle to get enough food to eat, it’s criminal that one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Reducing food waste means reducing our carbon footprint on the planet and it is down to us to take action. It's simple: make sure to use everything in your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to cut around the mould on your cheese or blend your wilted herbs into a delicious sauce. Shop locally, and start valuing your food – only then we will be able to change the food systems around us for the better.
I believe that food waste comes from a lack of understanding and a lack of respect for food. If more people knew where their food came from, who picked it, and how far it has travelled, I trust that they would think twice before throwing any of it away.
With the following five steps you can reduce your own food waste – starting with how to use up every part of a chicken… and, yes, I mean every part!
Step 1: Feathers & Giblets
My family and I are lucky enough to have a farm and chickens of our own, so we are able to fully understand and respect the life of the animal. We make sure to use every part of the chicken (including the feathers) as a part of how we value our birds.
Chicken feathers are great inside pillows and make efficient dusters, however, assuming you may not have access to the feathers… let's talk giblets instead! Higher quality chickens tend to be much bigger, more cost-effective, and often come with a bag of the chicken’s heart, liver, and kidneys (giblets). These are fantastic for your health and can be fried gently with onion and blended with old breadcrumbs, then mixed with some sage and thyme to create a delightful stuffing mix.
Step 2: Carve
I would certainly recommend watching a chicken carving tutorial before this step, as carving correctly is a great way to avoid waste. Once I have roasted and carved my chicken, though, I like to use the fresh succulent breast meat for my Sunday lunch, along with the stuffing made from the chicken giblets to add extra nutrients and flavour to the meal.
Step 3: Eat
The leftover meat (thighs, legs, and wings) I often eat for my lunch the following day, as these parts of the chicken hold the most moisture and will not dry out overnight. I usually make myself a beansprout and chicken salad with a delicious lime and chilli sauce – your own chicken salad recipe will do just fine, of course!
Step 4: Broth
Bones make great broth. Boil all the chicken bones, adding any leftover potatoes and vegetables from your Sunday lunch, with chicken stock and leave to simmer for 4 hours. This broth can be used for the base of a chicken soup if you have any chicken remaining or perhaps an Asian-style noodle soup using up any wilting pak choi in your fridge.
Step 5: Soil
The bones will often be thrown away as "unavoidable waste," however, I propose a solution to this problem. After boiling the bones for several hours to create the broth they should have softened significantly. Afer that, you can roast the bones until they begin to break down. Once you feel they are easily crushable, blend them or even smash them with a rolling pin until they come to a sand-like texture. The crushed bones (bonemeal) can then be scattered over your soil to improve the overall soil health.