I actually made this stew for dinner last night, but I think I’d rather talk about its incarnation as tonight’s leftovers.
Leftovers are an important part of our weekly meal planning. We both brown-bag most days, and leftovers make up most of those lunches. It’s never really made a lot of sense to me to buy separate food for lunches, apart from extras like string cheese, granola bars, small pieces of fruit, and the occasional treat, especially when we’re putting so much effort into main dishes in the evening. So instead of sandwiches, Hot Pockets, or Lean Cuisines, all of which have previously made up substantial parts of our lunches, we take jars of soup or thick slices of meatloaf with fresh bread, with small containers of grapes, crackers, or other snacks to eat throughout the day. As a result of this, meals often make multiple appearances in our house. Soup made over the weekend may show up in 3-4 additional lunches, as will be the case this week.
This stew, made for last night’s dinner with our friend Marla, was supposed to produce 4 portions, but instead resulted in at least 6. We enjoyed the stew with warm polenta last night, the bitter escarole nicely balancing the sweetness of the polenta and the savory chicken. Like Saturday’s soup, it was hearty and warm, but not so hearty that we fell stuffed after. But when I had a portion for dinner tonight, I felt decidedly ambivalent. The chicken was boring and a little chewy. The greens were limp and unpleasantly bitter. The broth was watery. I had no desire to finish my bowl, much less the 2-3 portions still in the fridge.
So what to do? I hate throwing away food, but I also hate wasting calories on things I really don’t enjoy. What do you do to rescue meals (or leftovers) you no longer want to eat?