Hello! Today, I am here with a recipe for easy leftover chicken, tomato and rice casserole - also known as Djuvec!
This delicious meal is perfect for a weeknight dinner or as a light lunch.
It is my version of a recipe for a Czech dish called 'Serbian risotto/Srbské rizoto'. I remember enjoying it in the school canteen and in cafes/bistros for lunch.
My mum sometimes cooks it at home, however, her recipe is slightly different as she doesn't add tomatoes nor tomato puree to it.
There are so many variations of this rice dish, that there isn't a right or wrong recipe!
The (hi)story of this chicken, tomato and rice casserole
If you look it up online, you'll find that there is not such a thing as Serbian risotto.
In fact, this dish was developed in Czechoslovakia and is based on a popular South-Eastern European meal named džuveč (djuvec).
Although, there actually are some Serbian rice casseroles similar to this Czech meal.
The rice in this dish isn't risotto rice, hence the meal shouldn't be called risotto.
But hey! Don't let this stop you from cooking and eating it!
It honestly is a lovely meal that uses up leftover ingredients together with many great pantry staples.
And, it can be found on restaurant menus in the Czech Republic until this day! 🙂
What are the key ingredients in this easy leftover chicken, tomato and rice casserole?
Leftover chicken is perfectly fit for this recipe.
Remember to always use cooked meat as soon as possible after cooking it the first time (the next day is ideal). This will help the food to stay fresher for longer.
Cut and shred the chicken into bite-sized chunks and discard of its bones and skin.
Tomato puree and chopped tomatoes give this casserole beautiful light red colour and nice flavour, and they also help to keep the rice moist.
Carbs in this dish are presented by long-grain rice. It will cook well in the mix of tomato juices and added chicken stock.
Chicken stock provides more moisture and some great flavours which bring this dish to life.
Another important ingredient in this meal is vegetables. This rice casserole is best cooked with jarred veggies (pickled) as they give it sharp flavours.
What can you substitute in this recipe?
If you don't have any leftover chicken, this casserole will work also with leftover pork or turkey. Some recipes of djuvec contain minced meat, so you can use it too!
Long-grain rice is another element of this dish that can be swapped. Feel free to use basmati or parboiled rice (easy cook rice) instead. Add more cooking time if needed.
Vegetables are the final ingredient that can be substituted in this recipe. Although jarred or pickled vegetables are preferred (in some Eastern European shops you can find all sorts of pickled food, including pickled carrots, and garden peas), fresh and/or frozen veg can be used here too!
Feel free to use whatever veg you have in your pantry and in your freezer!
How can you store this leftover chicken casserole?
This leftover chicken and rice casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
Reheat it in a microwave or in a frying pan with a touch of sunflower oil. Make sure it's piping hot before serving.
This casserole can also be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for a maximum of two months. Freeze it without any garnish and without the cheese. Defrost fully before cooking (overnight in the fridge), reheat and serve hot, with fresh herbs and grated cheese.
📖 The Recipe
Easy Leftover Chicken, Tomato and Rice Casserole - Djuvec
- 3 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
- 300 g shredded leftover chicken, boneless, skin off
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 peeled and roughly chopped onion
- 2 cloves peeled and finely chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 peeled and diced carrots
- 1x400 g can chopped tomatoes
- 300 g long-grain rice
- 600 ml chicken stock
- 1 deseeded and sliced pepper cut into , or 3 large slices jarred pepper, cut into chunks
- 1x290 g can garden peas in water, or ¾ cup frozen peas
- salt, black pepper, to taste
- 40 g grated edam, or mild cheddar
- handful chopped fresh parsley
- 10 gherkins, slice if needed
- Prepare all ingredients and set aside.
- Add sunflower/vegetable oil into a large non-stick frying pan or wok. Set on medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the shredded chicken and teaspoon of paprika and fry until slightly brown.
- Add chopped onion and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is soft and almost translucent.
- Add tomato puree and stir thoroughly. Fry for 2 minutes and add the diced carrot. Fry for another 2 mins, add chopped tomatoes and toss everything in the pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
- Rinse the rice and add it to the pan. Stir thoroughly so that the rice is evenly covered in the sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Start adding chicken stock to the pan: Add a spoonful (large serving spoon) and stir. Cover again and cook until all of the liquid is soaked up by the rice. Keep adding the stock slowly (and re-covering) the lid. Stir occasionally from the bottom of the pan making sure nothing sticks to it.
- After 5 minutes of cooking the rice, add the sliced pepper into the sauce. Stir, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain the garden peas and add it to the meal. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Once all of the liquid is gone and the rice is fully cooked (soft to bite), turn off the heat.
- Serve with grated cheese, freshly chopped parsley, and gherkins on the side. Enjoy!
- leftover chicken for leftover pork or turkey (even minced)
- long-grain rice for basmati or parboiled rice
- vegetables (carrots, peas, onion, pepper) - use jarred, fresh or frozen