I’ve always been quite excited by the prospect of creating something new, fabulous and of course extremely tasty from a previous meals leftovers. Obviously the main criterion is that the original meal must have been pretty fine in the first place otherwise it’s rather an uphill struggle. I remember attempting to resurrect some smoked gammon that started off way too salty (a poor purchase I have to admit) and all the subsequent attempts to revive it produced more and more salty dishes. Big mistake!
But this time I had the remaining chicken from Sunday lunch, some bacon, another elderly leek and a couple of new potatoes that I thought might be for composting but they were just salvageable. Often the re-imagined meal isn’t as attractive as the original was but it’s all about taste - think corned beef hash, bubble & squeak or a shepherd's pie. Not that shepherd's pie isn't a wonderful thing but the mash potato topping can disguise a multitude of sins. I have always been partial to a fish pie, cottage pie or shepherd's pie. I guess the irony is that a dish that was probably first created to use up leftovers of cod, beef or lamb respectively is now a real gourmet treat with the finest fresh ingredients and not a way of reworking the Sunday joint. A quotation I've seen attributed to several people on the subject is "The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." I don't seem to have any childhood traumas of the same food be re-presented for several meals, I've certainly never had to endure an infamous turkey curry (not that wild horses would have made me eat it!) so I don't feel oppressed by a few second-hand fridge inhabitants, instead I see it as an exciting challenge.
This time is was everything in the big sauté pan for the second meal, finished with a touch of double cream to ensure it remained moist and of course served with the ever-present mâche curling gently at the edge of the plate. Not a bad rehash at all!