Buy a chicken, save a fiver (or more!)

This week we decided to test out our knife skills by buying a whole chicken and making an attempt at de-boning and breaking it down for dinners this week. It turns out by doing so we also managed to save a few quid and we wanted to (hopefully) inspire you to try it yourself!

So first of all, let’s talk about the worst job, breaking down and de-boning the chicken. Because we’ve never looked into it we thought it would be an incredibly difficult job and something to leave to the professionals but we followed the guide in Save with Jamie and it went down pretty well! There’s no online link for it unfortunately so you’d either have to buy the book or we have taken some not great quality photos of the pages below (is that allowed?)


I didn’t actually take part in the process because a) i’m too much of a wimp and b) i’m a vegetarian deep down and it breaks my heart to do it to an animal! I’m slowly but surely convincing Josh to convert with me or at least do more veggie meals on a weekly basis though.

Now if you’ve got through that ordeal you should be left with 8 pieces of chicken and the carcass. Here’s what we did with it all:

  • Carcass – We made a chicken stock with the bones and you can do this using by any root veg and herbs you have lying around. We added the bones to a pan with 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 leek and 2 celery sticks which were blitzed in the food processor and then added 2 sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf and filled the pan with boiling water. We left it to simmer for 1.5hr and skimmed the scum off the surface as we went, then sieved and reduced further. We filled a couple of ice trays with the stock and froze – super handy!
  • Chicken wings – We weren’t too sure what to do with the wings so we just made a cajun marinade which we soaked them in for 30 minutes and then cooked under the grill for an afternoon snack.
  • Chicken breasts – The breasts we got from the chicken were enormous so we got two meals out of them, both pasta dishes!
  • Thighs – We did Gordon Ramsay’s paella with the thighs and it was amazing! Thanks to Cate for giving us his recipe book for Christmas.


  • Drumsticks – We haven’t used these yet but we are planning to use them in a Coq Au vin tomorrow.

So there are the many many things you can do with a whole chicken and now here’s what you can save!

We bought a chicken from Waitrose which cost £6.50 and we usually do an online shop with Ocado so we worked out exactly how much money we saved. Note: where you can’t buy the exact amount we had I halved the prices.

  1. Chicken stock – £2.40
  2. Two wings – £1.15
  3. Two large breasts – £5.95
  4. 2 thighs – £2.50
  5. 2 drumsticks – £1.53

Total: £13.53

We made a saving of £7.03 which is pretty good don’t ya think? It’s also great if you cook for two because you can’t always buy just two chicken thighs and so the price would double if you had to buy 4 like shown above…Just think about how much food you’d waste if you did so!

Will you give it a go?