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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.

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!

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!


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…

I thought I’d see whether I could adapt a recipe I’d used and loved before – hoisin chicken buns from Cooking Light, by way of Cooking Cute. I tried it, and it worked well, although I’m always a bit funny about using leftover chicken and not cooking the hell out of it. I’m still alive, though… so I guess in that respect it was a complete and utter success. Maybe if I made this again, I’d heat the chicken before stuffing it in the bun, but it does get cooked again in the oven, so maybe that would be overkill.

Week One : Leftovers - Hoisin buns

To make this recipe, I made a batch of white bread dough, which is never any sweat with my bread maker. The original recipe calls for frozen dough, but I’ve never seen that before here in the UK – and it’s just yeast, water, salt and flour after all, so easy to put together.

The filling I stripped from the chicken carcass – I must have used the meat from one leg and two thighs, plus whatever I pulled from underneath. Shred it up, then add it to 3 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp rice vinegar and a bunch of spring onions you’ve shredded finely. I also added salt to mine, but my hoisin sauce was that terrible cook-in sauce stuff, rather than the proper condiment you eat with duck. If you manage to pick up some real hoisin sauce (why was that so hard, Sainsbury’s?) then you should reduce the amount you use down to 2 tbsp.

Hoisin buns on tray

Once you’ve made your dough, turn it out and cut it into eight pieces (or more if you’re making them for bento), and roll each piece into a size slightly bigger than your palm. Place a spoonful of the chicken mix into the middle. Pull four corners into the middle and pinch, then do the same again with the leftover tabs. It’s helpful to rock the bun back and forth at this point to shape the top nicely. Set it on an oiled tray and put the rest together.

Hoisin buns on cooling rack

Cover and allow to prove for 20 mins in a warm place. Preheat your oven to 190C and then brush the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 mins, or until golden. You can also bake them for a shorter amount of time (12 mins or so) and then freeze them to bake again another day. (There are great instructions here for freezing and then reheating the buns at Cooking Cute.)

Hoisin bun halved

Allow to cool slighty, then eat!

These also make a great lunch or snack, and can be eaten hot or cold. I really love these chicken buns! But, please make sure that everyone has one before you start to eat… unfortunately, the spring onions are a little whiffy. M ate one in the cinema the other day when we went to see Inglourious Basterds, and it didn’t really help the atmosphere, I have to tell you.

In other news, I’m off to the farmer’s market tomorrow to pick up my second chicken. Whoo! Wish me luck – I’m leaving really early so hopefully I can bag a good chook!

So, here we are on our first round of leftovers with the chicken from Jamie’s Feel Good Chicken Broth. I don’t have very much in the house, so dispensing of the rest of the chook is going to be a real challenge. Luckily, I have the very handy and excellent Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop, which has about four or five easy and tasty recipes for cooked chicken at the front. Today I made hot and numbing chicken (not to be confused with numbing and hot chicken, which mixes spicy chilli oil and toasted, ground sichuan pepper together with soy sauce and sugar to create a really delicious cold dish.

Week One : Leftovers - Hot and numbing chicken and cucumber

You’re supposed to serve this with spring onions, but sadly I don’t have any in the house, so we made do with half a cucumber. Pretty nice! I’m growing to really appreciate cucumbers as an accompaniment to hot Chinese dishes, as the slippery, refreshing crunch is a great counterpoint to the spicy, salty tastes from Sichuan cookery.

Chicken broth and spicy chicken salad

I served the salad with hot plain rice and the last of the chicken broth. I thought this would make a cleansing balance for the spiciness of the chicken salad, but sadly, I was wrong. The broth was totally overwhelmed by the chilli and ended up tasting of nothing. Shame. But hey, it all looked pretty on the table, and that’s all that matters… Right?

In other news, I need new placemats. Look at them. Shabby.