If you want to live large on a limited budget, you’ll have to make peace with leftovers. Happily, that doesn’t mean a steady diet of sad-sack sandwiches. Dundas Park Kitchen’s chef (and resident chicken roaster), Alex Tso, shows us how to get the most of a single rotisserie bird.
Roast a chicken, eat half of it: Ambitious cooks will do this themselves; lazy folk will purchase a whole rotisserie chicken from Sobeys for 10 bucks. (There are ones conveniently located near U of T and Ryerson.)
Chicken gorditas: Gorditas—kind of like a cakey tortilla—are a truly accommodating sort. “Any kind of shredded cheese will work,” says Tso. “If you don’t have sour cream, you can use yogurt, and if you don’t have avocados, you don’t need to put them in.” One roasted chicken thigh will give you a substantial serving, and the cherry tomatoes and shredded lettuce will take care of your fruits and veggie needs. Plus, this gordita is toasted in a non-stick skillet, not deep-fried, so: healthy!
1 roasted chicken thigh
1 small can refried beans
1 small can tomatillo salsa
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 jalapeno pepper
¼ red onion, minced
1 handful shredded iceberg lettuce
1 handful shredded cheese, any kind
½ pack of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
¼ cup sour cream or yogurt
1 large flour tortilla
1 small crisp corn tortilla, or handful of corn chips
Cumin, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste
Directions: In a blender, blend the cilantro, tomatillo salsa, taco seasoning, cumin, salt, and pepper. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the avocado, red onion, half of the cherry tomatoes, and juice from the lime. Salt to taste. Set aside.
Lay the large tortilla on a clean surface. Spread with refried beans and the salsa. Add lettuce and cheese. Lay the corn tortilla on top, then cover with sour cream, more cheese, and salsa. Fold the whole tortilla together, making sure the ends are also folded down. In a non-stick skillet, heat the gordita on one side until it’s golden and toasted. Flip and repeat on the other side. Garnish with remaining tomatoes and avocado.
Jamie Kennedy’s chicken salad: “This is the best tasting chicken salad, and it’s made from a bunch of ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge,” says Tso. In addition to the shredded chicken breast kicking around from your Sunday meal, that includes some tart vinegar, briny olives and pickles, sharp cheddar, and fiery chili flakes. “Every single cook who has worked for Jamie Kennedy has made this salad at the restaurant and has squirreled away the last mouthful left in the bowl to eat just before service.”
1 roasted chicken breast, shredded
3 slices sharp white cheddar or gruyere, cut into matchsticks
15 cornichon pickles or 1 dill pickle, sliced thinly
¼ red onion, sliced as thinly as possible
15 green olives, sliced
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Chopped parsley, chili flakes, salt, and pepper, to taste
Directions: In a bowl, pour the red-wine vinegar over the onions and set aside for 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, pickles, olives, and cheese. Add the onions, reserving the vinegar, and add the olive oil. Toss all the ingredients to combine. Just before serving, season to taste with parsley, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and the reserved vinegar.
Chicken-and-mushroom wontons: “The recipe is supposed to be pierogies that I make from scratch, but let’s go for something easier like wonton wrappers—you can buy them from a store, and they cook really fast.” Tso uses the dark meat from the drumstick and wings, which has more moisture. He also tosses in some cooked shiitake mushrooms and minced celery and green onions. “You probably won’t be full from the wontons alone, so I say eat it with noodles. When I was a student, I ate lots of instant noodles with leftover Chinese barbecue and always an egg.”
Meat from the roasted chicken drumstick and wing
1 package store-bought wonton wrappers
2 green onions, minced
½ celery stalk, minced
8 shitake mushrooms, cooked and minced
2 sprigs cilantro, minced
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp white pepper
Sesame oil and tamari, to taste
1 egg yolk, set aside in a small bowl
Directions: Mince the chicken meat as finely as possible. In a large bowl, combine the green onions, cilantro, celery, mushrooms, sugar, and white pepper. Add sesame oil and tamari to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, make the wontons. Have an egg yolk ready. Take a wonton wrapper, place a small amount of the chicken mixture on the wrapper, and bring the corners of the wrapper together to form a triangle. Seal the edges with your fingers, using a bit of the yolk. Cook the wontons in the boiling water until they float to the surface. Serve in a broth, on their own, or with a poached egg and a pack of instant noodles.
Chicken, corn, and sweet potato chowder: A basic chicken stock won’t take a whole lot of time or effort: Just dunk the bird’s carcass in a pot with enough water to cover, simmer for half an hour, strain, and reserve. To make the soup, Tso adds both a sweet and Yukon gold potato, a handful of spices like thyme and smoked paprika, and a good helping of corn kernels. “Corn is abundant this time of year, so why not add it to the chowder?” he says. “This is a delicious way to use up the last of the chicken—I made it at the restaurant and it sold really well.”
1 roasted chicken carcass
1-2 ears worth of corn kernels
1 sweet potato, roasted
1 Yukon gold potato, baked
1 celery stalk, diced
¼ red onion, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped, or ½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
¼ tsp celery seed
4 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Chopped parsley, salt, and pepper to taste
Directions: To make the chicken stock, place the chicken carcass in a pot and pour cold water over the bones until just covered. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve.
In a medium-sized pot, sweat the onion, celery, corn, and spices until soft, without colouring them. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop out the sweet potato and Yukon potato, then add to the pot. Stir until the potatoes are slightly broken up, which will add body to the chowder. Season to taste again. Add the reserved chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and serve. If you want a white chowder, add ½ cup 35 per cent cream at the end, making sure the soup does not boil. Add chopped parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.
Hell, it’s the weekend. Drink!