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 Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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
Keyword eating on a budget, family recipies

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 Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
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
Keyword eating on a budget, empty the fridge

Fishfinger rice bowl

Fishfinger rice bowl

Fishfinger rice bowl

Sometimes I think of a leftover recipe. I imagine different reactions:
younger me “Cold fish and RICE?  ARE YOU ON DRUGS? Where’s the white sauce?!”
My parents: “Gosh, it is interesting how you combine different things isn’t it?”
My brothers: “Oh, yeah, well done”.

They aren’t the leftover lovers though!  Two leftover fish fingers are too good to waste, and this, to me, was surprisingly good.

The leftover friend’s super star, a rice bowl is a fab way to use up those odds and sods from the bottom of your fridge.  Any leftover greens, some salad: whatever.  Bet you’d buy it in M&S  or Pret without thinking, so have a go and make your own!  Okay, M&S and Pret wouldn’t be using fishfingers, but you might have some white fish or some chicken mixed with your rice and salad, so why not a fishfinger?

Cuisines across the world batter or egg & bread fish, so mixing up a fishfinger with a little boiled rice isn’t as mad as it might sound.  I mean, okay, I wouldn’t pay to eat it in a restaurant or claim that it’s authentic cuisine (well, it’s authentic Ann Storr but that’s not always a good thing TBF). With some salad, some chilli  – well, to me it’s a damn sight tastier than a coffee shop equivalent.  And no single-use plastic packaging. With this second, more photogenic rock around the block I used Thai sticky rice, which I prefer in this dish, and it was easier to eat with chopsticks (because yes I’m sure this is super, super authehtic Thai (side eye emoji).

If you take lunch into work, store the fish separately so that the crumbs don’t go soggy (bawk).  A little teryaki sauce is all that this needs to give you a filling and tasty lunch.  Or, if you don’t have any in the fridge, some tamari or soy sauce.

Nice rice, some veg, some fish: quick lunch​​

 

Fishfinger Rice Bowl

Yes I sort of hate me too.

Ingredients
  

  • 60 grams rice I used Thai, but whatever you have/like
  • 2 leftover fishfingers
  • Salad that you like
  • Teriyaki

Instructions
 

  • Cook the rice per packet instructions. Leave to cool.
  • If you're planning on eating this later, make sure that the rice is 100% room temperature before packing the salad as otherwise it'll steam slightly. If in doubt, pack a few small containers and combine when you're ready to eat.

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding from worrisome milk

Years ago, I worked with a wonderful woman called Jadz. We worked on the same study at the Institute of Psychiatry, looking at how nature and nuture affect behaviour. I’d feel insecure that my colleagues were all researchers and academics, when I was ‘just’ comms and business. I talked more about food and fashion than stats and theories, and got my boss to bring me copies of American Vogue (one time it was a record breaking September edition…). It’s lucky that I moved industries, right?

Jadz told me how her mum would make bowls of rice pudding as a special breakfast. She smiled as she said it, in that time-warp way that some memories have. I went home and made a batch for my eldest, and she was in heaven.

Nowadays, I make my eldest rice pudding for breakfast when I know she’s got a rough day ahead. After 11 years on a nature X nuture study, the armchair psychologist in me says that nature (child and grandchild of comfort feeders) + nurture (erm, child and grandchild of comfort feeders) means there’s going to be rice pudding for breakfast for years to come, thank you Jadz.

Note

Rice pudding will keep for a couple of days, but if you have any scrapings leftover, whack them into a pancake batter or bread dough – remember it’s all about relay race cooking, where one ‘leftover’ sparks a new idea.

Rice pudding

You can use pudding rice, but I have a giant bag of arborio rice that my bestie sent me from Italy. Short grain would even be fine at a push.
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 500 ml leftover milk cow/goat/soy/coconut
  • 50 grams pudding or risotto rice
  • 25 grams unsalted butter or vegan alternative
  • 25 grams sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)

Tools

  • Scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Sieve
  • Wooden spoon

Ratio

    1 part rice to 10 parts milk: if you have 250 ml of milk to use up, it's 25 grams of rice. 1 litre? 100 grams of rice.

      Instructions
       

      • Weigh the rice, place it in the sieve and rinse. Allow to drain.
      • Add the milk, rice, butter, sugar and salt to the pan. Turn the heat to medium, place the lid on and bring to the boil.
      • Milk can boil over VERY QUICKLY so don't walk away!
      • Once it is simmering, turn the heat down. Stir every 10 minutes of so until done - around 30 minutes.
      • Serve on its own or with jam

      Storage

      • If there is any leftover, then place in a lidded container in the fridge. You can mash any leftover rice pudding that no-one wants into bread dough or pancake batter.

      Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

      Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

      Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

      This Chinese recipe for green bean stir fry shows one of the food rules I like to teach: pork and green stuff work well together. Every culture pairs them (bacon and cabbage! Ham and peas! Frisee lettuce and lardons!). Sweet and/or bitter greens both work well against strong flavoured, fatty pork. Hell, that’s why I love adding peas to chowder

      Stir Fry is an excellent book to learn about Chinese cuisine; it’s simple and the recipes work. I avoided cooking Chinese food for a long time as I couldn’t afford all the flavours and vinegars. Living on a budget means not having a larder stuffed so you can cook Italian, Japanese, Ghanaian or Nordic cuisine on any given day. Right now, greens are great and I know I’m cooking a lot of Chinese cuisine. This means I can justify the rice wines and whatnot. I know that I’ll use up the little bottles before moving on to different flavours – and not necessarily replacing the oyster sauce or rice vinegar when I finish it.

      Inspiration isn’t easy to come by when you’re buying the same veg week in, week out. Starting with using up half a packet of green beans in a new way is a great place to start. Or try a veg box; or buy two things from a farmers market; or take a punt on a large £1 scoop of a veg you might not usually try. You might be surprised. You’ll never know unless you try, right?

      If you like the look of this recipe but don’t have green beans, then use runner beans, or maybe even some sliced hardy greens or peas. I don’t know if that’s authentic, but it’ll use up those veg or that meat, it’ll get everyone fed and it’ll taste great.

      Leftover green beans with soy pork

      Adapted, barely, from 'Minced Soy Pork', Ching-He Huang, 'Stir Fry', p173

      Ingredients
        

      • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
      • 2 cloves garlic
      • 1 red chilli (optional, if cooking for kids)
      • 200 grams minced pork
      • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
      • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce/tamari sauce
      • 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
      • around 200 grams leftover green beans cut into 2.5 cm slices
      • 50 ml water
      • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce/shoyu
      • 1 teaspoon cornflour, blended with 1 tablespoon cold water
      • pinch freshly ground black pepper
      • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

      Tools

      • knife and chopping board
      • wok
      • measuring jug
      • ramikin/little bowl
      • measuring jug

      To serve

      • jasmine rice or noodles

      Instructions
       

      Prepare the noodles or rice

      • Cook as per packet instructions
      • If you haven't already, blend the cornflour and water.

      Prep

      • Cut the beans into 2.5cm slices. Slice the garlic and chilli, if using.

      Method

      • Heat the wok over a high heat until smoking and add the oil. Add the garlic and chilli (if using) and toss for a few seconds to release the flavour. Add the pork and let it settle in the wok for about 30 seconds to brown and sear and then stir for 1 minute.
      • Add the five spice powder and season with the dark soy/tamari. Toss until the pork turns rich brown and then season deglaze the wok with the Shaohsing rice wine/sherry.
      • Add the beans and toss for 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to the boil, then season with the light soy sauce and stir in the blended cornflour. Add a twist of black pepper and season with the toasted sesame oil

      Storage

      • You can stir in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

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