Category Archives: leftovers

Cottage Hotpot

You’ve probably heard of Frankenstein foods in relation to GM. This is my own Frankenstein’s monster – a hybrid of cottage pie (beef mince with mash on top, as I know it) and Lancashire hotpot (lamb chunks with carrot and a crispy potato topping). This proved to be the silkiest, richest, most flavoursome hotpot I’ve ever made and a total triumph for ekeing out leftovers.

When I made my pumpkin dish for Halloween I used a leg of lamb and was left with the bone and some meat I couldn’t quite [be bothered to] get off. Inspiration struck and I simmered the bone with a sprig of rosemary and thyme and made a stock for an hour. I skimmed the fat off the top and reduced the stock by about half. I then carved and pulled off the remaining meat and cut into small pieces.

I fried a VERY large onion with about 150g of beef mince, then added my lamby chunks and shreds, some salt, a little brown sugar and the remaining stock. This was all simmered down again for half an hour or so. After this, I tipped some cubed carrot in and put the lot into a dish, topped the with ultra-thin sliced potatoes and baked in a hot oven for an hour.

Now, this was just delicious. I’m beginning to think I might have to take up the method when I want to make this as a special meal as it was just so darned scrummy. True, it took a lot of cooking (but I did leave the oven door open with the washing stood in front of it to use the residual heat) but it was just SO worth it.

Must experiment more …

Stuffed Peppers with Potato, Leek and Mushroom Gratin

Tonight’s dinner was improvised from various leftovers, which might make it harder to follow this post than usual as it’s a little stream-of-consciousness.

Stage One: dinner started this morning when I was sorting out the leftover rogan josh from last night. As usual, there was sauce aplenty for another dinner but most of the meat had been eaten. To bulk it up, I peeled and cubed some sweet potato, zapped it in the microwave (so it can be easily heated at a later date) and stirred it into the curry before bunging it in the freezer. This, however, left me with half a sweet potato as it was a big’un!

Stage Two: later in the afternoon with half a sweet potato, some small salad-type potatoes and a leek I layered up a gratin (sweet potato, white potato, leek). Realising I had no idea what to do next, I googled for a gratin recipe. It called for cream…. hmmm… no cream. Then I remembered I had some homemade mushroom soup in the freezer, which was mainly a cream mushroom puree really, so I defrosted that, added it, and topped up the gratin with milk.

Stage Three: realising that a gratin alone isn’t very balanced, I used two big red peppers I’d bought with the intention of roasting at some point, and filled them with vine cherry tomatoes. Hmmm, not great. Emptied out the cherry tomatoes. Hmmm… what could I stuff it with? I remembered some leftover frozen bolognese sauce we had in the freezer which I stabbed, slotted frozen into the peppers and then put three cherry tomatoes on top and gave a grating of parmiggiano reggiano.

Gratin and peppers went in at the same time, for about 45-60 minutes.

Dinner turned out to be much better than anticipated. The sweet potatoes, of course, cooked faster than the white potatoes which gave a lovely variation in texture. The leek was crisp, and the mushroom soup made the whole thing sing. Unfortunately, the mushroom soup isn’t the easiest thing to whizz up just for a gratin BUT I have decided that blending some mushrooms, cream and garlic together will give much the same effect. So that I shall do next time. Somewhat unconvinced about sweet and normal potatoes together in a gratin, but I think a sweet potato and red onion gratin-esque concoction (maybe with yoghurt?) would be the next to try.