So the last time I managed a post I was roasting a chicken, and very delicious it was too, especially after the fish disaster on Saturday. GAA has now moved on to the next relative and we are feeling relaxed - and exhausted: especially the husband who has been subject to more art & culture in the last 3 days than he could ever have thought possible.
I was flicking through the Good Food mag that I purchased the other week and it has a whole section on how to use up a roast chicken. Not just how to use up the left overs: it specifically encourages you to roast a chicken then use it for other things rather than eating "as a roast". How odd.
I guess that it's a good way of encouraging people to buy a whole chicken and using it all up, rather than buying pieces (breast fillets etc). A whole bird is honestly is much better value, and while I don't think I would ever roast a chicken with the intention of using the roast meat primarily in other recipes, I thought I would witter on about my favourite ways of using up leftover roast chicken (after the first meal of chicken, roast potatoes etc).
If there's plenty of gravy left from the first meal, I find there are 2 easy options. The first is to re-heat the gravy and serve the cold chicken with boiled potatoes and veg with the hot gravy poured over (or 'on the side' if you are Pink). The kids are also pretty keen on a pasta with chicken and gravy sauce. To make the sauce, I re-heat the gravy and thin it out with some creme fraiche or cream if there's any such naughtiness left over from the pudding, or if not, then some stock, and depending on what it's tasting like, perhaps adding some dijon or wholegrain mustard (depending on what's not mouldy in the fridge). Once the pasta is cooked, just drain it, chuck it in with the sauce and add in the cold diced chicken.
Stuffed pancakes is another good way of making a little leftover chicken go along way. We're lucky that we have a constant (if variable) supply of eggs, so if I'm feeling like super lovely mummy, I will make the kids pancakes for a pudding and make sure there are enough pancakes leftover to do this for the following night - it also freezes well for another time. So, for the filling, I would finely chop some mushrooms (really fine, so the kids don't notice) and cook them down, and wilt some chard or spinach (again - we have tonnes in the garden, but it's easy to get hold of a bag of spinach), squeeze it out and chop it up. Add the leftover gravy and ingredients as mentioned for the pasta sauce as above, but remember that you don't want it too runny - just to keep the mushrooms, spinach and chicken moist - then get the pancakes, dollop some of the filling along one edge then roll up and put in an ovenproof dish. Do the rest with all the pancakes, and hopefully you will have a bit of sauce left over to pour over the top, although it's not strictly necessary - you can always apply Tommie K when you serve it if it's a bit dry, then sprinkle on some grated cheese and bake in the oven till hot. Yum.
If there isn't enough gravy left, then I do noodles and stirfry some veg with some chinese five spice and some soy sauce.
If you have a discerning GAA or similar staying, there are a couple of more sophisticated options that are useful to fall back on. The Good Food mag was advocating a chicken risotto as the 'primary' recipe to knock up with the roast chicken and I'd agree that risotto is always a good option, but the real beaut is Chicken and Chorizo couscous. This is another Good Food recipe, copied out on to an index card and is probably the most used in my box of recipes. To serve 6, the ingredients are as follows:
350g each of couscous & cooked chicken; 100g sliced chorizo
3 medium tomatoes, deseeded (that's what the recipe says - I never bother - and if I don't have big tomatoes, I have used a handful of cherry toms) and chopped
100g frozen peas (again, the recipe says they should be thawed but I never bother)
900ml hot chicken or veg stock (if yp've been really organised you can use the stock you made from the chicken carcass - or alternatively dissolve a couple of stock cubes...)
1/2-1 tsp harissa paste or hot chilli sauce
pinch of saffron,
1 tsp each of ground ginger & ground coriander
3tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped coriander (or parsley is fine too - or don't bother)
Pre-heat oven to 180C/Gas 4 (fan 160)
You put the couscous, chicken, chorizo, tomatoes and peas in a large shallow dish, and combine the stock. harissa, saffron, ground ginger and coriander with the oil, and seasoning. Pour the stock mixture over the couscous etc give a good stir with a fork and cover tightly with tin foil then bake for 30 mins. Remove foil, stir in the fresh coriander (or parsley) (if you can be bothered), breaking up any clumps of couscous and serve.
You can replace the peas with courgette, and you can add other veg. It's really delicious. The recipe above is for 6 but you can halve it etc or make a big load and the leftovers are delicious cold - especially with some tabasco...