How to use chicken leftovers

How to use chicken leftovers
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Tips to make Sunday’s roast chicken go further. Better still, roast a second chicken and use the meat to make easy meals during the week when you are time-poor.

When you have finished a roast chicken, remove all those juicy leftovers clinging to the carcass. The nubbly bits on the bottom of the chicken are often the tastiest.

Take the chicken off the bone as soon as possible, leave to cool completely, seal in freezer bags and store in the fridge for soups, toasted sandwiches and salads; or double-bag, label, date and freeze the chicken for use later – it will last up to a month in the freezer without losing flavour.


Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup: Add leftover chicken to a tin of cream of chicken soup, add a few spoons of sweetcorn, chopped fresh herbs and a sprinkle of smoked or sweet paprika.

Curried Chicken Soup: Add a spoon of your favourite Indian or Thai curry paste and a spoon of yogurt to the tinned chicken soup, thin it out with hot chicken stock, add the cooked chicken and heat through.

Make a chicken bone-broth: Take all the meat off the bones, break up the carcass and put it in a large pot covered in water. Add a peeled halved onion, a carrot and a stick of celery. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for about three quarters of an hour until the bones have given up all their flavour. Reduce the liquid further if it is not strongly-flavoured. Strain. Add any leftover chicken, heat through and eat. You will get the goodness left in the bones. There’s no point in doing this with a battery chicken – you need a free-range or organic chicken.


Quick Caeser Salad
Mix mayonnaise with a minced clove of garlic, grated Parmesan and season with freshly ground black pepper. Toss salad leaves with the dressing. Add cooked shredded chicken and croutons (rub the bread with a cut clove of garlic before you fry it.) Sprinkle lots more freshly grated Parmesan on top. You can add an anchovy to the mayonnaise for a more authentic Caeser Salad.

Make Chilli Chicken Pittas
Pitta breads are great to have in your store cupboard for those days when you run out of bread. Toast the pittas, trim the tops, add the cooked chicken and a spoon of chilli tomato chutney or jelly; top with grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream and fresh iceberg lettuce. Better still, put everything in bowls on the table and everyone can help themselves so it saves you cooking.

Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas: Take two tortillas, spread grated cheese on one, add sliced tomatoes and a few dashes of chilli jam. Add shredded leftover chicken. Place the second tortilla on top and fry in a non-stick oil frying pan until both sides are golden and the chicken in the middle is hot.  Cut into triangles and serve with sour cream and guacamole or hummous. It’s a good way of getting children to eat a healthy ingredient.

Cajun Chicken Tortillas: Heat leftover cooked chicken strips in a spoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan or wok, add a few spoons of Cajun sauce or a teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, toss and heat through. Smear a warm tortilla with garlic mayonnaise; add rocket leaves, sliced red onion and strips of ripe tomatoes. Fold and wrap in tin foil. Cut through the middle and serve. (To make garlic mayonnaise at home, stir a teaspoon of minced garlic into 250ml of mayonnaise.)


Chicken Fricassée: Make up a white (bechamel) sauce, add leftover chicken pieces and frozen peas and heat through. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with rice. This is a really simple, plain delicious meal, good for someone who cannot digest heavy food. You can also add diced cooked ham and use it as a filling for a pot pie (place the Chicken Fricassée in small oven-proof bowls, top with puff pastry and bake as per the pack instructions on the pastry packet).

Stir-fry: Make a chicken stir-fry with rice: cook the rice and leave to go cold. Heat sunflower oil in a hot wok. Add a lightly beaten egg and leave to cook – remove and cut into strips. Add more oil and heat. Fry some chopped onion until it takes on colour. Add the cooked rice, turning constantly and add frozen peas, diced ham, shredded cooked chicken, mange toute and carrot batons. Add a little soy sauce if you wish. Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper, constantly turning the rice so it doesn’t stick. Just before serving add the egg, turn a few times to heat it and serve.

Chicken and Pasta: Heat the chicken with any leftover jelly and/or a few tablespoons of chicken stock. Add frozen peas. When the chicken is hot and the sauce reduced, toss with your favourite cooked pasta. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with grated Parmesan on top. If you have a glug of white wine left over, add it to the chicken and make sure to cook it out.

FOOD SAFETY: How to store chicken leftovers 

– Always make sure that the cooked chicken is heated through before serving.

– Always keep leftover chicken in the fridge, covered and never put it in the fridge until it is completely cold.