Turning Rotisserie Chicken into Delicious New Dishes

Pre-pandemic, on busy days when I had no time to cook, I often put one of those ubiquitous rotisserie chickens in my cart for dinner. Typically, I carved the bird and served it drizzled with some of the juices collected in its plastic container. Simple sides, roasted asparagus sprinkled with sea salt and quick couscous scented with a pinch of saffron or turmeric would complete a meal. Now, I am looking at that same rotisserie fowl with a different eye, re-purposing it to make more interesting dishes. 

A spring casserole prepared with diced chicken, snow peas, and sautéed mushrooms is a new all-in-one main course that I created recently for supper. Chicken salad with chutney, lime, and cilantro is tempting served on its own or used for open-faced sandwiches. Finally, a soup prepared with shredded chicken, black beans, and corn, all floating in a peppery tomato and chicken stock is another dish for which I rely on the supermarket bird.

I’ve included all three recipes here, along with suggestions for substitutions since grocery shopping today is often a hit or miss experience. The recipes serve four to six, but feel free to halve them or increase them to suit your needs.

I hope these dishes will provide some variety at your table, and lift your spirits as well. As always, stay safe and well.

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Spring Casserole with Chicken, Snow Peas, and Mushrooms
This dish reminds me macaroni and cheese with extra touches. Tender morsels of chicken and sauteed mushrooms combined with pasta and snow peas are coated with a creamy Parmesan sauce.

3 tbsp unsalted butter plus extra for the baking dish
3 tbsp olive oil
8 oz sliced brown mushrooms (white mushrooms will work too)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 to 3 large shallots) or red onion or sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced to yield 1 cup
2 tsp chopped garlic
3 1/2 tsp dried tarragon, divided  (see cooking tip)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp dry white wine
2 1/2 cups (about 10 oz) penne, farfalle, rigatoni, or macaroni
4 to 5 oz snow peas, ends trimmed and peas halved through middle (sugar snaps or slim asparagus with bases removed and spears cut into 2- inch pieces will also work)
2 cups 1/2 -inch cubes of chicken cut from a plain or herb scented rotisserie chicken
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 cup chicken stock, if available reduced-sodium stock
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tsp fresh chopped chives, optional

1.Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish generously. Bring a large saucepan or pot of water to a boil.

2.Heat 3 tablespoons each olive oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet set over medium high heat. When hot, add mushrooms, shallots, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the tarragon and scant 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes more or until mushrooms and shallots are softened. Add wine, and stir until wine and other liquids in pan have evaporated, a minute or more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove skillet from heat and set aside, uncovered.

3.Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to the pot of boiling water. Cook penne according to package directions and during the last three minutes add the snow peas (or sugar snaps or asparagus). Drain pasta and snow peas in a colander, and return to pot. Stir in the cubed chicken and the mushroom mixture.

4.While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a medium large saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream and chicken stock, until just simmering. Gradually whisk in 2/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the remaining 2 teaspoons of tarragon, scant 1//2 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Continue whisking until mixture has consistency of a light sauce, a minute or more. Stir sauce into pasta mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.Spread pasta mixture in prepared dish, sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup of Parmesan. and bake until hot, about 25 minutes.  If desired, sprinkle with chives. Serves 4.

Cooking tip:  Tarragon gives this dish its light, spring-like taste. If you don’t have any, mix together 1 3/4  teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed, and 1 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme  for a heartier taste to replace the tarragon.

 Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020


Easy Chicken Salad with Chutney, Lime, and Cilantro
This chicken salad is also delicious served in sandwiches. Try it open faced on toasted, peasant bread slices or in pita pocket halves.

1 cup good quality purchased mayonnaise (reduced fat also works well but not nonfat)
1/2 cup mango chutney (Major Grey’s mango chutney is excellent. See note.)
4 cups 1/2 -inch cubes of chicken cut from a plain or herb-scented rotisserie chicken
3 limes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
A small head of Boston or garden lettuce, with leaves removed and cleaned

1.Place mayonnaise in a medium nonreactive bowl. Cut any large pieces of mango in the chutney into small dice and stir the chutney into the mayonnaise. Add cubed chicken, walnuts, celery, bell pepper, and cilantro and mix well.

2.Juice 2 of the limes and add 3 tablespoons of the juice to the chicken salad and stir to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (The chicken salad can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 15 minutes before serving.)

3. To serve, arrange a bed of lettuce leaves in a shallow serving bowl or on a platter. Mound with chicken salad. Slice remaining lime into 1/2-inch wedges and garnish platter with wedges. Serve each portion on a bed of lettuce with a lime wedge.  Serves 6.

Note:  Major’s Grey’s mango chutney is a well known style of mango chutney (sweeter than traditional Indian ones with a strong accent of ginger). It is available in many groceries throughout the country. I used Crosse and Blackwell’s brand.

Adapted from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle 2004)


Colorado Chicken Soup with Black Beans, Corn, and Pepitas
My assistant created this soup while visiting her son and his family in Colorado. Warm and comforting, it is prepared with a flavorful tomato and chicken stock to which shredded chicken, black beans, and corn are added. A garnish of toasted pepitas and cilantro blended in a food processor (like a pesto but without any oil) tops each serving.   

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika or substitute 2/3 teaspoon paprika and 1/3 teaspoon cumin
6 cups chicken broth or stock
One 28-oz can diced tomatoes and their juices
One 4- to 41/2- oz can chopped mild green chilies and any liquid
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
A 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (if frozen, defrost and pat dry)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup roasted pepitas or sliced or slivered almonds, or sunflower seeds, roasted (see cooking tip)
1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves

1.In a heavy, large pot over medium high heat, heat oil until hot. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, and sauté until vegetables are slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, and smoked paprika to the pot and stir 1 minute. Add chicken stock, tomatoes and their juices, and chilies. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Add chicken, black beans, and corn, and simmer 5 minutes more. Season soup with salt and pepper. (Soup can be prepared 2 days ahead; cook to this stage; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring often, over medium heat.)      

3.Place pepitas (or almonds or sunflower seeds) and cilantro in a food processor, and pulse until finely minced, scraping the bowl as needed.        

3. To serve, ladle soup into 6 bowls and top with a generous spoonful of the pepita mixture. Serves 6

Cooking Tips:

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are available in most supermarkets. If you can’t find roasted ones, place pepita seeds in a skillet over medium heat and stir until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Seeds might pop while they are cooking. Watch carefully so they do not burn. If using almonds or raw sunflower seeds, pan roast them in the same way, always watching carefully so they don’t burn.

Adapted from Soup Nights by Betty Rosbottom (Rizzoli)

2 thoughts on “Turning Rotisserie Chicken into Delicious New Dishes

  1. The spring casserole was so delicious and easy to make. I didn’t have rotisserie chicken, so I grilled chicken breasts seasoned with tarragon,
    lemon and garlic. I then followed the recipe exactly as published. Amazingly creamy yet light! I served it with a Bibb salad tossed with champagne vinaigrette and a crusty baguette. I’ll definitely make this again. 😊

    • Thanks so much, Edward.! I’m so pleased you liked this easy casserole and happy to know you’ll be making it again!
      The bibb salad sounds like a perfect side!

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