What happens when you don’t have quite enough of that delicious roast chicken to make a sandwich, or a salad? Or if it’s become just a bit dry and could use a boost?
Incorporating roast chicken into soups is a common answer. But for a little more variety, try it in a noodle dish, with or without soup.
Stir-fried noodles are great for using up scraps and leftovers around the kitchen. With just a few shredded vegetables and some scrambled eggs, along with the noodles, you can toss together a filling meal in no time. If you have leftover bits and pieces of meat, like roast chicken, your noodles become even more elaborate and filling — yet so easy.
If you’re a fan of noodle soups, the most complicated part of recipes tends to be making the meaty proteins to top with bowl with, such as the roast pork on classic ramen. Much better than to have leftover roast meats to begin with. And for a little more substance in a stir-fried noodle dish, such as Pad Thai, having leftover roast chicken saves you the trouble of marinating, slicing, and sautéing some chicken along with it. With a tasty, yet none too distracting flavor, pre-roasted chicken is a versatile ingredient to repurpose in all kinds of cuisines. So don’t be afraid to give it a wildly different second act.
The trick to preparing stir-fried noodles is to cook each type of ingredient in its own time, rather than trying to add everything at once. Scramble the eggs to start, then set them aside. Sauté the vegetables until just crisp-tender, then incorporate the rest. Taking things one step at a time ensures you won’t have soggy, overcooked, or under-seasoned bits here and there.
Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit — add sweet bell peppers in the summer, or add kale or Swiss chard if you have some around. The more colors that get folded into the stir-fry, the better. And don’t be afraid to go for a 50-50 ratio of noodles to other stuff.
Stir-Fried Noodles with Shredded Chicken and Winter Vegetables
4 bundles Asian noodles (8 to 12 ounces total), with about the same thickness and flat shape as linguine
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced on a bias
8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms (fresh, or dried and reconstituted), sliced
4 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli rabe or spicy mustard greens (from two small bunches)
4 whole scallions, thinly sliced
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced to matchsticks
2 cups cooked chicken meat, shredded
2 to 4 teaspoons soy sauce
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 to 4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the directions on the package; drain and keep close. While waiting for the noodles to cook, arrange the rest of the ingredients near your stove. (Arrange the vegetables in individual bowls.) Beat the eggs and season with salt and white pepper.
Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large, wide chef’s pan or wok. Once hot, pour in the beaten eggs and stir frequently with chopsticks to scramble (allow some parts to lightly brown). Once just cooked (about 1 to 2 minutes), transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and add the ginger. Once fragrant and beginning to sizzle, add the carrots, mushrooms, green cabbage, broccoli rabe, and scallions, along with a pinch of salt and white pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes, or until vegetables are just crisp-tender. Transfer to a separate bowl.
Finish the stir-fry in two batches: Combine half the chicken, a generous splash of soy sauce, half the cooked noodles, half the eggs, and half of the vegetable mix in the pan. Stir briskly to incorporate. Taste and add more soy sauce if desired. Remove from heat, stir in half the scallions and 2 teaspoons sesame oil.
Transfer the cooked noodles to plates and repeat with cooking the second batch. Serve immediately once finished.