The joy of leftovers

Posted by Anita on 11.20.08 10:51 PM

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**There’s something about the frugal pleasure of creating something out of nothing that appeals to my inner home economist. There’s a touch of puritanical redemption in there, too: Making use of every last scrap atones for the pleasure we take spending chunks of our income on fabulous food.

For the most part I’m not a fan of the usual sort of leftovers, reheating the same old meal for to live another day. (Fret not: I make exception for cold spaghetti, reheated enchiladas, and the glorious day-after-Thanksgiving mishmash). But what I love so dearly is a well-planned, or even well-improvised, creative reuse.

The last few nights, we’ve had dinners built on the skeletons of our weekend feasts. Tuesday night, we sauteed a pile of onions in bacon grease, then added the leftover pancetta-laced beans from Saturday’s supper, mashing them together to make a fabulously porky pan of frijoles refritos. Dressed with a dollop of thick crema and a swirl of homemade tomatillo salsa, they made an ample accompaniment to Prather Ranch skirt-steak tacos. (In an ironic twist, the beans were so filling that we ended up with leftover meat, which in turn became this morning’s steak-and-eggs breakfast.)

Tonight, we transformed the shredded meat left over from Sunday’s roast chicken into a tasty riff on chicken pot pie. Starting with a Barefoot Contessa recipe adapted by Smitten Kitchen, we took many liberties with substitutions: Golden sauteed mushroom chunks in place of pearl onions, simmered-down stock replacing bouillon, and shepherd’s-pie-style mashed potatoes on top in lieu of a pastry crust. We also managed to tidy up the crisper in the process, dispatching some baby carrots and snap peas that were just a touch too feeble for our usual pan-braising method. It was a deliciously decadent meal, and the ingredients were virtually free.

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**

cooking, other stuff



Comment by robin // caviar and codfish

I don’t think Jim and I would be able to support our food habits if not for leftovers. Love how you guys stretched your food dollars. MMM… frijoles refritos….

Posted on 11.21.08 at 8:28AM

Comment by cookiecrumb

We call that kind of repurposing “pushing.” You don’t just reheat the same-old same-old. You push it into the future; another guise, another raison d’etre.

BTW, I thought that was a poached egg up there. Crema? I can love that.

Posted on 11.21.08 at 3:47PM

Pingback by (not so) Urban Hennery » Blog Archive » Dark Days 08/09 Recap - Week #1

[...] on the rotisserie. They wrapped up their weekly posts with celeriac bisque and a selection of leftover based meals such as their own version of chicken pot pie and firjoles refritos with skirt-steak [...]

Posted on 10.12.09 at 11:14PM

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