Casserole Pie

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Ever wondered what the hell to do with leftovers?

My dear husband loves to eat. He loves fresh foods, big meals and just about everything I cook (except that vey first risotto I made, and hun, for the millionth time, I’m sorry!). What makes our relationship perfect is that I like to cook for him. A man who appreciates each and every morsel is a dream come true for me and my budding chef’s skills.

There is only one problem: he hates leftovers!

I care for the environment, recycle where I can and I am conscious of the dollars we spend each week on food. This roughly translates to: tough luck we eat leftovers anyway!

Almost the perfect relationship then…

This dining dilemma leaves me some room in which to create, and create is what I love to do. Basically, what the hell can I do to spice up the leftovers becomes my canvas and my artistic tools are the flavourful morsels which have been marinating overnight (see the positive slant here?).

Positivity is important when it comes to making a new meal out of the old. Who wants dried out refried pieces of meat that have been toughened to boot leather in the microwave? We women can do better than that! Come on, think savvy, and it’s easy. I’ll show you how.

Left over baked or boiled potatoes? Easily these become a Portuguese potato omelette for breakfast the next day. Fry the potatoes to warm them, add some pureed diced tomatoes, paprika and oregano and season. Fry till browned and spices are fragrant. Add your egg mix, turn heat down and let the egg set. Done.

How easy was that?

With this simple leftover miracle under my belt I decided to move into the heavy weight class: leftover chicken casserole.

The amazingly successful Spanish Chicken Casserole (see the recipe here) had tasted fantastic the night we had gorged ourselves upon its delights. It was so easy to cook the first time that I didn’t want to lose the lovely flavours. As luck would have it, pie crossed my mind.

I gave up eating meat pies after watching Sweeny Todd a few years back (if you’ve seen the movie you will understand why). I had tried a few chicken pies instead, of the bought variety only, and the jury was still out. “But what if I made my own pie?” I muttered to myself…

I make my Shepherd’s Pie recipe using a sheet of puff pastry at the bottom (it becomes that much
easier to portion control and slice this way) and I figured I could do the same thing.

I whipped out two sheets of frozen puff pastry, greased a square dish and added one of the defrosted sheets to the bottom of the dish. In went the chicken casserole, veg and all, and the other pastry sheet slid on top. I crimped the whole thing to look just like a bought one, and ta-dah! I had made a pie.


And I made two important discoveries that I need to pass onto you so your leftovers can become just as spectacular and praise-worthy as the original. 

      1. Shred the chicken and mix it back into the sauce. This makes the volume of chicken seem bigger and it goes further when you do this, as well as means you don’t need to add any extra protein to the dish.

      2. Add a tablespoon or two of plain flour to the mix before putting it with the pastry. The extra water of the diced tomatoes had leaked out overnight in my casserole and to make it a thicker sauce for the pie I added the flour to reverse this issue.

Easy, scrumptious and guess what the best part was?

You guessed it. My husband ate the leftovers, and with no fuss either.

Phew!

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