FRUGAL FOODIE: Roast dinner leftovers leave you quids in

Frugal Foodie Christine McAllister with Jean-Christophe Novelli at Alnwick Food Festival.
Frugal Foodie Christine McAllister with Jean-Christophe Novelli at Alnwick Food Festival.

Hello again! It’s been a while! I’m afraid my busy life has interrupted my column a bit and I’ll be writing on a monthly basis for a while. Thanks for all the great feedback I’ve had. It’s lovely to hear!

Without a doubt, the key to lowering your food budget is to learn to love your leftovers and use every last tiny bit of your ingredients and leftovers, not wasting a single thing.

Roast dinners are definitely the best way to work this strategy. Spending a few pounds on a joint of meat will give you multiple delicious meals, each one completely different. It will also provide you with the most amazing cooking fats and stocks.

I often buy joints of meat that are in the reduced section of the supermarket or I buy them when they’re on special offer and freeze them for later. A roast dinner makes everything better so it’s good to have one in the house for when you need some TLR (tender loving roast).

I hope you were all able to get out and support the Alnwick Food Festival on Saturday, September 20, and Sunday, September 21! It was great. The Market Place was a hive of activity with lots of delicious food and gorgeous crafts for sale.

I did a budget cookery demonstration on the Sunday which was terrifying and brilliant in equal measures!

There was a great turnout so I wanted to thank everyone for supporting the festival, to Karen Larkin for asking me to take part and to all the lovely people who were there helping me, particularly my lovely friend Gail for braving the stage with me!

I had a lovely time cooking for a lovely audience and chatting away – the hour went by very quickly. I showed how to make some quick and easy meals from a leftover roast chicken.

I promised that I would share the recipes with you all. So here goes! Now you’ve got no excuse for wasting any of your lovely roast chicken.

NOTHING GOES TO WASTE

Recipes from my demonstration at Alnwick Food Festival:

CHICKEN STOCK

Simply put the chicken carcass in a large pan and cover with boiling water. Add carrot, celery and onion, roughly chopped into large pieces, along with two bay leaves and about 1 tsp of whole black peppercorns. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and leave it to simmer for about an hour and a half. Sieve the stock into a large bowl and leave to cool before either using for a recipe straight away or freezing for later.

CHICKEN ROGAN JOSH

Heat some oil in a large frying pan or wok. Groundnut or vegetable oil would be best. Add a chopped onion, a chopped red chilli, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 1 tsp of salt to the oil and cook over a low heat until the onion has softened. Add the following spices to the pan: Garam masala, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and mild curry powder. Stir in to the onion to create a paste, adding extra oil if necessary. Let it cook for a few minutes and then add the chopped chicken and some leftover gravy, if you have some. Stir it all together. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a little water. Let it cook for a few minutes and then add about 5 or 6 tbsps of natural yoghurt. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Use this time to get your rice on. Add 1 or 2 tbsps of mango or apple chutney and a handful of chopped coriander. Stir in and remove from the heat. Sprinkle more coriander over the top and serve with the rice.

CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI GRATIN

Steam some broccoli and reserve the cooking water. Heat some butter in a large frying pan or casserole over a very low heat so as not to burn the butter. Add a couple of tbsps of flour and stir into a roux. Let it cook off for a few minutes and add the chicken. Stir it all together well. Add the cooking water, gradually, stirring all the time. Season with some salt and pepper. Add about 1 heaped tbsp of wholegrain mustard and a large handful of grated cheese. I used a mix of grana padano and cheddar. If you have any chicken skin left, chop it into small pieces and fry in a dry pan until very crispy. Pour the chicken mixture into an oven dish, sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs and cheese onto the top and dot with butter. Grill under a medium heat for a couple of minutes.

SPECIAL FRIED RICE

This recipe was used as a way of using leftover chicken but also leftover rice from the Rogan Josh. This can be adjusted to include almost anything you’d like and is great for left over vegetables from your roast dinner too. This is a very basic and very quick recipe that you can have on the table within minutes. Fry off some chopped chorizo in a dry pan and as the fat starts to render, add chopped mushrooms. Let this cook off for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms start to soften. Add the leftover chicken and heat through. Now add some rice, spring onions and peas and stir to combine the flavours and heat the rice up. Season with salt, pepper and a few chilli flakes. Finally, make some space in the pan and add a beaten egg. Let it set slightly on the bottom, giving it a light stir, as if you are making an omelette. When it’s still soft but starting to set, stir it through the rice.

Follow Christine McAllister on Twitter @thefrugaldiary or read her blog at diaryofafoodie.co.uk.