Monday, February 11, 2008

Making the Most of It.

Leftovers needn't always end used the same way. As a book says - "start creating and it can be table-top magic". The advice following was to actually plan to have leftovers gaining both economy and time. Something I believe I have advised in the past - cook once, use twice.

Leftovers, together with a few staples: onions, sugar, flour, rice, pasta etc. can make umpteen different meals. But not only that. Today we have the great advantage of using a much wider variety of vegetables. Pot-luck recipes always flexible, so we can add or subtract according to what we have.

Beef in Barbeque Sauce: serves 4
16 - 20 fl oz measure (a good 2 cups) 1" cubes roast beef
4 fl oz (1/2 cup) Worcestershire sauce
same amount of tomato ketchup
1 spoon made mustard
4 soft rolls
thinly sliced raw or fried onion
Arrange the beef in a shallow baking dish. Mix together the W.sauce, ketchup and mustard, and pour over the meat. Bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for about 40 minutes, turning the meat two or three times during the cooking. Serve on split roll with the onion.

The next recipe I have drastically adapted to avoid making the slightly complicated white sauce that uses canned consomme . Also omitting Worcestershire sauce which I would never add to a strogonoff. Instead I would make it using a condensed (undiluted) mushroom soup with some added creme fraiche or (traditionally) sour cream. At a pinch you could omit the mushroom soup altogether. The choice is yours.
Beef Strogonoff: serves 4
1 thickish slice of roast beef per person cut into thin strips
plain flour
2 tblsp butter
3 onions, sliced
1 can mushrooms, drained (or 1/2 pint fresh mushrooms, sliced)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 can condensed mushroom soup
3 tblsp sherry
5 fl oz (1/2 - 3/4 cup) creme fraiche or sour cream
salt and pepper
Saute the mushrooms and onions in the butter for five minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook until the onions are turning golden. Dust the meat with a little flour then add this to the pan and cook for a further minute. Stir in the condensed mushroom soup and the sherry. Heat thoroughly, season to taste and add the creme fraiche/sour cream just before serveing. Heat through and serve with plain boiled rice.

Stuffed Beef Slices: serves 4
4 slices roast beef 1/2" thick
four slices each thinly sliced ham and/or Swiss cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 slice bread, crumbed
3 tblsp oil
1 tblsp butter
1 tblsp flour
8 fl oz (1 cup) beef stock (can be made using a cube)
salt and pepper
grated cheese (optional)
Cut a pocket down the side of each slice of meat. Stuff a slice each of ham and cheese (or just cheese) into each pocket and close tightly, threading with a cocktail stick to keep it pinned together. Dip into the egg and then the crumbs and fry until brown. Remove from pan and keep warm. To the pan add the butter and stir in the flour, cook for one minute then whisk in the stock until thickened. Season to taste, simmer for 2 minutes to remove taste of the flour, then return the meat to the pan. Heat through and serve, sprinkled with the cheese (if used). The suggested serving is kidney beans and a salad. But am sure you will have a better suggestion.

Beef stuffed Peppers: serves 4
1/2 pint (275ml/1 1/4 cups) diced roast beef
4 green bell peppers
2 eggs, beaten
8 fl oz (225ml/1 cup) milk
pepper and salt
1 small onion, grated
1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp mustard
dash cayenne powder
2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
2 slices buttered bread, crumbed
boiling water (approx 1 cup/8fl oz/225ml)
Cut the tops from the stem ends of the peppers. Remove seeds and fibres. Parboil for 4 minutes, then drain.
Prepare the filling by mixing the eggs with the milk, onion, parsley, mustard, cayenne, chilli powder and season to taste. Stir in the meat. Fill peppers to within 1/2" of the and top up with the buttered breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish and pour round the boiling water. Bake at 350C, 180F, gas 4, for about 40 minutes, until the peppers are tender and the filling is firm.

Often people who refuse curries, will often enjoy this soup, despite it having curry powder as one of the ingredients. Alternatively use a little chilli powder or ground cumin , in either case start with a small amount, taste and then add more only if you feel you or your family would accept it. It is the heat from the spice that makes this soup taste so good, so a little spice is better than none at all.
Mulligatawny Soup: serves 4
3/4 pint (2 cups minimum) diced or minced roast beef
3 tblsp beef dripping or oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 turnip, finely diced
2 green apples, finely diced
2 tblsp flour
2 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper
2 pints (5 cups) boiling water
1 tblsp chopped parsley
few thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Saute the onion, carrot, turnip and apples in the dripping (0r oil) for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add the meat and stir together. Sprinkle over the flour and curry powder. Stir for one minute then add the water and herbs. Stir until thickened and simmer gently for five - ten minutes, season to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve hot, in individual bowls with a side dish crusty bread.

The following recipe uses more than one lot of leftovers. If you grate your own cheese and keep it in the fridge or freezer, have some tomato puree in the cupboard or freezer, then this can be assembled in minutes. As it bakes in 7 minutes, the only time 'wasted' is waiting for the oven to heat up. You could possibly heat the main casserole up in the microwave, then add the cheese topping and brown it off under the grill instead of baking.
Neapolitan Meat Pasta: serves 4
Left over pasta to feed four (spaghetti or penne is best)
12 oz (350g/1 1/2 cups) finely diced or minced roast beef
2 tblsp tomato puree
5 fl oz (150ml/ 1/2 cup) boiling water
1 beef stock cube
grated cheese
Blend the stock cube with the water and the tomato puree and mix that into the meat mixture. Sprinkle the bottom of a greased shallow casserole with some grated cheese, add a layer of meat, then a layer of pasta, and repeat with cheese, meat and pasta until all used up. Top with grated cheese and bake for 7 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6 until bubbling and browned.
tip: if keeping some cooked pasta, drain well then drizzle with oil and give it a good shake before chilling or freezing. Run hot water through it to separate before using.

This is a version of Dolmas: the stuffed vine leaves, and this is a particularly good way to use the outer darker leaves from cabbage which are often discarded (but containe the most vitamns). Caraway seeds go very well with cabbage, so if you have them, worth using.
Stuffed Cabbage Leaves: serves 4
about 8 oz (225g/ 1 cup) minced cooked beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tblsp parsley, finely chopped
2 tblsp breadcrumbs
half a tsp dried mixed herbs
good pinch caraway seeds (opt)
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
8 large cabbage leaves
boiling salted water
4 fl oz (125ml/ 1/2 cup) white wine, or chicken or veg. stock
Mix the meat with the onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, dried herbs, caraway seeds, and some salt and pepper to taste. Blend in the egg.
Use only perfect cabbage leaves (to prevent the filling oozing out of any holes) and par-boil in the water (just enough to cover the leaves ) for five minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture on each leaf. Fold sides to middle, then one flap over t'other. Put fold side down in a shallow pan, packing them in tightly, and add the wine or stock. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes.
Suggested serving, boiled rice with a jug of hot tomato sauce for pouring over.