Do Your Leftovers Bubble and Squeak?
Now that the big meal is over, it’s easy to give in to temptation. But don’t order that pizza just yet. Though your fridge is full of scraps, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with turkey sandwiches or microwaved mashed potatoes. In this slideshow, explore some of history’s most sustainable post-holiday meals, comprised mainly from repurposed leftovers. These simple dishes have been crowd-pleasers since long before someone thought cranberry sauce in a can was a good idea.
Photos courtesy Flickr
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BUBBLE AND SQUEAK
Key Scraps: leftover vegetables
Common Ingredients: potatoes, carrots, peas, meat
Origins: Originally an economic way to make the most of meat and cabbage leftovers remaining from the traditional Sunday Roast dinner, this British dish dates to at least the early 18th century. During World War II rationing, it became a popular way to repurpose potatoes and vegetables by frying them up together—and the dish owes its name to the sound that it creates.
Photo courtesy WFIU Public Radio
PANZANELLA, Italian bread salad
Key Scrap(s): leftover bread
Common Ingredients: tomatoes, cucumber, onions, basil, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper
History: Rather than wasting stale bread, Italians discovered sometime in the Middle Ages that stale bread, when soaked in water and then squeezed out, absorbs oil and vinegar and other salad flavors to create a new and rather hefty dish. Originally the dish did not include tomatoes, but after the fruit was introduced to the region in the 16th century, it became a prominent feature of the salad.
Similar to: Fattoush, Middle Eastern pita salad
Photo courtesy Kristen Taylor
Recommended by San Francisco Munchery chef Raymond Reyes
Key Scrap(s): bones and marrow, mirepoix (celery, onions, carrots)
Common Ingredients: chicken or turkey gizzards, hearts, or liver; meat, fat, herbs, garlic, spices, salt, pepper
History: Meat and fish stocks serve as the foundation of dishes all over the world, and have been referenced in such early texts as the bible, though the proverb “Too many cooks spoil the broth” was not recorded in Sir Balthazar Gerbier's Three Chief Principals of Magnificent Building until 1665.
Photo courtesy skooksie
CHINESE FRIED RICE (or yáng zhōu chǎo fàn)
Origins: the city of Yangzhou in the eastern Jiangsu province
Key Scrap(s): leftover rice, egg
Common Ingredients: scrambled egg, shrimp, bbq pork, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions, peas, corn, and other vegetables
History: Some claim the dish was invented or at least popularized by Yang Su, a powerful general during the Sui Dynasty (581–618 AD), but although it has inexact origins, the best versions are attributed to the city of Yangzhou. Today, thanks to Chinese restaurants and All You Can Eat Buffets around the world, variations of the dish appear throughout North America, England, and other parts of Asia in particular.
Similar to: Kimchi Fried Rice
Photo courtesy of Robyn Lee
Recommended by Seattle Munchery chef Raymond Southern
Key Scrap(s): meat and fat, okra, rice
Common Ingredients: chicken, seafood, wheat flour, filé (dried and ground sassafras leaves)
History: Thickened by a dark roux (a mixture of fat and wheat flour), this stew poured over rice requires careful tending. Creole and Cajun varieties of the dish feature slightly different ingredients and methods vary by region. Gumbo made an appearance at a gubernatorial reception in New Orleans in 1803; by 1885, an oyster- and beef-rich version was published in Lafcadio Hearn’s La Cuisine Creole.
Photo courtesy of Robert Terrell
CASSOULET, French bean and meat stew
Origins: Southwestern France
Key Scrap(s): white beans, meat
Common Ingredients: duck or goose meat and fat, pork, sausage, flageolet or tarbais beans
History: A peasant stew possibly inspired by similar versions in nearby Muslim Spain of the twelfth century, legend has it that cassoulet stew—made in a traditional round earthenware vessel called the cassole—was created during the Hundred Years War as the British laid siege to the town of Castelnaudary, where cassole pots originate. To fortify the town’s defenders against invasion, local cooks gathered what they could to create this now iconic dish.
Similar to: Cholent, European Jewish Sabbath stew
Photo courtesy Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin