FRUGAL FOODIE: Sunday roast – one of life’s great pleasures

Frugal foodie
Frugal foodie

I love a Sunday roast and at this time of year I love a simple roast chicken with lots of fresh summer veg.

It’s feel-good, light and healthy! Saying that, I do find it physically impossible to make a roast without Yorkshire puddings. We’ve got eggs on tap so it would surely be a crime not to.

I enjoy the event of a Sunday roast, as much as the food itself. Getting everyone together round the table and serving up at the table from a huge choice of food – a real feast.

As much as I love the initial roast dinner with all the trimmings, I really love challenging myself to get as many additional meals out of it as possible.

We normally start by having a second round of meat, veg and gravy and then it gets turned into an array of different recipes.

To start with, I strip the meat from the chicken carcass. Use your fingers and pull every bit of meat from it. Remember to turn it over too. You should be left with a completely empty carcass and a much larger pile of meat than you thought you’d have.

Put the meat in the fridge and set to making the chicken stock with the carcass. This is the easiest and most satisfying thing you can make with the chicken remains. The bones hold so much flavour and make the tastiest stock.

Even if you have no time or inclination to use the stock straight away, it’s a brilliant thing to have in the freezer for future meals. The difference between homemade stock and bought stock cubes is like night and day.

To make the stock you just need to put the carcass in a pan along with an onion, a couple of celery sticks, a carrot and a couple of bay leaves or a bouquet garnis.

Cover with water and bring to the boil. When the water is boiling, let it simmer for about one hour or until the stock has reduced.

Drain the liquid into a jug using a sieve.

If you’re going to freeze, decant into containers for freezing (old milk containers are great for this), and freeze when cooled.

Use the stock in soups, curries, casseroles and sauces. It will give such a lovely flavour and make a real difference to the meal.

Using it for chicken soup is probably the best use for it as it feels like an amazing, wholesome meal made from virtually nothing.

I simply heat some oil and melt some butter in a large pan, fry some diced onion, chorizo and a chopped raw potato (this will act as a thickener).

Add chicken (preferably pulled into strips rather than chopped) and stock. Check the seasoning. Leave to simmer.

When it’s almost ready, add cream or milk. If you’d like, add sweetcorn too. I like frozen sweetcorn much better than tinned.

If you prefer it completely smooth, blend it.

A good way to use some of the remaining vegetables as well as the chicken is to make a simple one pot meal. You can adjust with whichever vegetables you like or have.

Heat some oil in a pan. Fry up a diced onion and a crushed clove of garlic. Briefly steam some diced courgettes or broccoli and save the cooking water.

Add the vegetables to the onion and garlic and I chop in some boiled new potatoes too (leftover from the roast dinner).

Fry for a couple of minutes and add a splash of white wine. Bring to the boil and let the wine reduce right down. Add the chopped chicken and a large knob of butter. Just as the butter is melting stir in a heaped tablespoon of plain flour and mix it through all the ingredients in the pan.

Gradually stir in the vegetable cooking water and some of the chicken stock. If you have any gravy left, that’s a nice addition too.

Mix it until it’s thickened to the desired consistency and add any leftover, cooked vegetables from the roast dinner, if you’d like.

Stir in a couple of teaspoons of wholegrain mustard and season. Stir in some grated Parmesan, top with breadcrumbs and/ or crushed ready salted crisps and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes until the topping is crisp and golden.

Follow Christine McAllister on her blog or on Twitter @thefrugaldiary.