If we’re being honest, I’m not the biggest fan of leftovers – in fact, I’m not sure anyone really likes leftovers. Unless it’s like spaghetti or pizza which just can’t be beat, leftovers often leave something to be desired. The flavors aren’t as fresh, and everything is a little mushier than when it was first made. If you’re like us, a lot of leftovers sit in the fridge and either get given to the cleaning lady or just thrown out. To try and avoid wasting perfectly good food, one of my favorite challenges as a chef is to transform leftovers into a completely different but wonderful dish. I call it a challenge because it is – take ingredients leftover from something else, make a plan to combine and balance the flavors, and execute the dish as though it was always meant to be your new creation!
It’s a few days after Christmas and after days of eating and entertaining, my fridge is stuffed to the brim with leftovers. A bag of cut-up veggies leftover from fondue; Beef Wellington; truffled mashed potatoes; honey ham; and since we can’t leave well enough alone, Soux Chef Andrew’s exquisite Tuscan Ragu – that recipe to come!
My first thought was Ham and Split pea soup, but I’m really not a big fan of split peas. The beef is basically a meal (and a $65 cut of meat), we’ll have that for dinner. Ah – bingo – I’ll roast the vegetables in the oven to bring out their flavor and whip up a standard soup base of onions, carrots and celery. I’ll add garlic, thyme and use my new immersion blender – thanks Dad & Debby – and blend the soup to be a smooth puree. To finish it off, since I can’t leave well enough alone, I’ll add half the leftover truffled mashed potatoes which will help thicken the soup and add great flavor!
That takes care of the veggies, Beef Wellington and mashed potatoes. To go with the soup I’ll make a cranberry brie tartine to use up what’s left of the cheese board and cranberry sauce. Now all that’s left is the pasta (queue lunch tomorrow) and the ham, which I think I’ll cut up and turn into baked beans. That’s what I call leftover makeovers!
If you’ve got a fridge full of leftovers, comment below and we’ll help you curate a deliciously made-over meal! Bon appetit!