Monday, May 17, 2010

Something old, something new


I have a little trick for perking up leftovers.

What I do is I make something new to go with something old that needs to be eaten. Last week, for example, we had some leftover roast chicken. Now you know I love roast chicken. But like Frances, I prefer it best the first night. (I am not joking about the dog. She will gobble down as much roast chicken as we could possibly feed her the night it's roasted; a few days later, she sniffs it disdainfully and must be coerced to take a bite. She'll consider it when it's lightly reheated. Who's the more evolved species here?)

Anyway, we had this chicken from a few days before. No sides to go with it, though. In fact, I can't even remember what the original sides were. A big salad with croutons, maybe--that's one of my favorite go-to dinners.

So I perused the pantry for something inspiring. Amid the boxes of pasta and jars of spices I spied to my great delight a small ziploc bag of dried porcini mushrooms. 

I've gushed about porcinis before; I don't just love the way they add a deep meatiness to any dish, I love the way they remind me of a dear aunt and uncle, both now gone, who would mushroom hunt and share their findings with the family. I thought I had used up all of their precious fungi but here remained one last bag stashed away. I decided on a wild mushroom risotto.

Later, we sat down to dinner. The risotto was delicious, full of shallots, wine, and roughly chopped porcinis. The chicken brightened and stood up to the earthy risotto. All of a sudden it seemed more interesting to me and we finished it off, down to the wings. Who knew a lowly mushroom could bring new life to an old chicken?


  1. so it sounds like the leftovers were more pleasing than the original--i love it when that happens. ah, frances--she knows what she likes. my dog will pick through her kibbles and leave certain shapes behind--how she manages to do that, i'll never know. :)

  2. Oh, how I love porcinis. I'd love to learn to mushroom-hunt someday. And I'm definitely with you on the leftovers - it really helps to serve them a little differently than the first time around. Though it sounds like the risotto stole the show this time!

  3. I love it when I can make something stretch in ways I hadn't anticipated!

    Well done!

  4. grace: that's so cute about your doggie. How do they know these things? It melts my heart...

    Camille: It totally stole the show. In fact, just thinking about the risotto right now is killing me it was so delicious!

    D.A.: It's very satisfying, isn't it? Thanks!

  5. I think it would give UJ and AW infinite pleasure to know they're still nourishing you after all these years. Risotto looks great, BTW.

  6. You win for the fabulous leftover makeover dinner. Delicious.

    btw, are you cooking more since hnaging out your own shingle for business? I hope that you are doing well.

  7. That Frances is very discerning. Love your take on the leftovers. Must say it's hard to get leftover roast chicken at our place, because I always end up making chicken sandwiches for lunch the next day.

    How's your new boss treating you? ;P

  8. Leftovers are a godsend. In fact, I'm always disappointed when there are NO leftovers. ;)

  9. Jary: I like to think they'd be happy, too. :)

    Velva: thanks! As for cooking more--if you can believe it, no! I've been surprisingly busy--working--which is great--but not leaving as much time for cooking as I'd envisioned. I'm sure that'll change though.

    shaz: Yum, chicky sammies, sounds great!

    CJ: I concur.

  10. What you just did is what fascinates me so much about the cooking process: you always have to think out of the box; love that risotto with the porcini!

  11. tasteofbeirut: It's true, one of the best things about cooking is how creative it allows you to be. Such fun!

  12. Brilliant! Love the use of these leftovers.
    How about 2PM or so on the 26th? If you prefer dinner, that's fine too.

  13. I like your trick with left overs. Its a good way of tricking picky husbands into eating the same thing again LOL.
    Have a wonderful weekend
    *kisses* HH

  14. Pam: I just left a comment over on your blog...

    Sophie: Porcinis are the king of mushrooms!

    HH: Thanks! I'm having a great weekend, hope you are too!