Using Up Leftovers (i.e. lazy food)
I am lazy at heart. Want evidence of this? How many times have you seen me post on this food blog that is run out of my own home. Exactly. We just got back from a lunchtime ride and I wanted something fast and easy for lunch. After taking stock of the fridge, the only things that piqued my interest were the week old leftover chicken and the shitake mushrooms from the CSA that Rachel does not terribly like. What to do, what to do....
I've got it, let's make Alex's famous hash:
2 potatoes (peeled and diced)
1/2 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cooked chicken breast and two cooked chicken thighs (all chicken diced uniformly).
2 T Worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Start your pan over a high heat while you are peeling and dicing potatoes. My non-stick wok works best for cooking potatoes this way. Toss the diced potatoes in with some olive oil salt and pepper. As they cook, toss the pan every two minutes or so so that they brown on all sides. Keep your dice small and they will cook all through this way.
While the potatoes are cooking, chop up the rest of your ingredients. After the potatoes have had about ten minutes to cook, add the onions and mushrooms. Three or so minutes after this add the chicken. As soon as the chicken is hot, your dish is done.
Throughout the cooking process, I like to add Worchestershire sauce as a seasoning. I like the flavor it brings to potatoes and of course it goes well with meat. It is a delicious dish, but I must admit the shitakes are pretty much lost in the mess due to the other heavy flavors. Oh well, they needed to be used.
My point here is that leftovers can yield a very pleasant and easy meal. You don't need a set recipe, just a set of procedures depending on what ingredients are on hand. For this dish, there were really only a few rules I had to play by:
1. Potatoes take longest to cook out of my stock of ingredients.
2. The vegetables need to cook, but need less time than the potatoes.
3. The chicken really only needs to reheat as it is already cooked.
I can think of a few other dishes to make with these ingredients. Maybe a quick chicken and mushroom stew or soup. Or, how about a fritata with the available ingredients and some extra herbs. Just remember cooking times required for the various items and deal with them appropriately.