We all need quick and easy fall-back recipes that we can put together without too much effort, using things we have on hand and don’t have to think too hard about. These meals also tend to be cheap precisely because we don’t have to acquire special ingredients.
Although this particular combination is most likely to appear in the winter, it is perfectly amenable to a cool spring or summer day, because it takes advantage of (seasonal) leftovers that were previously frozen and it can use frozen leeks. (I haven’t tried freezing leftover creamed leeks; we tend to eat them very quickly!) I haven’t indicated any herbs and spices because there’s already a strong flavour in the ginger leeks, and the meat would have had seasoning when it was first cooked. But there’s nothing stopping you from adding a few of your own favourites before baking, or having salt and pepper on the table.
|A few scraps||Sliced ham (lunchmeat) or cooked bacon pieces|
|Up to a pint||Frozen turkey dark meat in stock, defrosted|
|2 cups||leftover boiled potatoes|
|2 cups||Creamy ginger leeks (leftover is fine)|
|1 cup||Shredded cheese (any kind that melts attractively)|
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
- Toss cut up ham/bacon into bottom of a 2-quart casserole.
- Cut turkey meat into bite-sized chunks and place on top of ham. Save and refrigerate the stock the turkey had been frozen in for gravy or soup to be made in the next day or so. Some stock will cling to the meat; don’t worry. A little bit of stock in the bottom layer will minimize sticking and help keep the meat from drying out. But if there’s too much liquid, the layers won’t hold together.
- Prepare leeks if you don’t have leftovers; spread in a layer over the turkey.
- Mash potatoes and spread layer over the leeks. (Notice I keep the potato skins!)
- Top with shredded cheese. Use whatever you’ve got, whether it’s a regular standby or bits and bobs of leftovers from a cheese-board. The stronger the cheese, the more impact its flavour will have.
- Bake for one half hour or a bit longer, until heated through (everything is already cooked) and top is a bit crunchy. If it’s not brown enough for you, give it a few minutes under the grill. (You can also reheat any leftovers in the oven or under the grill.)
- Serve simply and enjoy!