Leftover Green Pepper Jambalaya

Leftover Green Pepper Jambalaya

Jambalaya

Creole and cajun cuisine has always interested me, and I don’t really know why. I think because the flavours and layers and history are fascinating – how French, African-diaspora, American and English histories combine.  I started cooking some Louisiana style food when the StorrCupboard babies were small, having photocopied (yes it was 2006…) most of a little book from my South London library.
It may be incidental, but there’s a lot of baked goods in creole and cajun cooking.  And whiskey.  And fat.
I won’t ever understand marshmallows and sweet potato, or frito pie, or pumpkin pie.  But a chunky cornbread?  Jambalaya?  These foods enabled people on limited means to eat joyfully, making the most out of bits and bobs and, as I’ve talked about, that’s how I managed to feed my family when times were lean. And a small amount of leftover meat can be used perfectly. So … yes please.
Your leftover green pepper is one of the essentials in building your jambalaya.  Like onion, carrot, garlic and celery in French or Italian cuisine, green pepper, onion, celery and garlic is what you need for cuisine from the Deep South.  The bitterness that some of us (cough) struggle with is essential.  In a dish like this, rich with smoked sausage, chicken and fish, and filling with rice, the bitter note is perfect and stops it from being too rich.
Note: if you have access to amazingly diverse food shops, Andouille sausage is ideal.  If not, Tolouse, or a Polish smoked sausage.   I had only fancy fresh hot-dog sausages that have been in the UK supermarkets for the past couple of summers, and they were great.
With the meat, it’s about weight. I went for white fish as there are many ethical problems with prawns eaten in the UK, and they are hellish expensive.  Mussels would work, or salmon – this is a dish where the rice and the veg pad out and showcase the meat.  Keep the ratios the same and make it the dish that you love.

 

Jambalaya

Adapted, barely, from Felicity Cloake, Guardian.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: eating on a budget, family recipies

Equipment

  • Tools
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Large saucepan pan
  • Lid for the pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon/flipper
  • Plates
  • Optional tools
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 3.5 teaspoons cajun spice mix
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 smoked sausages
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 onion 150g
  • 1 green pepper 300g
  • 1 celery stick 70g
  • 3 cloves garlic 10-15g
  • 4 spring onions 70g
  • 800 ml Chicken or pork stock
  • Few drops Tabasco sauce
  • 300 g long grain rice
  • 300 g fish I used coley fillets

Instructions

Prep

  • If using frozen fish, remove from freezer
  • Slice the sausages into 2cm-ish slices
  • Finely dice the onion, celery and green pepper
  • Crush/finely chop the garlic

Method

  • Pour the oil into the pan and add the sausage until it sizzles - quite hot, not max
  • Brown both cut sides and remove
  • Repeat with the chicken
  • Turn the heat to medium and allow to cool for a minute
  • Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until tender (about
  • 10 minutes); some people like to place a lid on the pan (I find it helps)
  • When tender, add the garlic and and stir around for a minute
  • Add the spice mix and stir well to make sure that the veg is well coated in spice mix
  • Return the chicken to the pot, pour in the stock and the Tabasco
  • Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender then add the rice
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Next, stir the rice once, place the lid on and leave for 15 minutes
  • After the 15 minutes are up, remove the chicken and set aside
  • Turn the heat to low
  • Add sausage and fish to the rice mixture
  • Stir the rice around the meat and fish once, replace the lid and leave to steam
  • As soon as you can, shred the meat off the bones
  • Stir the chicken through the rice mixture

Storage/further meals

  • Store in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days
  • Reheat CAREFULLY until piping hot
  • You can freeze, in a lidded container, for a month or so

Leftover Green Pepper Curry

Leftover Green Pepper Curry

Green Pepper Poriyal

This green pepper recipe was a fluke find, many years back.  I was staring at some green peppers and feeling fed up, because I don’t like them.  But I had them and I needed to eat them. And not wasting food is, sometimes, just cracking on through.
This recipe to use your leftover green peppers doesn’t even need you to chop an onion.  I know! I guess it’s a Jain recipe, as followers don’t eat onion or garlic.  I chose this recipe, and have repeated it, because we often have plain yoghurt in the fridge.  Leaving the pepper to rest in yoghurt takes away some of the bitterness, and makes a simple sauce.  I know it looks gross but, you know, try it!  (I thought of having a food blog called “brutti ma buoni” – Italian for ugly but delicious.  I will never be a food stylist …)
The whole spices are nice because of the crunch, but if you’ll never otherwise use them, use ground and just let them fry for about 30 seconds.

 

Green pepper poriyal

Adapted, barely, from ‘The Classic 1000 Indian Recipes’, Ed. Wendy Hobson
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: eating on a budget, empty the fridge
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • Tools
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Large frying pan
  • Lid for the pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Optional tools
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 450 g green peppers before de-seeding; 400g after de-seeding
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt preferably full fat
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 30 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

Instructions

Prep

  • Chop the peppers into dice (aka sqaures), around 2cm
  • Stir the yoghurt into the peppers and leave to one side for 15 minutes

Method

  • Pour the oil into the pan
  • Add the whole spices
  • When you hear the seeds pop, add the peppers, water and salt
  • Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender
  • Sprinkle with curry powder and leave to simmer for about 3 minutes
  • Serve with rice or as part of a bigger curry meal

Notes

Storage/further meals
Store in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days

Egg and bacon quiche

Egg and bacon quiche

Egg and bacon quiche.

Okay, there is more than one egg yolk in this dish, but what I want is to inspire you to have a zero waste, adaptable set of recipes.

If you’re veggie, or don’t have bacon, then just leave it out. Add in more onions, or leeks. Or some tuna and sweetcorn.

If the thought of making your own pastry is a little intimidating, then buy a packet of shortcrust or a ready made base. If you can learn to make your own it’ll cost you about 50p in flour and butter, not £1.39.

There are a lot of steps in this recipe. If you’re new to making pastry or quiche, then take it one step at a time. The pastry can be made a day or two in advance, it can be baked and left to one side. GO at your own pace and then enjoy your zero waste egg and bacon quiche.

 

Leftover egg yolk tart

Okay, this is a leftover smashing meal. Good luck!

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 125 grams plain flour + more for rolling out
  • 65 grams unsalted butter

OR

  • 35 + 30 grams lard/unsalted butter, respectively
  • pinch salt

For the leftover egg yolk filling

  • 1-2 leftover egg yolks
  • 1-2 whole eggs
  • 150 ml cream (double or single)
  • 1 onion add in another one or two if not using bacon
  • 100 grams bacon (optional) you could use mushrooms instead
  • 150 grams cheese - cheddar, Gruyere, double Gloucester.... just a melting cheese, it doesn't really matter which one
  • optional: 1 parmesan rind
  • optional: bay leaf, nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales and mixing bowl
  • Food processor or mixing bowl
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Bowl & cover for pastry
  • Measuring jug
  • Rolling pin
  • Pie dish, ceramic or metal
  • Cheesegrater
  • Baking beans
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Fork
  • Optional saucepan

Instructions

If using bay, parmesan rind ....

  • Place the cream, flavourings and seasoning in a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium. After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and leave them to one side for up to a day.

If making your own pastry, processor method

  • Place flour, salt & butter in the processor. When they look like sand, add a little water and process. Turn out onto a floured surface and squish together. 

If making your own pastry by hand

  • Cut the butter/butter and lard into cubes. Rub the fat into the seasoned flour until it looks like sand.

Both methods

  • Add just enough water to make it come together. This means that, when you squish it about, it doesn't crack and crumble.
  • Place in the bowl, cover and leave for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Make the filling

  • If you're using bacon, cut the fat off and put it in the pan to render. This will give the whole mixture the flavour of bacon.
  • Dice or slice the onion. Put the pan on around medium heat. Add the onions and DON'T LET THEM BROWN. 
  • It'll take at least 15 minutes for the onions to squidge down. Make sure you cannot see any white. 
  • Fry the bacon in with the onions. Grate the cheese.
  • If you've seasoned the cream with parmesan rind and bay, strain the cream into a bowl. Beat the egg yolks and whole egg into the cream. Stir in the cheese.

Bake the pastry

  • Turn the oven to 220C. Place a tray in the oven to heat. 
  • When the pastry is golden and lovely, turn the heat down to 180C. Remove the
  • Flour your counter (if you've been tidy enough to clean it since making the pastry). Take the pastry from the fridge and roll it out. Place it into the tin/dish. Prick it all over with the fork. Place the greaseproof paper over the pastry, cover it with pastry weights..
  • Place the quiche onto the hot tray and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, mix the onions, bacon and cheese custard mixture. Taste and season further if needed.
  • When the pastry is cooked, carefully remove the hot baking beans and leave them to cool. 
  • Pour the custard into the hot pastry case and return to the oven. Bake for around 30 minutes or until set.

Storage

  • The tart will keep in the fridge for around 5 days. If you want to reheat, it's best to let the tart come to room temperature and then place in a warm oven until warm through. Don't reheat again. And don't microwave! The pastry will go all floppy and foul.

Classic American/Scotch Pancakes

Classic American/Scotch Pancakes

Scotch pancakes with worrisome milk

Pancakes are a useful recipe to have always in the back of your mind for leftover milk, yoghurt, cream or even porridge. They are cheap, they are healthy. If you are so inclined, you can start experimenting with mixes of wholegrain flours and oats.

I took a picture with golden syrup drizzling down in honour of my eldest, who can think of little finer than a brand new tin of syrup, looking almost red and daring you to dunk a finger. We both, usually, do.

If your milk is on it’s best before, or near it – never pour it down the drain. The stats are staggering: 3 1/2 million litres are wasted in UK homes every year. 7% of all the milk that we produce. So play your part, testing your milk and trusting your senses over an over-cautious jet printed date.

A fried egg, some butter and loads of marmite or ketchup is what I love most of all. Either way, make sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

 

Scotch pancakes

You can use all plain flour, or a mixture of lots of scraps. I wouldn't go over 50% of wholewheat flours mind, or they'll be heavy AF. Don't miss out the melted butter, there's a softness that seems a pity to waste.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 225 grams plain flour or use a mixture of plain and wholegrain
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder or just weigh 20 grams, that's what I do...
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml worrisome milk
  • 30 grams unsalted butter & more for cooking

Tools

  • scales
  • mixing bowl
  • measuring jug - really big one if possible
  • whisk
  • frying pan
  • pastry brush
  • spatula
  • flipper

Instructions

If you have a digital scale and a 1 litre mixing jug...

  • Place the jug on the scale and pour in the milk and crack in the eggs. Whisk. Set the scale back to zero. Then carefully add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Remove from the scale and whisk until you have a good batter.

If you don't...

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a measuring jug, whisk together the milk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until you have a thick batter.

Either way

  • Turn the heat on under your pan to medium-hot and add the 30 grams of butter. Once it's melted, pour it into the batter and mix well.
  • When the pan is nice and hot, add just a pinch of butter and let it sizzle. If you can't get it to coat the base of the pan nicely, then use a pastry brush.
  • Pour in the batter, probably making neater circles than I have ever managed. Don't crowd the pan - around 3 or 4 to a large pan at a time.
  • When you see lots of little bubbles rising up, take your spatula and flip the pancakes over. They should only take a minute more to cook through.
  • Keep going until all the batter is used, using your spatula to leave a clean-enough bowl behind. 

Storage

  • Leftover pancakes will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Reheat in a dry frying pan.

Dried Mushrooms

Dried Mushrooms

Zero-waste home dried mushrooms

A couple of years ago, I spent too much money on veg in a farm shop. This is not unusual. A barbecue for all fifteen members of the Storr clan was needed; about half of the adults insist on vegetables (the other half seem to find them garnish). I love to barbecue mushrooms, sweetcorn, cauliflower, tomatoes. So, I bought them.

Mushroom burgers on the barbecue, stuffed full of garlic and parsley butter was what I wanted. I stacked the pan full of charcoal, flipped open a cider and watched the little cousins play in the courtyard. It was the headless space I needed, adding coals to the fire and hitting them with a heavy, dusty poker.

Somehow the mushrooms never made it as far as the barbecue. Back home, through a mind blasting hangover, a heatwave and business, 4 fat mushrooms were starting to decay in my fridge. And I didn’t want the fucking mushrooms or anything that looked backwards.

So I sliced the mushrooms, laid them onto greaseproof paper and shoved them in the oven. A couple of hours later I had a home-grown version of porcini; not as fancy or full of flavour but a million times cheaper (don’t quote me on that stat). Your leftover mushrooms can be used tomorrow, in 2 months or a year.

 

Home dried mushrooms

You can use any that you have going to waste, or if you see loads going cheap at the supermarket

Ingredients

  • mushrooms

Tools

  • Knife & chopping board
  • Baking tray(s)
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Wire cooling rack

Instructions

Prep

  • Turn the oven to 140C. Line the tray(s) with greaseproof paper.
  • Wipe the mushrooms if needed. Slice them into 5mm pieces. Arrange on the tray(s) in rows with no overlapping.
  • Place in the oven for around 2 hours, checking on them from time to time.
  • Once they are dried out, leave to cool on a wire cooling rack. 

Storage

  • Store in a lidded airtight container. Use within around a year.

Use

  • Rehydrate in warm water as and when needed.

 

Mushroom Ragout

Mushroom Ragout

Leftover Mushroom Ragout

Mushrooms are where lots of us head for a meat-free feast. This mushroom ragout is perfect for any cold damp evenings.

Polenta – a word. If you can, avoid the quick cook. Unless you’re going to cook loads of polenta, then it’s a false economy. If you have a large, cheap bag of polenta/course cornmeal, you can use it in pancakes and cornbread.

The original recipe calls for red wine; I didn’t have any but I did have beer and that worked fine. I’ve done it with chicken stock, with veg or mushroom stock. They’ll all taste different and all lovely.

 

Mushroom Ragout

Adapted from 'River Cottage Veg Every Day', p57
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time55 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the polenta

  • 600 ml water
  • 150 ml milk
  • 150 grams polenta/course cornmeal quick cook or normal
  • 25 grams Italian hard cheese/gran padano etc
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/olive oil
  • 25 grams unsalted butter
  • around 650 grams mushrooms
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • few sprigs thyme
  • 150 ml beer/wine
  • 150 ml any type of stock or just water

To serve

  • loads of cheese

Tools

  • knife & chopping board
  • scales
  • measuring jug
  • wooden spoon
  • balloon whisk
  • saucepan with lid
  • large frying pan
  • plate

Instructions

For quick cook polenta

  • For quick cook, cook as per packet instructions and, at the very end, stir through the butter and cheese. 

For regular polenta

  • Heat the water and milk in a large, lidded pan.
  • When the water & milk come to the boil, add the cornmeal/polenta, letting it run in thin streams through your fingers, whisking continuously. Stir for a minute or two until it thickens.
  • Turn the heat right down and stir well, roughly every 4-5 minutes to prevent it sticking. Keep going for about 35-45 minutes, until the polenta begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Stir in the butter and cheese, and serve with the mushrooms.

For the mushroom ragout

  • Heat 1 tablespoon and half the butter in the frying pan. Add half the mushrooms, season well and turn the heat up high. Stir often to encourage the water in the mushrooms to evaporate.
  • Cook the mushrooms until they deepen in colour. Once they are cooked through, add half the garlic and thyme and stir for a minute. Tip onto the waiting plate and set to one side.
  • Repeat with the other mushrooms.
  • When all the mushrooms are cooked, return the first batch to the pan. Add the wine/beer and stock/water and bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer.
  • Serve together

Leftovers/storage

  • Polenta will keep in the fridge, in a lidded container. You can warm it up adding a little milk or water and beating with a balloon whisk. Top with pesto, or small shreds of meat or veg - whatever, it's leftover lovlieness.