Last week I posted about my chicken roasting adventures. I was inspired to turn my chicken meal into a week full of meals after watching an episode of the Nate Berkus Show about making leftovers stretch. Since I only cook for one to two people (myself and a friend), I figured I would at least get a few wraps and a salad or two out of it, something different each day. What actually transpired was the chicken sitting in the fridge the rest of the week. As I was determined to use it for something, I decided to use a recipe I had saved from Giada De Laurentiis for a California Turkey Chili, only replacing the turkey with chicken. Warm, perfect-for-winter spices, hearty chicken and cannellini beans just seemed too enticing to not try. A simple recipe made for a delicious dish rich with flavor.
After making this dish a couple of times, I realized that hand chopping the fresh ingredients
yields a better result than a food processor (which dices too small and the vegetables get lost).
I also found that (at least for my personal preference) tossing cooked and shredded chicken in the pot with the onions, peppers, garlic and celery as opposed to adding chunks of raw chicken to cook with them makes for a better texture of the overall chili.
The end result was an excellent blend of flavors. The poblano peppers and chili powder added heat, while the cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar added warmth and slight sweetness to round out the heat and then the creaminess of the beans bringing it all together. I served it over rice pilaf, but this chili can also stand on its own.
Dishes like this are so perfect for the holiday season. With all of the turkey, chicken and other various meats and vegetables, making the items stretch after the family tires of the first couple nights of Thanksgiving or Christmas leftovers is a wonderful option to prolong the enjoyment and reduce waste.
What are some of your favorite leftover transformation meals?