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What to Do With Huge Bargain Packages of Whole Chicken Leg Quarters
Wow that's a lot of chicken!
I purchased this big package of whole chicken leg quarters for $3.49. I could just toss them all in the oven and bake them all at once, but we'd never eat 9 large chicken legs in one meal. Leftovers are great, but they can get boring.
I think a bigger problem I have with the leg quarters is that, as is, they're rather unappetizing looking with the back bones and tail attached. Then there's the mess they can make, as I'd end up with a ton of chicken grease to clean up in the pan and splattered in the oven due to all the excess skin and fat that comes with them. There's a reason they're cheap!
All is not lost!
We like "pretty" chicken and variety in our meals, so I'm going to get out my cutting board and a sharp knife. It only takes a few minutes to trim them out into drumsticks and thighs and remove that excess skin and back/spine section.
If you buy them frozen, like these were, they're actually easier to cut up if still firm and partially frozen, if your knife is sharp. Partially Freeze them if you buy them fresh to make parting them out easier.
Grab your cutting board and a good sharp knife.
Turn your whole chicken leg quarter over and cut off the rib section. Don't toss these as they are going into a large saucepan to make some chicken broth! Then flip it back over and cut the drumstick from the thigh. There will be a section of excess skin on the thigh, so trim that off and add it to your pot to make broth, too!
Now you have a pile of chicken drumsticks, thighs and enough trimmings to make some chicken broth
Cover your chicken trimmings with water and set it to simmer. It will continue to simmer as you cook and eat your dinner 1-1.5 hours depending on how large your pieces are. Just be sure its SIMMERING - it will reduce some, but you don't want your liquids to all evaporate away and burn, so do keep an eye on it.
Now, figure out what you'll be making dinner tonight. I've chosen to make oven fried drumsticks. These are so good, really easy and one of my son's favorite things. You can choose your favorite recipe, though!
Package your chicken thighs up for another meal, since they're still mostly frozen you can freeze, or place them in the fridge to use up in the next few days.
Here Are Some Recipe Ideas for Your Chicken Thighs
- How about Chicken & Dumplings instead of Chicken Helper?
You can have something amazingly good and even more economical than some pre-fab boxed dinner starter. Whip out your cutting board, knife & big stock pot as this makes enough to feed 6 hungry people.
- Chicken Thighs, Again? Budget Friendly Easy Asian Inspired Sweet & Tangy Skillet Meal Recipe
Skip the takeout and those cute little square paper boxes. Chicken and rice are basic budget friendly items, but this easy sauce transforms it into a treat. You can have this on the table in 1 hour.
Let's Cook These Chicken Legs
Oven Fried Drumsticks
Preheat oven to 450.
This can be messy, so line your pan with foil, or use an old pan that is well seasoned. I'm using a well seasoned 9x9 baking pan for my 9 drumsticks.
Place 1/4 cup of butter in your pan and place it in your hot oven to melt the butter. Then remove.
Place the following in a ziplock bag and shake to combine well:
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp of your favorite poultry seasoning.
Coat your chicken, then bake
Add your chicken drumsticks to your coating mix and shake the bag to coat all pieces well. Place in the melted butter in your pan and bake for 30 minutes. Then turn them over and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
These are crispy and the butter adds an amazing flavor. Use real butter, don't be tempted to substitute it. Yes, it's a little more expensive than the "fake butter" margarine, but it tastes so much better and is real food with real nutrition to be found in it. I stock up when butter is on sale, never pay full price if you can avoid it, it freezes well, too.
Tonight I paired my chicken with baked russet potatoes that I cooked alongside the chicken in the oven and some green beans. You can bake extra potatoes to have on hand to make easy and quick home fries with your breakfast the next day, or just zap in the microwave with any leftovers for lunch the next day.
I try not to waste having my oven on for just one food if I can avoid it to save money on the utilites and time cooking a future meal.
Now that dinner's over, let's finish up the broth.
You've been simmering your chicken trimmings, and it's time to strain it, get the fat out and package it up so that you've got some broth on hand and don't need to buy a can of it to make a recipe calling for it. I'll be making some soup calling for chicken stock/broth sooner or later, so mine will be stored in a zip lock bag in my freezer. That's gets expensive if you buy it canned, plus, you don't need to haul it home from the store! It's like free chicken stock when you take the time to make it yourself, and free is always good.
Strain out the solids, catching the broth in a bowl or pitcher.
You don't want greasy broth, so let's get the fat out.
A little fat is inevitable, but you want to remove as much as possible. There are several ways to do this, but I prefer the faster method, but we'll go over the basic ways to do it.
The slowest method is to just stick it as is in the fridge or freezer and wait for the fat to solidify into a cake, which you can then remove. This works, but it takes time.
You can get a spoon and spoon the fat off the top. I find I end up removing too much of the broth along with the fat doing this, and it takes some time to do.
My favorite thing is to use my vintage and cute fat separator. They do make them still today, but many of them are plastic and not nearly as charming. There is a spout in the inside that draws from the bottom, so when you pour, you're pouring only the broth and the fat will stay in the separator. Simply stop pouring when you get most of the broth out!
Once you have it all separated, store your broth
Don't bother to keep emptying your separator of fat as you work through it all the fat will all stay in there.
When the broth is separated from the fat, you're ready to package it up, date it and store. I'll be freezing my broth, so I poured it into a quart sized freezer bag, removed most of the air and froze it laying flat. This will save space in your freezer and it will defrost quickly when you're ready to use it. Be sure to label and date exactly what's in there. Using a measuring pitcher makes it easy to know exactly how much you have.