Sunday, 2 December 2012

Three tips for saving money on meat

  1. When you buy chicken, buy whole chicken. Especially when it's on offer. 

Yes I roast my chickens upsidedown to begin with. When whole chicken is on offer I stock up, this time I bought three chickens. One I have roasted and we ate the breasts. Next we will eat the legs for lunch tomorrow. I have the remains of another chicken in my freezer, so next weekend they will get boiled up for chicken bone broth. The other two have been divided up. First I cut the legs off. I cut the string off, pull the legs out a bit, cut through the skin, pull the joint out of its socket and then just cut my way through. Then I cut the breasts off. I haven't yet mastered cutting the breast off cleanly. But I have started pulling the skin off before I remove the breast and that seems to help. Lastly the remains with the extra skin go in the freezer, ready to feed the dog another day. And in case you're wondering, a bird like this takes about an hour and a half to roast and I roast it like this for the first half hour because it helps keep the breast beautifully moist. 

2. Eat offal
Offal in this context means not just organs but also those cuts of meat that are less desired by the masses. I wrote last time about how far a simple lb of lamb scrag went (6 portions). Pork blade is another cut that I have seen for a very good price at the butcher. Liver makes for a very economical meal, or can even stretch a bit off mince/ground meat a bit further. It's highly nutritious as well. Cuts like these often require long, slow cooking. This is where a slow cooker comes in handy. Glands such as kidney and liver require very quick cooking. Butchers are usually the best place to buy things like this however the best price I've seen for ox kidney was actually in Waitrose (although I've yet to try and buy direct). Morrison's are another supermarket where you might be able to get more offal like stuff. 

3. Eat bone broth
Another use for a slow cooker. I use an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice just in case it really does help release minerals. When I make chicken broth I will cook it for a while, remove the carcasses and pick them clean of meat. The meat goes on one side and the bones go back into the pot. The bones are then simmered again until they are going soft before being removed. I then add the meat and some veg back and I have a fantastic soup. Not only does bone broth make food go further, the amino acids in the broth are also protein sparing. If money is truly tight then bone broth is the way to go because it will help you meet your protein requirements without having to consume so much meat. Think of the peasant pot from Ireland to Korea simmering away with little meat but a few bones; nourishing families.  

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