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  • Gerri Sarnataro

Why we always buy a whole chicken

We love the versatility of a chicken throughout the year. We can roast, braise, saute, poach, make a dynamite risotto, soups, or salads. And, purchasing a whole chicken lowers the cost per pound. The big bonus is the carcass.

Our method creates 3 distinct groups once the bird is cut up.

1. Breast filets with skin on

2. Legs, thighs and wings minus the wing tips

3. Carcasses & wing tips

We use #1, the breast, for quick saute & roasts, usually marinated in lemon, garlic & olive oil or sprinkled with lots of fresh herbs

#2, the legs, thighs and wings are ideal for braised dishes like cacciatore, adapted to the season. Our three favorites are chicken with onions and peppers, chicken with mushrooms and onions and chicken with rosemary and white wine.

Finally, we use #3, the carcasses and wing tips to make extraordinary broth perfect for flavorful vegetable and fish risottos, soups or pan sauces.

With very little effort, disassembling the chicken in this way lets us make 2 separate recipes plus stock up (no pun intended) on carcases for a dreary day when all one of us wants to do is stay home and use time to create a healthy base for future meals. The dividends are the wonderful aromas wafting through the house and the knowledge that the final broth is pure, without any salt or preservatives. Once made, multiple times enjoyed.

Here’s our recipe for chicken broth, better known as “brodo” in Italy.

Homemade Chicken Broth

makes about 5 quarts



3 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

6 chicken bodies and wings defrosted

6 Parsley stems, no leaves

4 sprigs of thyme

2 Bay leaves

12 Black peppercorns

6 quarts cold water

olive oil


  1. Select a 12 qt stock pot. Coat the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil and place the pot over medium heat.

  2. Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pot. Cook the vegetables until softened about 5 minutes. Add the parlsey, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and cook for a minute. Add the chicken bodies and wings. Stir for 2 minutes.

  3. Add enough cold water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches.

  4. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours or more. During the first hour of simmering, skim off any fat and froth that rises to the surface.

  5. Strain, chill immediately on ice. When cold, remove any fat that has risen to the top.

  6. Store in covered containers up to a week or freeze for later use.

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