Well here's an idea of what to do with the whole thing:
Easy Chicken Pot Pie
You have eaten your one piece of chicken and don't have enough room to fit the whole plastic container of leftover chicken in your fridge? Ok so once you let the chicken cool down a bit then it's time to strip it apart. Get ready to get your hands dirty.
1. Take the wings off
2. Take the legs off
3. Take whatever leftover breast meat you have left on the chicken off
4. Seperate the backbone from the breastbone.
5. Take all the useable meat off the bones and shred into little pieces, you can cut it if you like but I just ripped it up with my hands.
Now you should have a 1 pile of chicken meat and another pile of bones.
Next: (Optional) You can always skip the whole chicken and just use a box of chicken stock, but this way tastes way better)
1. Take the chicken bones and dump them into a large stock pot and fill the pot until it is about 2 or 3 inches from the top.
2. Add 1 whole cleaned carrot.
3. Add 1 whole onion quartered
4. Add 1 whole celery stalk
5. Add a Bay leaf
Bring the whole thing up to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top.
Cook until the carrot, celery and onion are completely soft.
Then Discard all the bones and the vegetables if you like. You could keep the carrots if you like but they won't have as much flavour since it's all in the pot with the broth now.
Once you have removed all the bones and vegetables you can add other seasonings. I would suggest adding the seasonings now since the chicken was probably seasoned and since it was a store bought one they usually have a lot of sodium. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Add a teaspoon of thyme
7. Add some dried or fresh chopped parsley
You can also add some chili flakes if you want to kick up the heat and maybe use it for some other spicy dishes.
Let the broth cook until the flavours reduce and blend to taste. I would say another 20 minutes.
So now you have chicken soup stock.
In another large pot or large saute pan add the following:
1. 2 Tablespoons of oil/butter/lard or any combination of these.
2. Add either a cup of pearl onions or a half a cup of chopped onions to the pan. Cook until translucent.
3. Add one celery stalk cut up to the pan and saute for a couple of minutes until tender.
4. Add 2 or 3 cloves of chopped garlic depending on the size and how garlicky you like it.
5. Add a couple of leaves of chopped fresh sage or a teaspoon of dried sage and a teaspoon of thyme.
6. Add about a cup of frozen peas and carrots ( this cuts down on the chopping time and is just as healthy) Cook until the peas have separated from the carrots.
7. Add a heaping tablespoon of flour and mix the whole mixture.
8. Add a half a cup to a cup of the chicken broth until it's a thick liquid consistency
9. Add another half a cup to a cup of milk until it's like a soup consistency.
10. Raise the heat and cook until the mixture thickens. You are making a white sauce but with the vegetables in it already.
11. Once the mixture has almost thickened add the cut up chicken and mix the whole thing until all the chicken is coated. If it's thick you can add some more chicken stock. Make sure the chicken stock is warm though or it will make the whole thing turn into a lump.
12. Let the mixture cool down once it's all incorporated.
Next: Pie shell
Here's the other cheat way to do this. Frozen pie crusts. I bought a box of frozen pie crusts from Costco and just popped out 2 of the crusts and let them thaw for about 15 minutes and then filled the bottom one with the cooled chicken filling. Water the edges of the bottom crust and then add the top crust and pinch the sides. make sure you add a steam hole in the middle of the top of the pie crust to make sure it doesn't ooze out.
That's it... then cook the whole thing in a 350-375 degree oven depending on the pie crust instructions. Cook until golden brown on the top. It should take about 40 minutes or so.
1. Frozen ready made pie crust
2. Frozen peas and carrots
3. Pre made chicken stock
4. Store bought cooked chicken
5. You can also be even quicker buy getting the already chopped onions and celery.
6. And if you are really lazy or cooking challenged you could probably even use a cream of celery soup as the creamy mixture. Although I wouldn't recommend doing it this way. It's not that hard to make a white sauce. Equal parts fat to flour and then a cup or 2 of liquid like chicken stock or milk.
All I can say is that if you make it at home instead of buying the pre made chicken pot pies you can control the things you like in it. If you don't like celery skip it, but all these things really give it that comfort food flavour. For me it was about reducing the amount of sodium and adding the seasonings the way I like it. I find the store bought ones way too salty and a bit more bland. I like adding the fresh herbs if i can. It makes the world of difference.
Now if you want to go all out and skip the shortcuts you can always make your own pie crust, roast your own chicken and cut up all the vegetables from fresh... but I bet you won't.... you would probably rather buy the ready made store bought ones and just toss the in the oven and forget about it.
Make this once and see the difference in the taste and then decide if you would rather have the homemade version or the store bought version.
To me it's an easy choice once you compare them. Do a taste test even. Cook one of the store bought ones while you cook the homemade one and have your friends and family decide which one they like better. I think I know what the answer will be to that question.
Go forth and make from scratch... and Enjoy.