Get ready for some of Chef John's best twofer recipes!

By Carl Hanson
December 04, 2020
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King Ranch Chicken Casserole
| Credit: Chef John

What's better than a Chef John recipe? A Chef John recipe that transforms itself into something deliciously different on Day 2.

Yes, these Chef John recipes deserve an A+ in citizenship because they work so incredibly well together. A savory beef stew becomes shredded beef tacos on day two. A simple roasted chicken converts into a Southwest-inspired casserole. And so on. Each recipe is delicious on its own, but pair them up, and they create something that's even better. A second delicious meal that's totally unique from the first. Just be sure to make a little extra of the first recipe, if you can, so you'll have enought to create the tantalizing second meal. Sure, you'll save time and effort by pairing these recipes together. But that's kind of a side benefit to their 5-star yumminess.

Start with Beef Birria Stew

This savory Mexican-inspired beef stew is a great one for a long, lazy weekend when you're in the mood for some serious comfort food. It cooks low and slow for several hours, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful aromas of chiles, beef, garlic, ginger, and Mexican spices.

"If you like beef stew, and you're a fan of chili, you're going to go nuts over this," says Chef John. "Serve with lime wedges as-is, or with warm flour tortillas, chili oil, salsa, or diced avocado next to some Spanish rice and a nice green salad."

Get the recipe for Beef Birria.

Beef Birria
| Credit: Chef John

And Make Beef and Cheese Tacos on Day 2

With the melt-in-the-mouth beef cooked ahead of time, these tacos are easy to put together.

"This is my take on what is currently the world's most trendy taco recipe," says Chef John. "When you make these you're going to understand what all the fuss is about. Start with a batch of my Beef Birria. Shred the beef to your desired consistency, but the finer the beef is shredded, the better it absorbs the liquid and the wetter your taco will be. And then combine this super savory, aromatic consomé with amazing beef and cheese tacos."

Beef Birria Queso Tacos
| Credit: Chef John

Start with Chicken and Mushrooms

In terms of time commitment, this recipe is essentially the opposite of the long-simmering beef birria. The prep time takes about 10 minutes. And dinner's ready in about 40 minutes or so.

The secret to this super-simple recipe is in the technique: sear the chicken to a beautiful brown crust and cook the mushrooms until they give off their natural juices. With this technique, Chef John builds big flavor using just two main ingredients — chicken and mushrooms.

"This recipe is an experiment in extreme self-control," says Chef John. "I wanted to challenge myself to make a chicken and mushrooms recipe using only chicken and mushrooms," along with a little butter and olive oil.

Add an extra breast or two, so you'll have room for chimi's on day 2!

Get the recipe for Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms.

Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms
| Credit: Chef John

And Make Chicken Chimichangas on Day 2

This is a terrific recipe for leftover chicken, whether it's using the recipe above or another of your favorite chicken recipes. You'll bite through the crispy flour tortilla shell into a savory combo of chicken, mushrooms,diced poblano peppers, and pepperjack cheese.

"These chimi's are not deep fried, they're pan-fried in a little oil and baked until puffed up, golden brown, and the outside is crisp," says says Chef John. "I like to serve with dollops of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa."

Get the recipe for Chicken and Mushroom Chimichangas. And watch Chef John in action:

Start with 5-Spice Pork Loin

Spicy and vinegary, this quick pan-roasted pork loin recipe makes a sensational main course paired with Chef John's Pickled Ginger Asian Pear Coleslaw and rice. Check out Chef John's video to see how to prep the pork loin — and to discover the benefit of slicing a hatchwork pattern into the meat before quickly marinating it in a simple combination of rice vinegar, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, and Chinese 5-spice powder.

Get the recipe for Pan-Roasted 5-Spice Pork Loin.

Pan-Roasted 5-Spice Pork Loin
| Credit: Chef John

And Make Pork Banh Mi Sandwiches on Day 2

A classic Vietnamese bánh mì is more than a sandwich, it's an experience. Chef John's version starts with a crusty roll that's piled high with slices of your roasted 5-spice pork, jalapenos, cilantro, and matchstick-cut daikon radish, carrots, and cucumbers, and finished with a sweet-and-spicy vinegar dressing.

"I'll never forget my first real bánh mì," says Chef John. "I remember thinking to myself, this isn't just one of the best sandwiches I've ever had to eat, but one of the best things, period. Not only do we get amazing contrasts in flavor and texture, but also the temperature difference between the crisp, warm, meat-filled roll, and cool, crunchy vegetables makes this so much fun to eat."

Get the recipe for Roasted Pork Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich).

Roasted Pork Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)
| Credit: Chef John

Start with Salt Roasted Chicken

You won't find a simpler roasted chicken recipe. "This is one of those rare recipes where the name is the same as the ingredient list," says Chef John. "You're going to be so shocked at how flavorful, juicy, and amazing this roast chicken comes out."

The ssecret to the salting method is generosity; you want complete coverage with the salt. Less is not more here. Coat the bird with lots of salt, then roast it on high heat. Watch the video to see Chef John make a quick thyme, lemon juice, and butter sauce for the chicken.

Get the recipe for Chef John's Salt Roasted Chicken.

Chef John’s Salt-Roasted Chicken
| Credit: Big Boy

And Make Chicken a la King on Day 2

"This classic comfort-food recipe is easy to adapt," says Chef John. "You can make it thicker or thinner by changing the amount of roux and having a little extra stock on hand. Usually I make this with leftovers from a large roasted chicken. Serve over pasta, toast, rice, or mashed potatoes."

Get the recipe for Chef John's Chicken a la King.

Chef John's Chicken a la King
| Credit: Chef John

Or Make King Ranch Casserole on Day 2

Naturally, the king, or any member of the court, would be thrilled with either of these recipes that start with leftover salt-roasted chicken.

If chicken a la king is kind of like a pot pie without the crust. This Southwest-inspired casserole is essentially a chicken enchilada pie, with cream soups, sour cream, diced chiles and tomatoes, bell peppers, spices, and Cheddar cheese. "From what I hear, it's impossible to go to any sort of potluck in Texas and not see one of these," says Chef John. 

Get the recipe for
King Ranch Chicken Casserole.

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