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The best leftover recipes don’t taste like leftovers. This recipe totally exceeded my expectations. I think the secret is poaching the chicken at the end very gently just to warm through. It actually tastes better than the curry I make from raw chicken, as the meat is very soft.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tbsp red Thai curry paste
  • Can of coconut milk
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 1 stick dried lemongrass
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Leftover chicken

Method

  • Finely chop the ginger and garlic.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and ginger. Fry for a couple of seconds and then add the Thai curry paste.
  • Allow to cook for about a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients except the chicken.
  • Allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the texture is slightly thicker.
  • Dice or shred the chicken, then add to the curry and poach on a simmer for five minutes.
  • Serve with Thai jasmine rice.

Risotto isn’t one of those quick and easy, on the table in 20 minutes kind of dinners. You have to stand there and cook and stir and add stock for a looong time. But you know, when it’s dark and wet outside and you’re kind of fed up with everything, that’s okay. Sometimes you just want to stand there and stir something.

This roast chicken risotto recipe used to be my number one method of disposing of a dead body. There’s nothing like it to get rid of the evidence you had a chicken for your dinner than using it up in this delicious, simple risotto. But now I’m cooking a chicken every week, it would get a bit samey. If you try this, though, you’ll see why it’s my number one chicken disposal plan.

Week Six : Leftovers - Roast chicken risotto

Roast Chicken Risotto

Ingredients

  • Knob of butter and a splash of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 350g risotto rice
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1.5 litres simmering stock (chicken would be best)
  • Cup of frozen peas, defrosted
  • Leftover chicken – half a chook max
  • 50g grated parmesan

Method

  • Melt the butter and add the olive oil to a big pan. I use a giant saute pan to make my risotto.
  • Cook the garlic and onion together until translucent.
  • Stir in the rice until coated with the butter.
  • Stir in the wine and cook until evaporated.
  • Add a ladleful of stock and stir, stir, stir – ever so gently – until the stock is evaporated. Then, repeat the process until you have just one ladleful of stock left. This is boring and dull, but not all cooking is about flamenco dancing around the kitchen with sharp knives, slicing lemons and throwing them at a great distance into fiery cauldrons of magical stew.
  • At this point, add your chicken and your peas. I haven’t specified how much chicken, because this is a recipe for leftovers and that would, frankly, be madness. Who wants leftovers from a leftover recipe?
  • Cook for five minutes, then stir in the parmesan cheese and serve.

Serves four adults.

I am so behind on my chicken recipes… I took a week off because of my birthday and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Especially considering how dark it’s getting recently – I’ll have to do all my chicken recipes at the weekend or during the day on my days off…

Anyway, this recipe is a bit of a weird one – a whole chicken baked in milk with lemon zest, garlic and sage… Courtesy of Jamie Oliver (again) from Happy Days with the Naked Chef. I’m starting to think that Mr. Oliver is the king of the whole chicken – I thought it was Nigella that was always roasting a bird…

Here’s the costing.

Tesco Organic chicken : £7.27
Half pack of butter (!) : 47p
Bunch sage : 68p
Half a cinnamon stick: from cupboard
2 lemons (unwaxed): 62p
One bulb garlic : 30p
1 pint milk : 45p

Grand total : £9.79.

Week Six : Organic chicken

There’s the chook – another organic one. Mr. Oliver – do you have shares in an organic chicken farm…? I never can tell the difference. Will I be lynched for saying that? It seems like a foodie crime.

Week Six : Ingredients
This recipe makes me weep – look at that giant block of butter at the back there. Guess what you do with that beauty? Use it for frying and then…. throw it away. Oh no, I don’t think so! I used some of it to cook some pink fir apple potatoes, and very nice they were too. Throw it away, psh.

Right, so the first thing you need to do is turn these:

 Week Six : Lemons

into this…

 Week Six : Lemon zest

Looking at the picture for Jamie’s version of this, his lemon zest is more like lemon peel. I did try to do it like that, but my knives defeated me.

 Week Six : Aromatics

So these are the flavourings of your chicken in milk. Cinnamon, garlic and lemon zest – and of course, your sage.

Get your butter, melt it in a pan, and then brown the chicken off. There’s a lot of butter and the chicken is very big and delicate, so it’s slightly easier said than done to move the chicken around in the pan without breaking its skin. I ended up using two wooden spoons like a pair of forceps.

 Week Six : Browned chicken

Did it in the end though – and doesn’t it look delicious? DO NOT EAT, though – this is slightly underdone…

Chuck away the butter (sob sob) and then return the chicken to the pan with the half a cinnamon stick, the sage, the zest of two lemons, the 10 cloves of unskinned garlic and the milk.

 Week Six : Chicken in milk

Looks appetising, but kinda weird.

Now, you roast and baste, roast and baste. Roast and baste for an hour and a half, which is the standard cooking time for roasting a 1.5kg bird (see, I’ve learnt something!). If you’ve diligently basted and roasted, this is what you end up with:

 Week Six : Chicken in Milk

Looks pretty exotic, I think! The idea is that the lemon zest slightly curdles the milk and you end up with a split lemony milk sauce which you eat along with the chicken, some mashed potatoes and some wilted greens. We ate ours with roasted pink fir apple potatoes and some spinach.

The milk sauce didn’t split that much. It was very unusual, to say the least – pretty much what you would expect when you infuse garlic, lemon and sage in milk. The cinnamon didn’t show up so much – I blame it on the fact that cinnamon sticks really vary in how long they are. Is that a foodie joke: how long is a cinnamon stick?

 Week Six : Chicken in Milk side on

The scores:

M gave it 7.5. He said it was ‘all right’. This is his standard answer to things when he doesn’t know what I want him to say.

I gave it 7. It was nice, very unusual, but I can’t see the point of doing it other than it was exotic and weird. Maybe the lemon didn’t really work so well for me, because the sauce was just a little odd. Nice, but the kind of thing you’re not totally sure about and stop eating halfway through. Maybe a bit rich…

On the other hand, it did provide me with a pint of curdy lemony milk and chicken stock which I used in a potato soup, and some creamy chicken flesh that went really nicely in a risotto…

One recipe I turn to quite often for leftover chicken or turkey is Nigella Lawson’s recipe for bang bang turkey salad. You can find it online here.

Week Five : Leftovers - Bang Bang chicken

It’s delicious and spicy, and refreshing thanks to the spring onions and cucumber. You mix a sauce together by heating 2 tbsp groundnut oil, then cooling slightly and adding 2 tsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter, 2 tbsp chilli bean sauce, 1 tbsp caster sugar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp black Chinese vinegar and 2 tbsp water.

Then, you mix the sauce with the shredded chicken meat and lay it over a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, and 20g each of chopped coriander and mint. Sprinkle cucumber and spring onions on the top.

Week Five : Leftovers - Bang Bang chicken close up

Somehow, this time, the sauce came out a bit redder than usual… but it still tasted good, so who cares? Yum!

This recipe is one I’ve cooked before, but I wanted to cook it again, partly because it’s good and partly because I wanted to blog about it. I can’t remember the first time I heard about it, but I was definitely in my teens. I also have a copy of French chef Camille le Foll’s book Les Classiques de Camille (available in English as well) with a recipe for it. So I was totally aghast when I was watching an old episode of Nigel Slater’s Real Food (complete with a very young looking Nigella Lawson) with him and a bunch of snobby foodies (one of them was Alastair Little) talking about the dish as though it was a totally bizarre urban legend. You can actually watch the episode here, and they start talking about ‘the myth’ around 11 minutes on. Alastair Little said he never heard of it, so proceeded to make up a version. I’d love to be so smug as to think that just because I’d never heard of a recipe, it must be made up. Maybe one day.

Needless to say, I think Alastair Little is a ponce. Very good at cooking, but every time I see him on TV, I wish I hadn’t.

Anyway, I had heard of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, and I’ve cooked it, and it is nice. So I thought I’d cook it again. Here’s the costing.

Wallace Red Freedom Endorsed chicken : £4.73
Fresh parsley : £1.19
Bunch sage : from garden
Thyme : £1.19
Rosemary : from garden
Bay leaf : from garden
150ml olive oil : store cupboard
3 bulbs garlic : 89p

Grand total : £8.00 exactly. Spooky. And, shameful, because I grow all these herbs in my garden, but they are sort of dwarf, mini versions I dare not pick any leaves from, in case they die…

Week Five : Chicken

So here’s the chicken – no specific type needed, so I thought I’d get this Freedom Endorsed chicken from Sainsbury’s which was on special offer. Sorted.

Next step was to separate out the cloves of garlic – no peeling needed, thank goodness. If you ever wondered what 40 cloves of garlic looked like, this is for you.

Week Five : 40 cloves of garlic

Surprisingly few, right?

Week Five : Macro garlic

But still, so good looking. Ah, garlic…

Week Five : Seasonings

Anything that starts with garlic, herbs and olive oil has to turn out good, right?

Chop a sprig of parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary and sprinkle it over the chicken together with salt and pepper, and cover with the olive oil. A lot of olive oil. Then, pop the bay leaf inside the chicken, and scatter the garlic around the edges.

Week Five : Chicken ready to go

Then you roast it for an hour and half, either covered with foil or a lid.

Week Five : Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

Once you take it out, the garlic should be delicious and soft, and you can squeeze it out of its skin… and eat it! Yum. Or spread it on the delicious chicken meat.

Week Five : Garlic on bread

Serve it with crusty bread and a green salad. I also made roasted cherry tomatoes from the garden, sprinkled with a little sugar, dried thyme, salt and olive oil.

Herby tomatoes

So, what’s the verdict? Was it too garlicy…?

No such thing.

The scores.

M gave it 8. He likes garlic.

I gave it 8.5. I like garlic too. And, it’s a quick and easy recipe, unusual and very delicious! If you like garlic… you will love this.

One of my favourite meals to use up chicken is officially now ramen. Not only does it make good use of all that chicken stock I’ve got knocking around the place (smug foodie moment! Ha ha, I have homemade chicken stock, ho ho!) but it’s also a quick and healthy meal, and you get to use up loads of veggies.

All you have to do is put some cooked, drained Chinese noodles at the bottom of a deep dish, and then cover it with toppings of your choice – in my case, shredded pak choi, boiled egg, wedges of red onion, beansprouts, bamboo shoots and cooked (leftover!) chicken. Then, pour over chicken stock with miso paste stirred into it. After that, eat it!

Week Four: Leftovers, Miso chicken ramen

Recipe for miso-chicken ramen

Ingredients

  • One sheet egg noodles
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1-2 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 head pak choi
  • Handful beansprouts
  • 1 boiled egg
  • Half red onion
  • 1 tbsp bamboo shoots (I used the kind in red oil)
  • Handful cooked chicken

Method

Heat the chicken stock in a pan. Meanwhile, boil water for your noodles.

While all that is cooking, prepare your veggies – shred the pak choi, cut the onion into thin wedges and rinse the beansprouts.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, then drain and rinse. Place them in the bottom of your bowl.

Put all your toppings on the noodles, then stir the miso paste into your chicken to taste. Don’t let it boil because this will destroy the universe.

Once it’s stirred in, pour the hot stock over your ramen and eat!


Didn’t think I’d forgotten about my pledge to cook 52 chickens in 52 weeks, did you? Thought I was work shy, maybe? Ducking out already? No way! I’ve been cooking away and I’m actually on week five already, so if you want to accuse me of laziness, moan at me for not blogging about it! That told you, right?

Anyway, week four is drunken chicken. Yeah, I know – it sounded kinda good to me too. Boiled chicken, marinated in Chinese rice wine, then cut into pieces and eaten with plain rice.

Well, it wasn’t.

Blog warning: graphic, unpretty photos of grey chicken meat below… I know you all come here for my amazing kick-ass photography skills, and I do admit I should probably get some kind of award for it, but even I, with my amazing, elite ability (it’s like a superpower) cannot make a boiled chicken look good. I’d imagine it’s totally beyond the realms of physical possibility, to be honest, because if I can’t do it… well. You know.

No photo of the chook in its packet this time – it looks exactly the same as the chicken in the last week’s recipe, so here’s the costing:

Tesco’s chicken : £3.33
Ginger : 21p
Spring onions : 50p
Rice wine : technically free because it was already in the cupboard, but for 300mls goodness knows

Grand total : £4.04

The method for this is fairly simple – but, it does take several days to actually make this dish.

First of all, you stuff some ginger and spring onions up old chooky’s bum, and place it in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, skim, and cook for 15 minutes.

Here’s the scary part. When the 15 minutes are done, you have to put a lid on the pan and leave it, off the heat, for three to four hours. The remaining heat in the water will continue to cook the chicken until it’s peachily perfect and deliciously tender. Dare I do it? Dare I risk salmonella on a cheap £3.33 chicken?

Yes, of course!

Week Four: Drunken Chicken skin-on

It went surprisingly well, actually. Here’s the cooked chook with its skin still on – you have to remove it for this recipe, but the naked corpse was a bit too gruesome for a closeup… As you can see, the drumsticks are falling away from the body, which is a pretty good indication that this is cooked through properly. I also pierced the flesh to make sure no pink liquid ran out – it didn’t. We’re good to go!

Now, all that cooking liquid left over isn’t going to be wasted. That’s perfectly good chicken stock. So, we save that and reserve 300ml for our chicken.

Week Four: Drunken Chicken jointed

Next step was removing the skin and jointing the chicken. I’ve never jointed a whole chicken before so I got really nervous and started looking it up in books and looking at YouTube videos to see how it was done. Of course, I forgot that this chicken is already cooked, so it’s much, much easier to joint it. Several times during this I simply used my hands. Yum!

Now, this is where I cheated somewhat, so I can only speculate as to how delicious this would have been if I had simply followed the instructions. Instead of salting my chicken now and leaving overnight, I had already done it. That’s right! I rebelled and salted the whole cooked chicken, leaving in the fridge overnight so I could take better pictures of the jointed bird. Now, I know you are overwhelmed by my stunning piece of photography above and can see how it was totally worth doing this, but you didn’t have to eat the result.

So, skipping the salting bit, because I’d already done it, it’s time to add the marinade to the chicken. It’s now day two, and once we add this marinade, the chicken has to sit for two to three days.

Week Four: Drunken Chicken marinade

The marinade is 300ml of rice wine and 300ml of chicken stock. You can add 2tbsp of brandy if you want. I didn’t.

Now, there’s nothing to this but to leave everything in the fridge, and turn it every so often, dreaming of the delicious chicken you will no doubt be eating – after all, the more complicated and time consuming the dish, the better the results, right?

Nope. After three days sitting in the fridge, this chicken pretty much tastes like you would expect it to taste. Pretty alcoholic. Maybe you need fancier rice wine, maybe you need to be a bit of an alcoholic yourself, but I wasn’t impressed.

Week Four: Drunken Chicken meal

I salvaged this somewhat by serving it with that amazing ginger and spring onion dipping sauce I told you about here, but in all honesty, it was fairly overpowering.

So, the scores.

M gave it 2.5. After being coaxed with the dipping sauce, he gave it 4. Anything below a 5 we had already agreed is in ‘don’t bother making it again’ territory. So, this is the last time in my life I will ever make this dish. I’m not sad.

I gave it 4. It wasn’t really really bad, but it in no way paid off the planning involved in a dish that takes at least four days to prepare.

However, it did give us some lovely chicken stock and PLENTY of leftover chicken…

Week three’s chicken was a relatively simple affair. I decided to invite dear old mum and dad over for lunch, so we could swing by St Francis, a local animal rescue centre, where they were putting on a fund raising event. We’d (well, they) just adopted a lovely new dog by the name of Ben, so we decided to take him back to see all his old chums. He had an absolute blast, being treated like a right celebrity.

Anyway, that’s beside the point – the point was, I decided to make the chicken recipe simple, because I was serving it as part of a traditional British Sunday lunch. Americans, this is what we also eat at Christmas – only a much more elaborate version. It’s also the nearest thing you get to a Thanksgiving style meal here – swap the turkey for the chicken, and you see what I mean.

So, the recipe was Nigella Lawson’s Schmalzy Chicken, which is from possibly my favourite book of hers, Feast. The recipe is simplicity itself, and I don’t think I’m going to get a cheaper chicken dish out of this entire year – mostly because I bought one of Tesco’s ‘3 for £10’ chickens. Well, two, in fact. And lamb steaks.

Week Three: Tesco Chicken

So, that’s the semi-abused chicken. And here’s the costing:

Tesco Chicken: £3.33 (to infinity)

Grand total: £3.33

Yep, that was all I bought. The recipe calls for salt and a chicken. I’m down with that.

The idea here is that you render down the chicken fat you find inside the carcass, and then rub it over the chicken and roast it, so that the chicken gets meltingly tender and soft, and all deliciously savoury. I had a cunning plan to use three times the amount of chicken fat you would normally get from a chicken, by saving the fat from the inside of next week’s chicken. But, I didn’t tell M and he threw it away. Foiled! The other third was generously donated by the fat I skimmed off the top of Jamie’s chicken broth.

Rendering the chicken fat

Rendering the chicken fat is just  a fancy way of saying you cook it until all you have left is a pool of ‘schmalz’ and a wizened little piece of chickeny stuff. You can eat this, or shove it up the chicken’s bum to flavour it. That’s what I did…

Week Three: Pre-Schmalzy Chicken

This is the chicken pre-schmalz, sitting in the roasting pan that M’s mum gave me. It makes the chicken really moist thanks to the lid, but it also had the side-effect of not letting the chicken brown so much all over.

Week Three: Schmalzy Chicken

At first glance, this doesn’t seem like so much of a triumph, but that’s because you can’t taste it. Moist and delicious! The taste wasn’t complex at all, but somehow more ‘chickeny’ than chicken normally is… Amazing! And, with a cheapy chook, too. I wouldn’t say this was a miracle, but it certainly was a revelation. Shame I couldn’t get the skin any crispier, though – should have left the lid off.

Week Three: Proper British Roast with Schmalzy Chicken

This was the meal we ate our chicken with – a good old roast. Peas, fancy carrots, roast potatoes, stuffing balls, pigs in blankets, and gravy. Delicious.

So, the scores.

My dear old mum gave it 9. She would – everything I do well reflects on her, of course. Any chicken cooked by a child of hers is sure to score no lower than a 9.

My dad gave it 8. Very tasty and moist, he reckoned.

M gave it 7. It’s a simple recipe, and a simple, clean taste, but there’s nothing spectacular about it.

I gave it 7.5. It’s easy to do, tastes good and is cheap – what more could you want? Shame I couldn’t brown it all over, cos with crispy skin this could have been really special.

There wasn’t much leftover chicken here, but what there was got made into the most unphotogenic curry you ever did see. Except you’ll never see it, hah.

Of all the leftover meals we’ve eaten so far, this has been the one I’ve looked forward to the most. I may have mentioned before my love for Sheila Lukins’ USA Cookbook, and this is one of her recipes, which handily (for me) calls for 4 cups of coarsely shredded cooked chicken. Well, it’s all about the cooked chicken around here, Sheila.

Week Two: Leftovers, Chilli chicken salad - the start

To the chicken you add half a cup of diced red peppers, half a cup of diced green peppers, quarter of a cup of pitted black olives (oh yes, I love olives), 2 thinly sliced spring onions, and 2 tbsp of chopped coriander. Then, you throw on top a combination of half a cup of mayo, half a cup of sour cream, 2 tbsp lime juice, some freshly chopped red chilli, half a tsp of orange zest, quarter of a tsp of chilli powder and an eighth of a tsp of cumin. You mix it all together and serve it on a bed of red lettuce leaves, topped with cayenne pepper (if you’re me), avocado and coriander. Eat with red grapes – they are essential.

Week Two: Leftovers, Chilli chicken salad

Creamy, zingy, spicy… this is not leftover chicken as you know it. If you weren’t a mad foodie concerned with airmiles, locality and seasonality, you might even use this for your leftover turkey at Christmas and Thanksgiving. But you know, we can’t have that on our conscience, can we…?

This sort of reminds me of my mum’s kick-ass tuna, avocado and apple salad, which one day, if you are nice, I shall share with you…

Cooking a chicken every week and just throwing all the extra away would be easy. EASY, I tell you. But, it’s slightly harder to keep coming up with new ideas for leftover chicken (what, it’s week two and you’re complaining already?). To be honest, one of the main things I hope to take away from this little project is the ability to  whip up delicious meals from leftover chicken in any circumstances. Climbing a mountain, checking out new clothes at West Quay, reading a book – no matter what I’m doing, in under a year’s time, if someone hands me a chicken carcass, I’ll be able to make faster than light movements, as if casting some magical spell, then produce a delightful meal that no one will even be able to tell is leftovers.

This did not happen this time.

In fact, this isn’t even chicken.

Forgive me, and let us move on.

Week Two: Leftovers for lunch

This isn’t so bad now, is it? It’s my take on a tapas platter. I’ve never eaten tapas in a restaurant before (shame, shame), but if someone brought me this I’d eat it. Okay, so it’s not Spanish, but this would be a lot easier if you shut up objecting and just listened to what’s on it. Oh, you’re not shouting at me? Well, you’re very well behaved.

Jamie’s Super Tasty Spanish Chickenleft me with a heck of a lot of spuds to dispose of. Reheated potatoes, especially when eaten the following day, can have a tendency to taste weird and gluey, but luckily I really like cold new potatoes. So, how Spanish is that? New potato and chorizo… err… salad. And then we have Magic Beans from Allegra McEvedy’s Leon cook book. I made them yesterday from the beautiful beans I bought at the Hampshire farmer’s market, and it was a lovely new addition to my limited ‘how to cook green (and purple) beans’ repertoire. I now know two recipes.

Green and purple beans

You make these beans by frying 2 tbsp olive oil with 2 chopped cloves garlic, 1/2 chopped red chilli with seeds still in, 1 tbsp chopped rosemary (gross story) for a couple of minutes, or until the aromas are released. Then you add your topped (but not tailed) beans – 200g or so, and stir to coat them in the liquid. Then add 2tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, and cover with a lid and cook until soft – about 15 minutes. Then add 3 spring onions, cut into 8cm batons, season, and cook with the lid on until wilted. Then, rest for five minutes.

As you can see, purple beans go kind of black when they’re cooked… I sort of like it, although at the time I didn’t much appreciate the look. Maybe this is a good Halloween dish…?

The final cooked dish here was ratatouille (yay, I spelled it right without checking! But then I checked to see if I spelled it right, so I’m not sure if that counts…). I used the recipe from Angela Nilsen’s Ultimate Recipe Book– I love this book so much. It’s not so much the recipes, but the stories she writes before them. She takes a classic recipe, like hollandaise sauce or roast chicken (yes, we shall be doing this during the project!) and then tries to make it into the ultimate recipe by experimenting and talking to top chefs to get advice. Her spaghetti carbonara recipe is now the only one I’ll use.

Ratatouille

So I used up my white aubergine and a yellow courgette (that’s eggplant and zucchini to you American folk) for this. I was the only one who ate it, but a portion is saved in the freezer for J, M’s veggie sister. I hope she likes it. I did!

That was the final cooked recipe – the last item on my not-so Spanish tapas board is a batch of golden cherry tomatoes, also from the market. They are delicious. I ate them with my fancy-schmancy French sea salt, and very good it was too.

Where’s the chicken? Well, that was being saved for a special leftover dish, of course…

Week Two: Leftovers for lunch