A whole roasted chicken is a much loved and requested meal in this house. Being that it is I who is in charge of roasting the bird, the request is always welcomed. For me the meal involves 6 simple steps: I turn on the oven, mix up the herbs and spices, rub them on the chicken, place the chicken in the oven, wait for it to roast, and lastly serve it. (I usually stick to simple side-dishes to keep the process simple.) This meal is one that takes minimal effort, clean-up, and little attention is required. Quite honestly, I can’t think of a better meal to serve on busy or lazy days.
Because there are only two of us, this means that a whole roasted chicken is too large for just us. We always end up with leftovers — which, of course, are also much welcomed. The leftovers means that I either won’t have to cook again the next day, or that several other meals will be created from the one chicken I roasted. Perhaps you have a larger family and require a larger bird than mine; I’m sure you too have found yourself with leftover roasted chicken. The tips I am about to share can also be applied to your larger chicken…or even roasted turkey or roasted duck meals.
Roasting The Chicken
I have several variations that I like to mix up when seasoning the chicken or other poultry. Here are ones I’ve shared on the blog.
Roasted, Juicy, and Crispy Herb Chicken
Lemon, Garlic and Fresh Herbes de’Provence Roasted Chicken
Roasted Poussin (Cornish Hen) with Preserved Lemons, Olives, and North African Spices (you can use the same recipe on chicken)
How To Get Many Meals From One Roasted Chicken
Eat the Leftovers: The first leftover chicken meal you can have is just eating the roasted chicken (turkey or other bird) with some side-dishes just as you did in the original meal.
This would give you two meals from one roasted chicken.
Make Stock: Whether you ate the one or two meals (as suggested above) it is always a good idea to save the bones. (Well, if people have been putting the bones in their mouth you won’t want to save those for sanitary purposes, of course.) From these roasted chicken bones you can make a fantastic, deeply-flavoured chicken stock with them. It really doesn’t matter if there is still a little meat or no meat on them, they’ll all work great for making stock. The herbs and spice you used to flavour the roasted chicken will also lend a nice flavour into the stock and meals you incorporate it into.
So if you roast one chicken, eat leftovers the next day, save the bones and make stock you can get three meals/uses from one roasted chicken.
Turn Stock Into Soup: From the stock that you prepare with the bones you can then turn it into a soup. I love using it as the base for chicken noodle soup, like this one “Spicy Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup”. But you could also work it into this “Indian Spiced Chicken (or Vegetable) Turmeric Soup”. Alternatively the stock can be used for making other chicken or vegetable based soups and stews — you could even add it to curry recipes. And if there was meat left on the bones you can remove it from them and added it to the soup.
So if you roasted the chicken, eat leftover chicken, save the bones to make stock then made soup from the stock: four meals (uses) can be had from one roasted chicken. If you didn’t eat the leftover chicken but still made the stock and soup, you would still end up with three meals/uses.
Uses For The Leftover Chicken Meat: This is where we can and should get more creative than just chicken sandwiches. Besides, one can only eat so many leftover chicken sandwiches before getting utterly board. Here are a few of the new meals I create with the leftover roasted chicken meat. (It’s best to pull the meat off the bones to refrigerate and get an idea how much you’ll have to work with.)
• Make tacos! Since the chicken is already cooked, it’s only a matter of heating up the meat and some tortillas. Chop up some onion and cilantro, grab the hot sauce, add any sides you’d like, and viola there’s your taco night dinner. You could also try these tacos: Chicken and Swiss Chard Tacos
• Use the meat as a filling for savoury pies. Here are a few of my pie recipes: Mini Chicken and Green Chile Pies Made with Corn and Oat Flour Pie Crust, Curry Goose Pot Pie (this can be made with chicken instead.)
• Make Enfrijoladas! Enfrijoladas de Pollo or Chicken Enfrijoladas
• Make Stuffed Peppers: Leftover roasted chicken meat is excellent to mix in with other ingredients and use it as a stuffing for peppers.
• Quesadillas: This is something I really love to do, especially for a quick lunch.
If you roast the chicken, use the bones for stock, turn the stock into soup, reserve the leftover meat to turn into one of the above meals: three or four meals can be had with the one roasted chicken.
These are but a few suggestions, the possibilities for giving roasted chicken leftovers a new life are truly endless. All you need is an imagination and you could create amazing dishes all while not being wasteful and helping your pocketbook.