I could talk about edible bugs – inspired by this story – but I won’t, at least not until I have the chance (ulp) to try some myself.
Instead, let’s talk about the ubiquitous rotisserie chicken, found at pollerías in every Mexican neighborhood and in supermarkets too. Here in Mazatlán, instead of being trussed, the birds are flattened and then skewered onto the rotisserie. (They kind of look like roadkill and it took me a while to get used to it.) Some are simply salted, while in other places the birds are marinated in secret concoctions and then roasted.
However they’re done, the point is that they’ve been cooked for you – and often at the same or even less cost than what you’d pay for a whole, uncooked chicken. Your options are almost endless as to what you can do with this moist, flavorful, ready-to-use meat: create a quick chicken noodle soup, stir-fry or pot pie; use it in nachos, tacos and burritos; make a chicken salad; add to pasta primavera or pesto; add some to a Caesar or Cobb salad … the list goes on and on.
I like to shred the meat: Cut or pull the big sections off the bone, then use two forks to pull it into long, thin pieces.
The other thing I do is make chicken stock. I throw the carcass (minus most but not all of the skin), an onion, a couple of carrots, a stalk of celery and a little salt and pepper in the crockpot with enough water to cover and cook it on low overnight or for 8-10 hours. In the morning, I strain it, freeze some and save the rest in the fridge for a flavor-boost in soup, beans or whatever.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, I know I tend to use the same recipes time and again, so I thought I’d share some more unusual ones.
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tube refrigerated pizza crust or prepared crust like Boboli
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- ¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue cheese
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 425°. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or until softened. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes or until deep golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Unroll and press dough onto bottom and ½ inch up sides of a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes. (If using a pre-baked crust, continue from here.) Spread barbecue sauce over dough; top with chicken, onion mixture, bacon, Gorgonzola and jalapenos. Top with mozzarella. Bake 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. –TasteOfHome.com
Chicken Florentine Pizza
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 3 cups cooked cubed chicken
- 1 cup ricotta or requesón
- 1 prebaked 12-inch pizza crust
- 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry or equivalent fresh
- 2 Tbsp. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425°. Mix Italian seasoning and garlic powder; toss with chicken. Spread ricotta or requesón on pizza crust. Top with chicken, spinach and tomatoes. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.
Chinese Chicken Salad
This has a lot of ingredients but is actually quite easy to prepare. To make chipotle pepper purée buy a small can and whir in blender.
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. chipotle pepper purée
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Salt & pepper
- ½ head shredded Napa cabbage
- ½ head shredded romaine lettuce
- 2 shredded carrots
- ¼ pound julienned snow peas
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- ½ cup chopped roasted peanuts or cashews
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- Optional: chile oil
Whisk vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, chipotle purée, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and oil in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine cabbage, lettuce, carrots, snow peas, cilantro and green onion in a large bowl, add dressing and toss. Transfer to a platter and top with shredded chicken, chopped peanuts and mint. Drizzle with chile oil, if desired. – Bobby Flay
Chicken Alfredo Roll-Ups
- 2½ cups whole milk
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley or cilantro, minced
- Salt & pepper
- 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 12 cooked lasagna noodles
Preheat oven to 350°. In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Whisk in flour; cook 1 minute more. Pour in milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a simmer. Stir in cream cheese and Parmesan and simmer until sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon a thin layer of sauce onto bottom of a baking dish. Spread sauce onto each cooked noodle, top with chicken, then roll up snugly. Place roll-ups in baking dish seam-side down. Spoon remaining sauce on top. Bake about 20 minutes. – Delish.com
Janet Blaser of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, has been a writer, editor and storyteller her entire life and feels fortunate to write about great food, amazing places, fascinating people and unique events. Her work has appeared in numerous travel and expat publications as well as newspapers and magazines. Her first book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats, is available on Amazon. Contact Janet or read her blog at whyweleftamerica.com.