With people reckoned to be throwing out the equivalent of 86 million chickens every year I thought we could all do with a little reminder of all the tasty things we can do with those leftovers that are too easy to put in the bin.
The research into our household food and waste – who would want a job looking at that? – estimates that UK households like ours are chucking out as much as 4.2 million tonnes of food and drink annually.
That’s equivalent to six meals every week for the average home.
To help us all cut down on this wasteful behavior, here are some chicken recipes for our leftovers. They are as fail safe as I can make them:
Soup with herbs, chicken & butter beans
This uses inexpensive ingredients to enhance your left overs
1 leftover chicken carcass, plus 225g meat, plus 1½ litres chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
6 carrot, chopped
3-4 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
3-4 sprigs sage, leaves picked and chopped
3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp plain flour
400g can butter bean, drained
crusty bread, to serve
Place leftover chicken carcass in a large saucepan, Cover with two litres of water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. While waiting, heat oil in another large pan and add the onions.
Cook for 10 mins until the onions start to caramelise. Add the chopped herbs, carrots, spices and flour, and stir for a couple of minutes. This will toast the spices.
Strain the carcass’s cooking liquid into the vegetables. Stir, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the meat back into the soup, along with the butter beans, season and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Use a hand-held blender or food processor to blitz the soup to your favoured consistency. Season with extra pepper, and serve with good crusty bread.
Chicken noodle salad
This is such a simple way of making your chicken go so much further
4 cooked chicken legs
400g soba noodles
½ tsp wasabi paste
1½ tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
juice 1 lemon
good pinch of sugar
1 red chilli, finely chopped
6 spring onions, sliced diagonally
large pack coriander, leaves only
Shred the chicken leg meat, discarding the bones (the skin can be placed on baking parchment and roasted in the oven until crisp). Boil a pan of water and cook the noodles as per the packet instructions. Drain the noodles and cool under cold running water.
Mix the wasabi, soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Toss the noodles with the dressing and arrange on a serving plate. Top with the chicken, chilli, spring onions and coriander.
Chicken with olives and tomatoes
This is such an impressive one-pot dish for summer – and so easy!
20g pack basil
2 tbsp oil
2 garlic clove, sliced
2 x 400g or 14oz cans cherry tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
handful of your favourite olives
sliced meat from a cooked chicken, plus any juices
crusty bread, to serve
Chop the basil stalks and shred most of the leaves. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, and soften two thinly sliced garlic cloves with the basil stalks for three minutes or so.
Tip in the two 400g cans of cherry tomatoes, with one teaspoon of sugar and the basil shreds.
Bring this to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes until it’s educed but still saucy. Season to your taste and add a handful of the olives with the sliced chicken and any juices. Gently stir. Simmer for a further two minutes, scatter with any remaining basil leaves, and serve with crusty bread.