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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Simple Chicken Bake

We have a fabulous farmers' market about a 5 minute walk away from our house twice a month, where amongst other goodies I buy free range chickens. I keep thinking I'll buy the chicken breasts as they're more convenient but I can't quite bring myself to part with the cash as the price of the whole birds are so good if you buy a few (3 for £12).

Come Monday, I had three whole chickens in the fridge, and was wanting something very easy for dinner - I had a child who absolutely HAD to go to the park and I knew we needed to eat by 6pm if I had a hope of going to choir on time.

One bird was frozen, and I took the legs, wings and skin off the other two (freezing the wings for another time). After taking the legs off, I separated them into drumsticks and thighs. I layered the chicken drumsticks and thighs, tomatoes, herbs, potatoes, carrots, then aubergine in my cheap-as-chips bought-from-a-carboot-sale slow cooker pot. (Use a large roasting tin and lots of foil to cover it fully if you don't have a pot roasting dish.) I just about managed to squeeze in the rest of the bird (including the big chicken breasts) on top, knowing that the juices from the birds would make the sauce extra tasty - a bit like adding natural chicken stock. The lid stopped the meat from drying out and the breasts effectively steamed, being very juicy and not dry at all. 

This is an economical way to cook chicken, as you can use the lovely cooked chicken breast on any number of other recipes. I reckon I will get at least 8 meals out of these chickens, plus a couple of chicken for sandwiches.

Check out Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All for other budget recipes as part of the Credit Crunch Munch challenge, and this month's host for the challenge: Jen's Food.

4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
[2 x chicken carcasses with breasts attached - optional]
1 tin chopped tomatoes (although 400g fresh tomatoes would probably work better)
4tsp tomato puree
1 tin value new potatoes (or about 250g cooked new potatoes)
4 fat garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp mixed herbs
4 carrots, sliced lengthways
1 aubergine, sliced into rounds

  1. Prepare all the vegetables and set to one side - I use a pasta bowl.
  2. Prepare the chicken*. 
  3. Place chicken drumsticks and thighs in the base of the dish.
  4. Drain and thoroughly rinse the tinned potatoes.
  5. Cover with tomatoes and potatoes, then add the herbs.
  6. Add the carrots in a layer and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the slices of aubergine and season.
  8. Add the 2 chicken carcasses and sprinkle with a few extra herbs. 
  9. Cook in a hot oven (180°C) for an hour and a half.
  10. Place the carcasses & breasts to one side to cool and refridgerate.
  11. Serve up your chicken bake, keeping any leftover sauce and veggies to whiz up into a pasta sauce.

Serves 4 (or 3 if you live in our house - Wonder Boy ate more chicken than us!)

*If jointing a whole bird, take the wings off first, then pull the legs away from the bird so you can cut through the joint at the top of the leg bone. Then, you can remove the skin and bend the leg against the joint so you can then separate the drumstick and thigh. 

**Leftover idea**
Keep the cooked chicken for a chicken curry and to add to pasta sauce.



  1. What a fabulous, frugal and time saving idea! Thanks for a great #CreditCrunchMunch entry:-)

  2. I rarely buy chicken portions as they are so expensive. Great use of a whole bird. Thx for linking to CCM.

  3. I need to learn how to joint a chicken properly, I usually just roast a whole one first then create dishes from the leftovers. Great frugal dish, thanks for sharing with Credit Crunch Munch :)