The day after a roast chicken dinner, this is the perfect soup to use up any leftovers - and those root veg calling out to me from the crisper before they pass their use-by date!






Skill level

Average: 4.9 (47 votes)


  • leftover whole chicken from last night’s roast (with 1 breast left)
  • 20 g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped, leaves reserved
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups diced root vegetables of any kind (potato, sweet potato, carrot, swede, turnip)
  • salt and black pepper


  • 1 cup pesto greens (any combination of celery leaves, flat-leaf parsley, rocket)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • splash olive oil (as needed)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Place the leftover chicken carcass in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 2 hours, removing any impurities that rise to the top during cooking. Drain and reserve the stock. Pick the meat off the chicken carcass and coarsely shred.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan pan over low-medium heat. Add the garlic, leek, celery and carrot and cook for 7- 8 minutes or until soft. Add 1½ litres of chicken stock and the bay leaves and bring to simmer. Add the shredded chicken and root vegetables and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until the root vegetables are cooked. The longer you can cook it, the better the flavour is. Season to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, for the pesto, place the greens, garlic, parmesan, pine nuts, lemon zest and salt in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Pound or blend until smooth, adding enough olive oil as you go to achieve the right consistency.
  4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of pesto.



Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.