3 May 2012

Using up the leftover roast

What a wonderful collection of comments we had yesterday. If you haven't read them yet, make yourself a cuppa, sit down for an hour and read through them. Those comment clearly demonstrates what a wide and diverse group we are. I was fascinated by the variety of work we do, and how an ordinary day can be so different for all of us and yet we're still connected by our work and our lives. I loved reading about your day and I appreciate so many many of you taking the time to comment - I know from my own personal experience that taking that time sometimes seems too much but it really does give us time to slow ourselves down, to connect with others and to understand that none of us is alone.


I love leftovers. When I can, I always add more vegetables to a meat meal so we have leftovers that can be eaten the following day or frozen for another day in the future. One recent leftover delight was this lamb curry.  Originally a baked lamb shoulder, it was enjoyed with baked potatoes, pumpkin, onions and sweet potato. Way too much for one meal, we had the meat for sandwiches the next day for lunch and that night I finished off the shoulder and the roasted vegetables by making up this lamb curry.  The recipe could be used for any pre-cooked meat or vegetables and you could replace the curry for chilli, or leave out the spice altogether and make a lamb stew.

One of the reasons this works so well as a leftover meal is that most of the cooking has already been done, the flavour has already developed and the meat and vegetables have areas of caramelisation on them. It really is just a matter of chopping up the leftovers, adding fresh vegetables and spices if you need to, and making a sauce.

In the photo above, I chopped up the leftover roasted vegetables and added a carrot and capsicum (pepper), onion and tomato left over from the lunch sandwiches. These were added to a pan to heat up and start cooking.

While that was happening, I cut all the meat off the bones.

See that brown colouring on the end of the bone, that is pure flavouring. It's caramelisation - it happens when the sugars in the meat (or vegetables) start cooking slowly and the water evaporates, turning the meat brown and changing the flavour.

When the vegetables have cooked, add the meat and the bones to take advantage of those caramelised bits, then add enough water to partially cover the meat and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. You don't have to add any stock or flavourings from a tin or pouch, you'll get the flavour from the bones and pre-cooked meat.

When everything is cooked, you can either thicken the sauce by letting it evaporate, or if you're cooking for a few people and need to bulk the meal out with sauce and rice, thicken it with cornflour or arrowroot. Simply mix a tablespoon (or two in a larger meal) of cornflour with half a cup of water and mix until no lumps remain. Add that to the meat and vegetables and stir in well. Cook it for a further minute to cook out the flour taste, and your meal is ready. Serve with rice or mashed potato. It's fast, very tasty and economical.



  1. Ooh, that look yum! I do almost the same thing except I keep the bone for making stock. Dinner 1, sandwhiches, Dinner 2, stock. Don't know what to do with the bone after that though, we don't put stuff like that in our compost...

  2. As a kid we often had a curry with the roast leftovers, these days with 8 I rarely have leftovers!

  3. We love curries, and this is a great idea for using up leftover meat and veggies. Sometimes, the veggies are not so good reheated, but I bet they do well in the curry. Even better than a stir fry!

  4. That looks delicious! I enjoyed reading all the comments yesterday, too. I will finish reading them today. I tried to comment myself, but my post didn't show up. (I was the first one...)I'll try again today. I'm freezing leftover meat sauce that I stretched by adding more tomato base. I will use it next time I make a lasagne. This way, one lb. of ground beef made spaghetti and meat sauce and lasagne. I left the drippings in for flavor. Just delicious!


  5. We also use up every last leftover bit. It really stretches the food dollar. One of my brother's never saves leftovers - they go straight to the trash - such a waste. I just can't throw money away like that. I'm hoping his new wife doesn't do that.

  6. I swear, Rhonda, sometimes you just read my mind. You must have a little bird that goes "gosh, looks like Mrs Accident is really struggling with that, better give her some advice..."

    Thank you. Again!

  7. Hi Rhonda your post today is very appropriate as I was thinking what to do with a leftover 'roast' (slowcooked) joint of pork. Hubby is not very keen on risotto which was my first thought. Now I will make this! Thanks Bridget

  8. Hi Rhonda Our roast meat is diced up finely and added with egg flour and cheese to make fritters. Left over roast veges are put into a shortcrust pastry form with some cherry tomatoes and then eggs are cracked over the top into empty areas. Finally sprinkle with some cheese and bake until the eggs are no longer clear.

  9. I've been trying to do a lot more of this way of cooking now instead of ending up with a fridge full of leftovers by the end of the week. Love a quick lamb curry, your looks very yummy Rhonda...i couldn't believe that i saw a tiny pouch for bolognaise the other day when shopping...i wondered what could possibly be in it?!
    I hope to get some time to read through all your comments from yesterday...would have loved to join in but unfortunately the twins had other ideas for my time!!
    Have a lovely day...we have some sun here for the first time in 2 weeks and we are off to explore mud and collect the eggs in the sunshine!

  10. We also enjoy left over roast meat. Roast lamb is delicious in sandwiches the following day. Last Sunday I made a very nice roast pork (organic) and on Monday evening my husband made the most interesting and delicious pork fried rice. Lots of rice, bok choy, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, carrots, snow peas and the usual chinese sauces added. I am going to follow your example of using the bone in another dish. Thanks Rhonda.

  11. Yum, that looks delicious. Can't wait to try it.
    Thanks for the great cooking idea. I love ways of using up leftovers that transform into another meal.
    I do this with mince, Mexican beef one night with wraps and salad and the following night a spicy shepherds pie with added carrots into the beef and mashed potatoes on top.
    Tasty, easy and very economical.
    Love Anna.

  12. Roast leftovers always get made into beef vegetable soup the next day..yum!

  13. Yum I miss these type of meals, now if I can keep the hubby and daughter away from the joint (sneeky pleasure of theirs :) )I may just stretch the left overs to another meal.

  14. I also love using leftovers especially when I have from the last few meals and we then have a potluck lunch! While recently in the UK with my sister she made beef hash from her left over roast beef...such a scrumptious meal served with asparagus fried egg and roast cherry tomatoes.

  15. I like leftovers more than the original meal. My favourite leftovers were when I was a child & my parents would have a party & the leftovers were crazy yummy stuff

  16. Hi Rhonda, I had to stop and congratulate you on your delicious and colorful blog. Although I am not a meat consumer I can still appreciate useful tips and sneaky recipes to prepare for my boyfriend. Kisses and congrats on your blog :).

  17. FrancesmoniqueMay 03, 2012 9:30 pm

    Yes, it was so good reading about everyones day yesterday. Some were very similar to others and some so different and hard!I just love that we are communicating with people from all around the world,so interesting. As for the leftover lamb curry, thanks for the instructions. It looks so delicious!!

  18. For Melissa...we take our leftover bones and bury deep in the garden (just so they can't be easily dug out). We figure it adds calcium over time : ).

    Need to remember this recipe since we are having beef roast tonight : ).

  19. Rhonda, your blog has been so helpful to me since I discovered it a few years ago. My husband went through 2 1/2 years of lay off and has just now been called back to work. I can't even begin to tell you how much it helped to read your blog, both in living simply during that time, and in encouraging me to continue that way of life. You have become a friend that I look forward to meeting each day. Thank you.


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