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Upgrade Grocery-Store Rotisserie Chicken Into Incredible Chilaquiles

How Christina Nguyen and Eater Young Gun Birk Grudem (’14) of Hola Arepa and Hai Hai in Minneapolis hack a store-bought roast chicken

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A rotisserie chicken in its black plastic container, underneath mathematical equations in white.

Whole Foods and Costco have sold Americans on the grab-and-go rotisserie chicken. Americans bought more then 625 million pre-cooked rotisserie chickens in 2017, and if the internet’s archives — which are littered with millions of recipes and hacks — are any indication, at least part of the draw (in addition to the loss-leader pricing) is the ability to repurpose the chicken throughout the week, giving the you, eater, the perception that although you might be busy, but still have time to do a little bit of cooking.

In this new column, Eater Young Guns reveal their go-to chicken hacks. Eater Young Guns Christina Nguyen and Birk Grudem (’14) of Hola Arepa and Hai Hai in Minneapolis, Minnesota often stretch rotisserie chicken across multiple uses:

“We’ll use a rotisserie chicken for big hearty salads and then when there’s half of it leftover, we’ll pull the chicken and simmer it in some salsa, usually tomatillo and use it for some tacos or chilaquiles,” says Nguyen. “We also make a stock out of the leftover carcass with whatever root veg or allium we have laying around. You can make chicken chilaquiles if you sauté some onions, add a little tomatillo (or red) salsa and a little of your rotisserie chicken stock: Throw in some tortilla chips and coat them just enough so they absorb some salsa but are still crispy. Add some of your pulled chicken or throw over easy eggs on it along with some cilantro, jalapeños, crema, and lime.”

Alternatively, Nguyen and Grudem use stock and pulled chicken and incorporate ginger, scallion, onion, and rice to make a congee that can be topped with more pulled chicken, cilantro, or fish sauce, or really “whatever else sounds good,” as Nguyen says — whether it’s pulled from a grocery store prepared food case or not.