Left over from Shabbat

Inspiration for what to do with extra chicken can come from unlikely places.

roast chicken 521 (photo credit: MCT)
roast chicken 521
(photo credit: MCT)
On many tables a golden roast chicken is a highlight of Friday night’s dinner. It’s delicious when freshly cooked but can be less tasty the second time it’s served, if it is simply reheated in the oven. The breast meat can turn out dry.
I like to follow my mother’s custom and turn the roast chicken into another dish. Hers was often chicken chow mein, for which she cut the chicken in cubes and heated them with mushrooms and celery in a light sauce. She served it over rice, with crunchy noodles sprinkled on top.
If you have chicken left from making soup, the women of Aish Hatorah who wrote The Taste of Shabbos gave several ideas for using it.
You could braise the chicken pieces with sauteed tomatoes, celery, onions and green peppers and serve them on a bed of rice, or you could grind the meat to use in fillings for blintzes, knishes or kreplach. For an appetizer you could use leftover cooked chicken in their kosher version of classic chicken a la king, made with a sauce of chicken broth thickened with flour and enriched with margarine and an egg yolk; the diced chicken is heated in the sauce with sweet red peppers, mushrooms, peas and slivered almonds and served over rice or mashed potatoes or in pastry shells.
Inspiration for what to do with extra chicken can come from unlikely places. As I walked around a Korean supermarket, enjoying the array of exotic greens, noodles and huge bags of red pepper flakes, many of the flavorings I saw seemed perfect for perking up leftovers. At the market a woman was doing a cooking demonstration of several kinds of Asian mushrooms.
She sauteed the mushrooms with sweet red pepper and zucchini and used a few simple seasonings – soy sauce, a spicier wasabi soy sauce, a salty-sweet oyster sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. The mushrooms were delicious, and I was thinking that strips of leftover roast chicken would have been great in that dish.
I soon found that a Korean-style sauce flavored with soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste and sesame seeds works very well for reheating chicken with vegetables in a formula resembling my mother’s chicken chow mein. In fact, serving chicken and vegetables over rice in this manner can work with a variety of sauces, like a Mediterranean one with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil or an Indian one with tomatoes, ginger, garlic, curry spices and fresh coriander.
Jessie Price, author of The Simple Art of Eating- Well Cookbook (with the EatingWell Test Kitchen), feels that it’s worth making chicken “leftovers” on purpose. She wrote: “If you’re looking for a way to make your food dollars and cooking efforts go further, roast a whole chicken or two. If you’re cooking for two, one roast chicken yields at least two meals’ worth of meat: Eat the freshly roasted chicken one night and use the leftover meat as the base of your meal the next night. If you’re cooking for four or more, roasting two chickens at once is hardly any more work.
You can make a quick broth out of the roasted bones to get even more for your money.”
Price suggests using the extra chicken in a Moroccan chicken salad with rice, shredded carrots, green onions, chopped olives and a light orange juice dressing with mint, cilantro, chicken broth and a touch of olive oil. For a heartier dish, she makes chicken and pinto bean burritos by mixing them with a chili-flavored tomato sauce with sauteed onions, garlic, cumin and lime juice; she adds raw cabbage and rolls the hot mixture in a whole-wheat tortilla.
Cooked vegetables may be the easiest leftovers to use. You can heat them with the chicken in any soup base or savory sauce, such as mushroom sauce, barbecue sauce or your family’s favorite pasta sauce. A curry-flavored tomato sauce is good with any vegetable, and you can add cooked or canned beans for extra protein.
Faye Levy is the author of Faye Levy’s International Chicken Cookbook.
CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES WITH KOREAN SESAME SAUCE The Korean sauce features sesame in two ways – aromatic sesame oil and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds – and is a wonderful complement for the chicken. You can make it mild or hot, according to the amount of chili sauce you add.
The sauce is simple to prepare; you just mix the ingredients together.
For this dish I saute specialty mushrooms, like oyster mushrooms or diced portobello mushrooms, with other vegetables I have on hand – often carrots, zucchini, celery and canned baby corn. Of course, you can use regular mushrooms too, or substitute already-cooked vegetables for some of those here. I add the chicken and sauce and serve this easy, colorful dish over steamed rice.
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds 3⁄4 cup sliced or diced carrot 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. soy sauce 2 tsp. Oriental sesame oil 2 Tbsp. rice wine or dry sherry 1⁄2 to 1 tsp. chili paste with garlic or hot sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion 1 tsp. sugar 225 gr. fresh oyster mushrooms or white mushrooms 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 2 medium zucchini, halved, cut in thin slices 3⁄4 cup thinly sliced celery 2 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken 10 ears canned baby corn, drained, rinsed salt to taste Hot cooked rice for serving
In a small skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium heat 2 or 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
Put carrots in a saucepan with water to cover, bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon cooking liquid and let cool. Drain carrots.
Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, chili paste, garlic, green onion, sugar and reserved tablespoon carrot cooking liquid. Mix well.
Cut mushrooms in bite-size pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and saute 3 minutes. Remove. Heat another tablespoon oil, add zucchini and celery and saute 2 minutes. Add chicken and corn and sprinkle with salt. Toss briefly over heat. Add sauce and remaining vegetables and heat until bubbling. Toss well. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Makes 3 servings.
DAY-AFTER-SHABBAT VEGETABLE STEW Serve this low-fat vegetarian stew flavored with tomatoes, thyme and cumin as a main course or side dish. Accompany it with hot cooked brown rice, pasta shells or whole-wheat bread, and if you like, with grated Parmesan or other cheese.
If you have cooked cauliflower or cooked green beans, add them to the sauce for the last few minutes and heat through.
1 large cauliflower 1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil 2 large onions, quartered and sliced 1 cup hot water 3 thyme sprigs or 1⁄2 tsp. dried salt and freshly ground pepper 2 very small eggplants, halved and sliced, or 1 medium eggplant, diced
100 gr. green beans, trimmed 2 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced a 400-gr. can diced tomatoes with their liquid 2 Tbsp. tomato paste 6 large garlic cloves, chopped 2 tsp. ground cumin 11⁄2 cups cooked white or brown beans or a 400-gr. can, drained (optional)
Divide cauliflower in fairly small florets. Cut peel from cauliflower stem; slice stem.
Heat oil in a large, heavy stew pan. Add onions and saute over medium heat 3 minutes. Cover and saute, stirring often about 5 minutes or until onions brown, adding a few tablespoons water if necessary to prevent burning.
Add 1 cup hot water and thyme and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower, salt and pepper and cook, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add eggplant, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and cumin. Stir to blend in tomato paste. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender; add water occasionally if pan begins to look dry. Discard thyme sprigs. Add white beans and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.