One January. One chicken. Five delicious meals
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One January. One chicken. Five delicious meals

Yes, it's that time of year again – January. Aaaaargh....

Monday, 12 January 2015

One January. One chicken. Five delicious meals

Whose idea was January? You have a fantastic Christmas, you get great presents, go to amazing parties and then money runs out, the rain comes down and the first month of the year squeezes the joy out of everything. Grrr and pah, I say.

But hang on! It's the new year (good thing), the sales are on (very good thing) and it's time for new starts and new ideas (hurrah!). So in 2015 we're going to create more fun stuff in the kitchen including experimenting with new flavours and for today, how to save a bit of cash.

Now, as much as I love my curries we all adore the perfect roast dinner in my house. Every Sunday I take great pleasure in seasoning the chicken skin with herbs and butter or pinching some fresh rosemary from my neighbour's garden (well, they never use it) for my slow cooked shoulder of lamb. I line my roasting tin with onions and different vegetables and make my own gigantic Yorkshire puddings, thanks to Delia.

I know a joint to roast or a big chicken can add a bit to the weekly shopping bill, but this meal can actually go a long way if you're clever about it. I spend a bit more on my Sunday bird because I know it's going to do me at least four meals. And here's how you can do it, too:

Meal 1: The Roast

A good roast dinner – chicken in this example - will go along way. Two legs and a one breast will be fine for a family of four with roast potatoes and lots of vegetables. Now, I know most of us are traditionalists when it comes to our roast dinners, but you can have a little fun here too. Try making some delicious Saffron Potatoes or tangy Lemon Roasted Potatoes (the latter is cheaper but a little less luxurious!).

The remaining breast can be used in the week for sandwiches and salads, and the back meat for a rich, spicy curry. And don't throw the bones out! Slow boil them in a big pot for an amazing stock that can be used in all kinds of dishes.

Meal 2: Healthy Salads

For a spicy salad strip the chicken of all the meat any of the small loose bits can form the basis of a delicious salad that's packed full of goodness and great flavours. In fact, this is what I take to work for my lunch so you're eating well, saving food and saving money – win, win or what?

I'm also partial to a classic chicken Ceasar salad but I like to funk mine up a bit with peppery leaves, tangy sun dried tomatoes, olives, walnuts, the chicken and a splash of my Hot Piri Piri Sauce to wake up the taste buds.

Or, if you're trying to be healthy this year, then pack in loads of the fun-coloured salad ingredients like beetroot, peppers and mini corn and if you want to really go to town, you can add in some home grown sprouting which is sooooo good for you.

Meal 3: Lunch 

What else... oh yes, I love this and have it a lot either in a salad or in a sandwich. Just grab some mayo, a little chilli powder, half a teaspoon of garam masala and a tiny squeeze of lemon mix it up and throw in  your cooked chicken. It takes five minutes to make this tandoori style chicken mayonnaise which is so good smeared into some pitta or a naan with some rocket for a gorgeous work lunch. You could also try a spiced risotto or a Vegetable Pilau made even better with the addition of a little roast chicken.

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Meal 4: Curry

All the remaining big bits of meat can be used for a really hearty curry. You need a gloriously rich sauce that's full of flavour so it seeps into the already cooked meat. Something like a butter sauce or Murgh Makahni is perfect and easy to make. You can also pad this out with a few chunky mushrooms and peppers. Serve it up with just plain rice for a really delicious dinner, or for a quick supper, try my Nariyal Chicken. Just add the cooked chicken at the end – super fast and super tasty.

Meal 5: Soup

When you've put all the meat to good use don't forget that the stock can be used for so many different things from soup, to risotto, to sauces... the list goes on.

It's really easy and I promise you, once you make your own you'll never go back to an Oxo cube again. Just pop the bones into a tall pot of water, throw in a few vegetables (onions roughly chopped with the skin on for colour, carrots and whatever else needs using up for bulk), some salt and pepper, a bay leaf of two and leave it all to simmer away for an hour or two. Then sieve into a jar, leave to cool and put in the fridge to be used as and when you need it – simples.

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So now you can make a fantastic homemade soup with nice winter veg like kale, lentils, or potatoes, or create a delicious risotto to feed the family. Trust me, it will taste like nothing else, it will be healthier and you'll save money. All good stuff and the way to warm up your January! Have fun guys and I'll see you soon.

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Hari Ghotra