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GIve this poor chicken a second life - recycling lousy roast chicken

So I cheated on my main chicken farmer and got a rather large roaster from another vendor. Boy, do I regret it. I don't think I did a very good job roasting it (it came out raw and I had to put it in again), but even so - the texture was weird in a way I just can't account for, except maybe it was really a stewer or on some VERY different feed or - hell, I just don't know. The breast wasn't tough per se, more like spongy and firm, kinda like those odd vaguely plasticky chickenlike deli meats meant for slicing and serving to the unaware customer.

So here's the thing: I have TONS of leftovers. I can't contact the farmer again until the market is open tomorrow. Is there some way to recycle this meat that will improve it? I also made pan gravy. I was thinking a long-cooking approach might help. Any ideas? Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have!

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Where you already have the gravy too, I second the Chicken pot pie.

    2. Chicken salad, quesadillas, tacos, love pot pie ip, also you can throw in a vegetable soup at the end. of cooking or into a past where there are other flavors that take center stage. A pesto chicken pasta maybe.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kchurchill5

        Since you describe the texture as weird, I woudl go with something that cooks it to shreds or that you shred, i.e tacos. I like the idea that good green chilies make most anyting taste better as well. Then there is the cheese... In short I woudl cook it more, with some good chiles, shred it and freeze save in defrostable, "bad night -late in winter -what's in the freezer?" portions.

        1. re: Quine

          Agreed. Cook and shred and season for tacos/quesadillas. I love this recipe for chicken & mushroom quesadillas:


          It's so easy to whip up. It calls for shiitakes and button, but I just use all button. It seems like a lot going on, to waste shiitakes in quesadillas.

      2. I just went through this with a little help from my CH friends, though the leftover roast chicken we had was not weird in any way...I took the cooked meat off the bones, shredded and put into my crockpot with a medium sized chopped onion that I sauteed. Added some bbq sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's was what I had on hand) and cut the sauce with about 3 TB of cider vinegar, plus "rinsed out" the empty sauce bottle with a little water. Cooked all of it on 'high' for 1 1/2 hrs, then turned it down to 'low' for about 2 or 3 hours...you need to check it every 30 mins or so to see if you need to add more sauce. It came out really great and tasty. Not sure if this will work but what the hey, it involves minimal effort and the slow-cooking might just change the weird texture into something delightful, who knows? Here's the link to my recent conversation with these dear, nice CH pals:

        1. chilaquiles--that's what Mexicans use leftover chicken for. No one in all of Mexico ever eats chicken tacos--except for tortillas on the side of roasted chicken.

              1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                Second the chicken chili, green preferred.

                Also, mole sauce will make almost anything taste good.

              2. Classic chicken croquettes

                1 pint of hot cream
                2 even tablespoonfuls of butter
                4 heaping tablespoonfuls of sifted flour
                1/2 teaspoonful of salt
                1/2 saltspoonful of white pepper
                dust of cayenne
                1/2 teaspoonful of celery salt
                1 teaspoonful of onion juice
                1/2 pound of chicken chopped fine
                1 teaspoonful of lemon juice
                1 teaspoonful of minced parsley
                1 beaten egg

                ...or a scaled down baked version

                2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. reduced-calorie butter, divided
                3 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
                1/2 c. skim milk (at room temp.
                )6 oz. skinned and boned cooked chicken, ground
                1 packet instant chicken broth and seasoning mix
                3 tbsp. plain dried bread crumbs
                1 egg, lightly beaten

                Somewhere in the middle

                2 tbsp. butter
                1/4 c. flour
                3/4 tsp. salt
                1/8 tsp. pepper
                1 c. milk
                1 tsp. each minced parsley & onion
                2 c. ground or finely chopped cooked chicken
                1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
                Salt & pepper to taste
                Pinch sage
                Fine dry bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs
                1 egg
                1 tbsp. water
                Fat for frying

                2 Replies
                1. re: rworange

                  I love these old recipes. Did you link to vintage recipes before, rworange? But what is "hot cream." Do you know?

                  1. re: karykat

                    Cream that is heated ... sounds pretty rich.

                2. Sloppy Jose:
                  Pick and shred the meat. Sautee one diced sweet onion and 2 minced jalapenos. Mix 1 cup chicken stock with 3 tbs. jarred mole sauce. Combine all in a wide pan and simmer to desired consistency. Adjust/add liquid as necessary. Serve on hamburger buns.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Veggo

                    I've yet to make any version of Sloppy Joe/Jose/Geo I didn't like. Someone mentioned gorditas on another thread. I've never made my own, but would like to try--and your topping would be yummy on a gordita.

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      I hear what you are saying. I, too, love me some sloppy joes. My mother used to make them once a week. Just ground beef, onion, ketchup, a little sugar, splash of worcestshire and splash of mustard. I still make these (sometimes adding green bell pepper when I'm feeling that school cafeteria nostalgia stirring). A guilty pleasure. :)

                      Now I have Adam Sandler in my head singing "Sloppy Joe... slop-sloppy Joe..."

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        For a twist I add some chipoltes, some black beans. Sounds odd, but really works work ground chicken or diced chicken, and yes green or red peppers. Top with some melted pepperjack cheese or good montery jack and it is great. Just a twist on a reg sloppy. I love them too!

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          LL: I have the same problem whenever I'm thinkin' about sloppy joes...he kinda sounds like Axl Rose when he's singing that part. ;) I was on a bit of a joe quest earlier this year and tried a few varieties. Ever see Stonewall Kitchens Maple Chipotle Grill Sauce--it makes a mean joe.

                          This one's for you, bud!

                          Chipotles are yummy--but I wouldn't dare add 'em if I use the Maple Chipotle Sauce 'cause that adds enough of a kick for me. ;) Oh, and peppers always in this house. Love peppers. Oh, and yes, ground anything is fine by me--chicken, turkey, beef. All good schtuff.

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            A double chipolte whammy. Yea a bit much. But yeah, ground this or that. Always can make something.

                            Now have to make sloppy joes this week. Weekend off so I'm cooking up a storm anything and everything, I love it. I will have some left over pork and some chicken ... maybe chicken sloppy joes from leftovers. Who Knows?

                    2. Flautas or chimichangas! The crunchiness of the fried tortilla (flour or corn) are terrifc, and of course homemade salsa and guacamole will make anything taste better.

                      I've found when my attempt at making a roasted chicken, or pork roasthasn't turned out, the best way to save the meal was to make it a wrapped food. That could be as comforting as a pot pie. Or for a little more work, chimichangas, enchilladas, or quesedillas. On the Asian side, dumplings come to mind, either steamed or fried. Egg rolls, pork buns.You could even make a sauce of hoisin, five spice, oyster sauce, and ginger root, and garlic - cook all of the ingredients, and drop in the shredded meat. Then make steamed chicken buns. They are made the same way as pork buns, except you use chicken. ( you can vegetarian buns as well) Or fried rice? That is one of my all time favorite foods. And you can use any vegetables you like.

                      If the texture is truly gross, that is a little harder to deal with, You will either have to twice cook it which means, just shred it, and then fry it again in oil with garlic. You can fry it so that some of the bits and edges are crispy, and that meat could be used inside a taco.

                      Or what my last chance would be, make it into soup or stew. Cover a bisccuit, or bowl of mashed potaotes or rice. That wouldn't be half bad either!

                      1. 1. shredded in enchiladas
                        2. shredded in lasgana
                        3. shredded in pot pies
                        4. shredded in a curry
                        5. shredded and tossed in briefly and at the end of a spicy stir fry w/ green onions and snow peas
                        6. shredded and in an spicy arroz con pollo

                          1. I may be in the minority here but honestly I would chuck it. Undercooked, weird texture ,etc, = not appealing. I'd chalk it up to not buying from that vendor again and move on. Would be a shame to waste time and other good ingredients on it and then find it is still gross.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ddelicious

                              I'd make stock and THEN chuck it. I too am in the minority about this but I firmly believe that if it's unsatisfactory then why sullly another dish with it.

                            2. Soup. You can salvage a yearling tougher than Foghorn Leghorn when you make chicken soup, and the flavor will be better too.

                              If you go the pot pie route, you may actually need to stew the chicken in some kind of broth or gravy just to get it a bit more tender and moist. (I assume that your weird texture was a rubbery or tough texture).

                              1. Hey people, thanks for all these interesting replies! I loved the Mexican & Tex-Mex ideas, but I don't have the basics for those foods b/c I don't really cook Mexican - no lack of love, just lack of a clue.

                                I finally settled on a chicken stew-ish kinda thing. My dh tasted the chicken the first night and said "Soup!" and I just never found anything that seemed better than that for what it was. All the texture issues are fine now, thank heavens.


                                * roasted chicken
                                * canellini beans
                                * prosciutto
                                * onions
                                * potatoes
                                * carrots
                                * sturdy cold weather greens
                                * gravy

                                I threw the (badly) roasted chicken in a pot of water with a few peppercorns, a halved clove of garlic, some carrot peel, and a sun-dried tomato. I let it simmer for an hour and a half and then pulled out the carcass to strip it. I reserved the picked-over meat in the fridge and then returned the inedibles to the pot to continue simmering.

                                Meanwhile, I sliced up a quarter pound prosciutto; chopped one onion; picked, washed & chopped a bunch of greens (beet tops, chard, kale, some Italian greens I forget the name of), peeled and chopped around ten small carrots; and peeled and roughly chopped around a dozen red potatoes. I did it in this order so I would avoid getting the potatoes brown.

                                I pulled some some already cooked canellini beans out of the freezer.

                                I strained the stock and removed as much fat as possible; then added the prosciutto, potatoes and onions. After 15 min or so, I added the beans. As that started to thaw, I added the carrots. Then I added the greens. Then I added the meat. Then I remembered the gravy and reheated it separately, adding broth until the texture was similar enough for me to dump it into the pot without creating lumps.

                                When serving, I mashed the potatoes slightly with a fork to give more thickness. Would have been fine the other way, too. There was a *slight* degree of spice since I'd originally smeared the chicken with harissa when I roasted it, but it didn't conflict with the other flavors.

                                Probably my best rescue attempt for food I'd botched the first time around - thanks again for helping me think through all of it!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Mawrter

                                  Heck, if it was good... what more can you ask. A few at times not just on this post but said throw it away. I disagree. I think there is always a ways to salvage it. Soups, stews, dumplings, ravioli, you name it. I'm glad it worked out. I would of tried something too.

                                  Last choice, my kitties would of been 3 happy cats thats for sure. but glad you got something.

                                  1. re: Mawrter

                                    Nice going--I'm glad your chicken's "second life" turned out so well. :)