The Rubber Chicken Recipe!

Rubber Chicken is one of the recipes I’m most famous for—and yet, it’s not really mine. I just named it Rubber Chicken because it allows you to stretch one measly chicken into 3 days worth of meals!

Rubber Chicken was originally published 20 years ago in my newspaper column (The Manic Housewife) that I wrote for the Daily Courier in Rutherfordton, NC. Hard to believe it’s been that long!

My mother made Rubber Chicken, her mother made it (with the second day meal slightly different) and I’m sure, women across this continent and abroad have been passing this well loved frugal recipe down to their kin for generations.

Besides the fact that you can get three real meals out of this recipe, you also get the benefit of some pretty fabulous bone broth as well! Let’s not forget how transformative this stuff is, plus favorwise, you just can’t beat it.

If you buy organic chickens and cringe at the price, this is one way to make your purchase go well beyond just one meal.


Leanne Ely’s Famous Rubber Chicken

Serves 4 for 3 days

  • 1 chicken — washed and patted dry (get a nice sized one)
  • 1/2 celery rib — cut in pieces
  • 1 onion — quartered
  • 1 carrot — cut in 2″ pieces
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Day One: The adventure begins–Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the cavity of the chicken, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and place cut up vegetables inside. Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper and a little garlic powder, too, if you like. Cook for about an hour or longer (depending on the size of the bird) till the juices run clear. Let sit a minute and then remove the vegetables. In the meantime, if you were smart, you boiled the neck with some celery, onion and carrot and have that broth, too. To further cut down on the grease from the chicken, you could take the cooking juices and put them in a cup and refrigerate while you make the rest of the meal. This will get rid of a significant amount of chicken fat which will all rise to the top. Make a nice gravy by deglazing the pan with a little water and thicken it up with a flour/water mixture (about a tablespoon should do) Serve your wonderful chicken with Just Like Mama’s Mashed Potatoes and lots and lots of veggies. Remember, you want leftover chicken.

Day Two: Let the adventure continue! Take your time and pull every last itty bitty bit of chicken off them bones. You want that chicken skeleton to look like a science project. Toss the chicken in pot with a can of black beans and season with a little cumin, some garlic powder and serve it up with lots of salsa, tortillas, some cheese–whatever turns your key! A great big salad will give you a perfect dinner.

Day Three: The adventure ends–with the skeletal remains finally hitting the stock pot. Throw in the same veggies: onion, carrots and celery, season it with salt, pepper and garlic powder and throw about 3 quarts of water over the top, adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to pull the minerals from the bones (don’t worry, you won’t taste it!). Cook the daylights out of it and strain. Now make soup or store appropriately. Bet you didn’t know one puny chicken had so many meals in it, did you?

Remember this is Rubber Chicken, not Miracle Chicken, if you have a big family, you will need to cook more than one chicken to insure leftovers. LOL

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