Friday, January 16, 2009

Cottage Pie

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Wouldn’t it be nice to create fabulous new dishes every day? We would start with fresh ingredients, bright and shiny and ready for action. We would use exciting new herbs and spices. We would dip our spoons and fingers into new cuisines and explore horizons previously only dreamed of while gazing longingly at exotic cookbooks. We would procure only the best food stuff, things wildly romantic sounding and exceptionally rare. Every day starting afresh. We would be the culinary equivalent of those heiresses who only wear couture and never repeat an outfit. To dream...such a lovely past time...and one I am quite expert at ;)

In the here and now of this thing called reality, however, I have to admit – my fridge is full of leftovers. No new creations here today I’m afraid. For now, I must place my dreams of truffles and Scandinavian sweet buns and new gold flats aside, and deal with these wilful odd bits in the chiller. Sigh...and no pouting on my part! I have, after all, vowed to battle food waste to the bitter (sweet) end, so these leftovers will be cunningly made over by me – much like how designers and magazine editors found ways to resuscitate 80’s fashion and made us believe that we never forswore it. Cunning.

Cottage pie – a simple, homely, comforting dish, in whose loving arms many leftovers have found solace. It remains one of my mother’s favourite ways of dealing with leftovers (the other was croquetas***)...and not just leftover mince! Any leftover meat could be chopped up, sautéed with a variety of additional odds and ends, and smooshed into a Cottage Pie. Depending on the original dish the resulting Cottage Pie could have a creamy filling or a tomato-based filling. Leftover veg was tossed in too!

It’s no surprise then, that as she was leaving our flat after a dinner of roast pork, she eyed the leftover meat and whispered to me, “make it into Cottage Pie jo!” And because I am nothing if not a dutiful daughter, that is just what I did.

I can give no exact measurement as who knows how much leftovers you’ve got, or how much leftovers I will have in the future – so if you are looking for a traditional Cottage Pie recipe you can search for one here. These are just basic guidelines on how to take yesterday’s dinner, swathe it in mash potatoes, crown it with cheese, et voilà...today’s lunch!

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First take your leftover meat and assess. If it’s not mince then chop it up into small pieces, but not too small as to hassle yourself. Now, what was the dish like? That determines, for me, what I will add. My roast pork was stuffed with chorizo and garlic, and rubbed with salt, fennel seeds, and pimenton de la vera. To complement it, I sautéed chopped onions and garlic, added the meat, then added some wine and tomato paste and a little more pimenton. Now I had a meat base that was tomato-y and smoky and faintly Spanish....yum! If you have some roast beef you can go creamy with cream and mushrooms and maybe some cheese leftover from your cheese platter. Up to you of course.

Next make you mash potatoes (or do them simultaneously...I certainly won’t stop one from saving time as well as food!). Just make it the way you like best, or using whatever you’ve got on hand.

Now to assemble: Take any oven-proof dish that looks like it’ll fit everything. Lay the meat on the bottom. If you want to please my mother, which I always want to do, place some corn over the meat. Then pat the mash down over that. Last, sprinkle the top with as much cheese as you want – I used parmesan and all that was left from the previous evening cheese plate. Pop in the oven and bake (I put it in at 190C) until the cheese is all toasty and tanned and the filling is bubbling up at the sides of the mash.

A brand new dish for unsuspecting palates! Yay! We’ve made use of our leftovers and avoided food waste yet again! Now...about the outfit repeating...I’ll have to work on that.

***My mom also loved to stuff leftovers into croquetas or croquettes – with a little potato, anything could be turned into these little rolls! Croquetas de tinapang bangus? Don’t laugh unless you’ve tried them!

30 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Fabulous and ever so comforting! Your pie looks delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

MeetaK said...

I think the best "new" food creations are made with leftovers. It tastes so much better. I often work my leftover meat into something similar or mix with pasta and bake is also a great options. I think your creation is simply perfect!

Rico said...

That looks...uhm.. glorious! What with all that melted cheese on top! Looks very delicious! A far cry from being a leftover.

Suzana said...

Pies are the ultimate comfort food, aren't they? I have the best memories from Cottage Pie, eaten with my UK friends between cups of tea... Your pie looks rather yummy, Joey! And definitely the perfect way to deal with leftovers. :)

LyB said...

That looks perfect, so comforting. My mom used to make croquettes too, I loved those. :)

Nicole said...

I really do love your blog..And I also love pies..Your pie looks delicious and comforting..
restaurant refrigeration

Happy Jack said...

i dream of fresh food every day, too. and a huge kitchen. with a dishwasher!

but now you've got me dreaming of cottage pies. it's -14 F here in chicago. i see piping hot comfort food in my near future. :)

Belinda said...

This is my kind of leftovers, Joey! Mom definitely knew best when she suggested that you make this Cottage Pie. And mashed potatoes with tons of melted cheese? I think we should now just start tossing that heavenly medley over the top of ALL leftovers...how bad could that be? Clogged arteries aside, of course? :-)

Manggy said...

First take your leftover meat and asses.
Hey, I thought we were avoiding food waste?! Where do I get myself some of these asses!? KIDDING! I have to say, this is quite encouraging to NOT finish food when it's first on the table! ;) Yummy!

Watergirl said...

Croquettas or pie, or maybe empanada filling! Leftovers are creativity's fuel!

kaoko said...

Now that is something I have to try next time. Meat and potatoes, slathered with cheese is always a good thing for me.

And yay for Croquettes! I love them too <3

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Rosa! :)

Hi Meeta! Thank you! I think probably many of the old classic dishes probably came from, if not leftovers, than the necessity of having to use up certain ingredients. With pasta is my favourite way of having leftover osso buco :)

Hi Rico! Thank you :) This is a great way to recycle your leftovers and no one will be the wiser ;)

Hi Suzana! They really are very comforting...somehow makes you think of a warm home :)

Hi Lyb! I loved the croquettes too...they seemed to be good with anything!

Hi Happy Jack! We’ve got the same dreams! The weather is cooler here too...although of course nowhere near that...

Hi Belinda! Heehee :) Yup, I am sure creamy mash with melted cheese can make even sorry leftovers scrumptious again!

Holy moly Manggy! Thank you for pointing that out! I will correct it post haste...so that explains a couple of strange offers I received in my email...

Hi Watergirl! You said it! Empanada filling...now there’s an idea!

Hi Kaoko! You can use almost any leftover meat (or fish!) in this :)

Helen said...

Yay! A classic! I made one recently, and forgot how good it was. Even better the next day :)

Tartelette said...

I have everything left over to make this! Looks delicious!

Jude said...

Love leftover velcro recipes like this.. Minimizing food waste is always a good idea :)

Midge said...

Gorgeous cottage pie there, Joey. I think croquetas de tinapang bangus are interesting, but I suggest you try what we do at home. Croquetas con longganiza de Lucban - soooo savory!

Joan said...

I think I left my other comment in your old post. But anyway, It's been a long time Joey since I last read your blog. And it never fails to amaze me.

Good work! Your a good cook!

:-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Helen! It’s been a long time since I made one but I’ll be sure to call on this classic again soon!

Hi Helene! Fantastic! Enjoy :)

Hi Jude! I agree...with the way things are going now we have to save everything we can :)

Hi Midge! Oooh! Croquetas with Lucban longanisa sounds delish!

Hi Joan! Thanks for stopping by again :) And glad you enjoyed the post!

rhea said...

hi joey! i'm an avid reader of your blog since last year. your entries brought so much cooking inspiration. this week, i made a cottage pie using our left-over chili con carne. it was yummy! my only regret was forgetting to add the corn. sigh...

Irene said...

That's my pet peeve in the food world - the people who sneer at left-overs. To me, if it's food, it can't be wasted (I think that attitude was passed down from my mom and grandma who nearly starved during post-WWII Russia). The yummy looking cottage pie sounds like the perfect way to make something new and tasty with yesterday's dinner!

Sophie said...

I bet that was really tasty! Mums are always right :-)

I've made a chicken based cottage pie in the past which worked well too.

Anonymous said...

wow...that looks really yummy...

http://allthingsmanila.blogspot.com

katiez said...

This is something my mother never made... But I discovered it somewhere and agree with you and yours - perfect for leftovers of any and every sort!
My other favorite leftover use is risotto!

Rasa Malaysia said...

Joey - got your comment about Penang. When are you coming? ;)

Lori said...

Joey,
You have an alluring way of writing -- pulling the reader in slowly. Beautiful!

My mom used to make cottage pie for me and my sisters too when we were kids, except that she called it shepherd's pie. I made it once for my Bin and Boo but it didn't go over so well. :-( Your post makes me want to try it again.

kellypea said...

I love the way you wrote this. I just happened to make a cottage pie, too, but it definitely didn't happen this way. I'd never made one before, so relied upon a recipe, and we liked it so much, I'm sure it will become what you've described: something we can use leftovers for! Your version sounds perfect!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rhea! Thanks for leaving a comment and so happy to hear you are enjoying my blog! :) Cottage pie with leftover chilli con carne sounds fantastic...and something that my husband would love! Thanks for sharing that :)

Hi Irene! I agree...all food should be put to good use to the best of our abilities :) We need to be reminded every now and again that food is not always at a surplus...your grandma and mom are right and wise women to instil that in you :)

Hi Sophie! My mom’s made a chicken based cottage pie a couple of times too...it’s great how this works with a lot of leftovers :)

Thanks All Things Manila! :)

Hi Katiez! Will take your risotto idea too if you don’t mind :) Thanks!

Hi Bee! Oh I really want to go! KL and Penang both :) If we plan a trip you can be sure I will let you know!

Hi Lori! Thanks so much :) Take a look at my Waldorf salad after this...didn’t go over too well with C either...can’t win them all!

Hi Kellypea! Thank you :) It is really a great way to make leftovers new again! And it works with so many things – meat, chicken, fish (like a fish pie!)...even veggies!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

...in whose loving arms many leftovers have found solace. ... that is a glorious definition of Cottage Pie.
Beautifully written and photoed to make me hungry now.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Tanna! :) Food is quite the inspiration for glorious descriptions!

armela.x said...

Hello,
I would like to ask if i would be able use your photograph of the cottage pie for my DiDA(ICT) project. This is not for publishing purposes, I would just like to use the picture in one of my documents.Thank You, Armela Shabanaj