Who doesn’t love a roast chicken? There is nothing that says comfort food like a roast dinner, and as a bonus, you get to use up all those lovely leftovers. Nothing should be wasted, so have a look at my favourite leftover roast chicken recipes for fuss-free, quick and easy delicious mid week meals and more!
Why roast chicken?
I love a roast chicken. Not only is it delicious, but it also generates lots of leftover roast chicken that can be used in all sorts of recipes throughout the week. The leftovers from the weekend roast are an essential part of my meal planning.
- My leftover lamb biryani is a quick, easy and delicious one-pot meal for all the family to enjoy.
- For when I want a salad as my main side dish, here’s a recipe for delicious courgette salad.
- If you haven’t discovered celeriac yes, start here “what is celeriac“. A delicious accompaniment to chicken
- Roast butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables; roasting is a great way to add depth of flavour.
When you factor leftovers into your cooking, and think of them as ingredients, it makes sense to roast a chicken for two or even one, or to buy a much larger chicken for a family.
Cooking a whole chicken is far more economical than buying chicken pieces, so you get more for your hard-earned money. I don’t want to pay someone else to portion them for me!
Timewise, it is far more efficient to cook the chicken one evening or at the weekend. You then have the ready-cooked chicken in place for your delicious fuss-free mid week meals.
I’ll show you how to use every bit of your leftover roast chicken. Enjoy these easy recipes for chicken curry, chicken pie, chicken soup, chicken stock, coronation chicken and so much more.
Making life easy
The classic Sunday roast seems to be falling by the wayside in many homes these days. In my younger days, beef was the most popular choice, though pork, lamb and chicken were always part of the repertoire.
Today, traditional British favourite beef is falling out of fashion because of farming practices. With so many people avoiding pork, chicken has come to dominate the supermarket shelves.
Whichever meat you prefer, a roast is a very fine thing. Deliciously slow cooked, it is designed to be hands off. This is, of course, a hangover from the days when the cook expected to be in church rather than at the stove on a Sunday morning.
However you prefer to spend your time, a meal that can be left to cook unattended is a useful thing. At the end, you are left, if nothing else, with a carcass for stock, lending plenty of flavour to future dishes. If you have a smaller household, there should be plenty of meat that is great for the quickest of meals.
Just remember to get the leftovers packed away into the fridge or freezer as soon as they are cool enough and don’t use chicken that has been forgotten and left out for hours. Store it safely and you will be set up for the week!
Freezing leftover roast chicken
My save-it-for-later approach can render almost a week of chicken meals, if we are being really frugal. To space out the chicken leftovers a bit more, leave some in the fridge for this week and freeze some for another time.
To do this, pick the meat from the carcass while still warm. Pack into take away plastic boxes, and allow to cool completely. Then freeze.
If you used a lot of flavourings with your roast chicken, make a note on the box. Was it plain as plain or harissa roast chicken? You may want to take this into account when you come to use your leftovers.
A little lemon and thyme will make very little difference to which recipes you choose but a lot of tarragon or piri piri spice is a different matter!
PLEASE remember that you can freeze chicken twice: once raw and once when cooked. If you are storing roast chicken in the freezer, please do not then freeze the dish you make with it later.
Finally, don’t waste leftover gravy! You can add it to stocks, soups, casseroles or freeze some of the meat in it.
Stock is everything
Stock is everything in cooking – or so said, Escoffier, the father of modern French cuisine. While your roasting joint probably comes off the bone, you roast your chicken whole. This means you will soon have what you need for perfect stock.
This stock will be unlike anything you buy as a cube or blister pack from the supermarket. It is rich and full of concentrated flavour, with nothing artificial and no salt.
Nothing lifts your cooking like a really good stock base, so if you have never made your own, please give it a try.
I don’t find it efficient to make stock from each chicken carcass, one at a time. I prefer a bit more bulk, so I break up the carcass after a roast and put it in a box in the freezer. When I have three or four carcasses, it’s time to turn those roast chicken leftovers into fabulous stock.
Pick your method to cook them!
Simply delicious roast chicken recipes
Fresh and easy, these light but satisfying recipes let the flavour of the roast chicken shine through.
They may not be entirely traditional, but the fun of using up leftovers is in getting creative. Never be afraid to improvise. I’m convinced that you will find these leftover roast chicken recipes as delicious as they are easy.
Spice it up
We love a little spice, and chicken, being a mild flavoured meat, is perfect for soaking up all those wonderful flavours.
It is also universal, a traditional part of all those amazing cuisines from around the world. Your roast chicken leftovers are never out of place with your favourite spice palate.
Choosing a different spice palate every time helps to create a contrast between leftovers meals
Indian inspired flavours
Britain’s favourite takeaway meals are easily replicated at home, and they take half the time with precooked chicken.
Mexican inspired leftover chicken recipes
A little chilli, a little lime and a lot of flavour make these easy leftovers recipes a great way to brighten the working week.
With ready cooked meat, this chicken taco recipe comes together in a flash, making it perfect for a speedy weeknight supper or weekend lunch.
A North African twist
Use earthy spices to turn your leftovers into exciting suppers.
A taste of Spain
Bold and vibrant flavours of Iberia remind me of days in the sun.
The Far Eastern influence
Delicate and fragrant or powerful and punchy, these recipes are a great way to rustle up a takeaway style meal for a fraction of the price.
A simple swap
You will find a plethora of recipes out there for leftover roast turkey dishes. The festive turkey generates more leftovers and we are keen to use them up.
These recipes were written with a turkey glut in mind, but leftover roast chicken works every bit as well. All you need to do is swap the bird!