Love your leftovers – creamy chicken and leek

I’ve been a fan of this dish for goodness knows how long. My mum always used to make it with leftover roast chicken and I’ve seen Mary Berry do something similar too. Creamy chicken with fluffy basmati rice (with no cream). The best kind of meal for a cold February Monday night.

Serves 2. Ingredients:

One large leek, sliced

Knob of butter

Plain flour

Milk

Any leftover gravy

Leftover roast chicken, torn into bite-sized chunks

1/2 mug Basmati rice

Salt and pepper

Method:

Start by preparing your rice, as this meal doesn’t take long to cook. Rinse the rice in cold water and place into a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 3/4 of the same mug of water (you want almost equal amounts of rice and water but with an extra splash). Add a pinch of salt. This way of cooking rice is called the absorption method and I think it makes much better rice than boiling. Turn on the heat and bring the pan of rice up to the boil. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the sliced leeks. Cook on a medium heat, stirring plenty, until they are soft and not brown.

When the rice has come to the boil, let it boil for 2 minutes then clamp on the lid and turn the heat down as low as it can go. Leave like this for around 10-12 minutes and don’t be tempted to keep taking the lid off – you want the rice to steam.

When the leeks are soft, add some seasoning and sprinkle one tbsp of flour over them. Stir until it combines and cook for 2 minutes. Then add any leftover gravy you have, little by little, until things start to become more saucy. If you run out of gravy, start adding milk, like if you were making a white sauce (which you are). If you don’t have any leftover gravy just go straight in with the milk at the start. Keep adding the liquid, stirring all the time so it doesn’t get lumpy, until you have the consistency you’d like. Add your leftover chicken.

Stir together and heat through for a few minutes until the chicken softens again and becomes incorporated into the sauce. By this time your rice should be done but try a couple of grains to see if they are soft. You should see air holes dotted around the rice and hear that there’s no water left in the pan. Turn off the heat and fluff up with a fork. There’s always a little bit stuck to the pan when all of the water has been absorbed but it comes off easily I promise.

If you are feeling a bit indulgent add a small chunk of butter to the rice and allow to melt before stirring through – it tastes delicious and you may never go back.

Serve the rice and creamy chicken in a big bowl with some extra veggies. We went for roasted kale to make things thoroughly green.

This is a regular winter warmer for me and the best way to turn leftover roast chicken into an equally delicious week day meal. You could use brown rice to add fibre to the meal but follow the packet instructions, as it tends to need a little more water and time to cook. Also works well with mushrooms in place of leek. I just need to work on making it look a bit more appealing…

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