The mystical art of recycling leftovers – Part 1: Traditional Roast Chicken

I work for a company that shares best practices for the B2B Marketing industry. One of the topics that our clients love, is about how to turn one piece of content, into 5 digital iterations. A good example of this would be to have a white paper on topic A, that you start talking about through a number of tweets, facebook posts and newsletters… all of a sudden, you have created a serie from just one piece of content… (email me if this interests you more than the food ūüėČ )

Now if you are not in the B2B Marketing world, this is something that has always been done with food.¬†I grew up in an environment where food was not to be wasted, or as little as possible. This kind of stuck with me when I started living on my own (over 12 years ago…), but I have noticed that this art is less and less known in our modern lives. I hope this post will help you make more out of your food :)

Here is an example:

Today is Sunday. Let’s say you want to make a roast chicken for you and your partner. A whole roast chicken may be too much for 2, but that’s OK: I swear that you won’t waste any of the leftovers if you follow my tips!

Step 1: Make the roast chicken.

For this, you will need a whole¬†chicken, and at minimum a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, and water…

  • Check if your chicken still contains the giblets, and remove them if you don’t like it.
  • Spread the olive oil over the whole chicken, ensuring you put some all over the skin (top and bottom, and onthe thighs and wings). This will ensure that the skin goes nicely crispy.
  • Stick the sharp knife in the fatty parts of the thighs and back (where the skin looks whiter and thicker), this will enable the fat to melt out, and the water to go as well.
  • Keep the salt and pepper for the end.
  • Variations: stuff the chicken with an onion cut in 4, some garlic (2/3), herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon taste great with chicken), or even lemon or lime cut in wedges
  • Put your chicken in the oven, that you will have pre-heated somewhere around 180 Degrees Celsius, and add a bit of water at the bottom.
  • Every 10/15mn, take the chicken out, and add a bit of water on the top, to ensure the meat will keep its moisture. This will also create a nice and tasty sauce to add on top of the meat when you serve it.
  • I am not good with time, so your chicken is cooked once the skin is golden and crispy, and when the thighs/wings are easy to take out of the chicken.¬†(see more tips here)


Enjoy your roast chicken :)


Step 2: oh dear… the chicken was too much for 2 people, what should I do with the leftovers? Shall I throw it away?


Noooooo! Listen to Chabal, don’t throw it away!

Take the meat off the bones, and keep the bones on one side, with the skin (unless you like the skin cold as well) and the meat on an other side.

1) What to do with the meat (non-exhaustive list)

You can usually keep the meat for a few days, 2/3 days, maybe more (when it looks green, stinks etc… yes then throw it away!)

– Salads:

The chicken meat will make a good addition to a variety of salads:

  • Chicken Caesar-like ¬†salads, with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese (like cheddar, feta cheese, goat cheese…)
  • Grains or pasta-based salads: rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa… to which you add the classics tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, asparagus or whatever you have that fits in a salad.

– Omelettes or scrambled eggs

  • Today, in my fridge I have spinach, eggs, mozzarella and leftover chicken meat… Well, I’ll put the spinach and the chicken meat in the pan, add the mozzarella and finish with the battered eggs for healthy scramble eggs (mozzarella does not do well with omelettes, too melty!).

– Soup:

  • Many soups contain meat, you can add your chicken leftover to a nice potatoes and leeks soup, either shreded or blended.

I’ll stop here, but I am sure you get the spirit. You could add it to sandwiches, to pasta or rice toppings, to jacket potatoes etc…


2) What to do with the bones and skin:

This is if you are a bit more brave, and want to revive the traditional chicken soup and chicken stock.

Beside the chicken bones and skin, you will need one or 2 carrots, one onion, celery branches or celeriac, salt and pepper (possible additions: spring onions, garlic, thyme/rosemary/tarragon…)

  • Put the bones and the skin in a large pan. Add¬†the vegetables in large chunks.
  • Add water on top, to fill the pan by about 5cm above the ingredients, and a bit of salt (no more than a pinch) and pepper
  • Bring it to a boil, and take out the foam that may be forming on top.
  • Boil it for a maximum of 2-3mn then bring it to a low simmer, half-cover it (don’t fit the lid entirely to the pan, but leave some space for evaporation)
  • Let it simmer for 3-4 hours.
  • Take out the bones, carrots, celery, onion etc… and filter the stock by using a colander covered with a cheesecloth. You can keep this stock for about a week or put in the freezer after it has cooled down.

Congratulations, you just made a beautiful chicken stock!

You will be able to use it as a base for sauces, soups, stews or more chicken stock :)

You want to recycle everything? The vegetable you used in the stock can be blended with some of the stock, along with a bit of the chicken meat for a nice winter treat :)


Now, chicken is just one example, and I will share more ideas for things like beans, lentils or stir fry in upcoming post.

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