One of my favourite things in the world is coming home from work and raiding the fridge for leftovers.
You know, like when you’ve had a really awful day at work and then you remember the leftover curry you have in your fridge?
Or when you have a reeeeally boring salad for lunch, and then spend the rest of the afternoon dreaming of the leftover Thai noodles you’re going to inhale as soon as you get home? It’s the BEST feeling.
I always try and make double of everything I cook, just so there are a couple of portions left for the next day or so. Since we got our slow-cooker last year, I’ve also enjoyed batch-cooking things like stew and bolognese sauce. That way we can eat a bit, keep a bit, and freeze a bit to eat in future. It saves money, time and effort, so really – what’s not to love about leftovers?
We usually eat the original portions with bread or pasta, something super simple. But then I like to play around and use the leftovers in new (and slightly weird) ways. I love spaghetti bolognaise, but who wants to eat it four days in a row, y’know? So I’ll add some kidney beans and spices and turn it into chilli con carne. Or layer it up with aubergine and cheese and turn it into a sort of hybrid aubergine parmigiana.
Honestly, some of my favourite (and weirdest) dinners have come from me needing to use up some leftover something or other in my fridge!
So, to honour my love of Leftovers Cooking, I’m teaming up with Costcutter today to show you some creative ways to use up leftover beef stew.
The original recipe for this delicious Winter Beef Stew (below) is all theirs, and then I’ve come up with two ideas for other dishes you could make with the leftovers: Mini Beef Stew Pies and Beef Stew Ragu with Tagliatelle.
They might sound fancy, but actually both of these take less than 30 minutes each to make, and are suuuuuper easy (not to mention delicious!). Cook the stew on the weekend when you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, and then you’ve got the leftovers to tide you over during the week.
WINTER BEEF STEW
Serves: 8 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 120 minutes
*You’ll need a large casserole dish with a lid.
– 900g diced stewing beef
– 3 tsp vegetable oil
– 4 beef stock cubes
– 1 litre of water
– 1 tsp dried rosemary
– 1 tsp dried parsley
– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
– 3 large potatoes (peeled and cubed)
– 4 carrots (cut into pieces the size of a pound coin)
– 4 sticks celery
– 1 large onion (peeled and chopped)
– 2 tsp cornflower
– 2 tsp cold water
1. Heat the oil in the casserole dish, and brown the beef in batches.
2. While it’s cooking, make up the beef stock: boil the 1 litre of water, and add the crumbled beef stock cubes. Stir until dissolved.
3. Add the stock, rosemary, parsley and black pepper to the beef. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat, pop the lid on, and let it simmer for one hour.
4. When the first hour’s up, add the chopped potatoes, carrots, celery and onion to the casserole dish.
5. Dissolve the cornflour in 2 tsp of cold water, then stir the mix into the stew. Cover again, and leave to simmer for 1-2 hours. (The longer you leave it, the thicker the sauce, and the more tender the beef will get!)
6. Serve hot, with crusty bread.
These pies are super easy to make, and utterly delicious. We ate them warm from the oven for lunch: two each served with a bit of salad and mustard on the side, but they’re also nice eaten cold too!
If you prefer to make your own pastry (and I usually do if it’s a weekend), then I’d recommend using Delia Smith’s basic shortcrust recipe. It’s very easy to make, just rub butter and flour together, then add water until it forms a dough.
However, this particular batch was made with shop-bought shortcrust pastry, because I was super short on time and I’m all about a weekday time hack!
MINI BEEF STEW PIES
Makes: 12 pies | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes
*You’ll need a regular 12-hole bun tin, an 8cm round pastry cutter, and a 6cm round cutter.
– Leftover beef stew
– 650gr shortcrust pastry
– 1 egg
1. Grease a 12-bun tin with butter or a bit of cooking spray, and turn the oven on to 190 degrees (Celsius – fan-assisted).
2. Dust a clean surface with plain flour, then roll out your pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Using the large cutter, cut out 12 pastry circles for the base of your pies. Press each one into the holes in the tin, making sure the pastry reaches all the way to the top edge.
3. Use a teaspoon to carefully spoon your leftover beef stew into the pastry cases. Don’t overfill them, or they’ll boil over when they’re in the oven!
4. Crack the egg in a bowl, and beat it with a fork. Then use a pastry brush (or your finger) to dab the egg round the top edge of the pie cases. Use the smaller cutter to cut out the 12 pastry lids, and gently place these on top of the pies. Use your fingers to pinch the pastry edges together so the tops are sealed.
5. Crimp the edges of the pies with the back of a fork, then prick the top of the lids to make air holes. Brush the rest of the egg over the top of the pies to give them a nice glaze.
6. Bake the pies in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbly.
7. Serve hot or cold, with salad or just as a snack!
*TIP: Don’t have a rolling pin? Wash and dry the outside of a bottle of wine, and use that to roll your pastry out instead. Don’t have pastry cutters? Use wine glasses or tumblers.
Is there anything more comforting than a steaming bowl of hot noodley pasta and meaty ragu?
You’ve already got your slow-cooked stew, so all the hard and time-consuming work has already been done. All you need is a bit of red wine, some crushed tomatoes and a few extra herbs and spices, et voila! One delicious pasta sauce.
I personally think this meaty ragu works best with long pasta that has a bit of bite, like tagliatelle or fettucine. However, it could also be mixed with penne or pasta bows, then baked in the oven with a bit of cheese on top. Your choice!
BEEF STEW RAGU WITH TAGLIATELLE
Serves: 2 (plus cold leftovers for lunch!) | Prep Time: 0 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes
– Leftover beef stew
– 1 tin of crushed tomatoes
– 1 glass of red wine
– 1 tsp tomato puree
– 1 tsp rosemary
– 1 tsp oregano
– 1 tsp oil
– 1 clove of garlic, crushed
– 300 gr tagliatelle
1. Heat the oil in a large shallow pan, then fry the garlic very gently for a minute or so.
2. Add the wine and cook for another couples of minutes.
3. Stir in the leftover beef stew, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, rosemary and oregano. Use a fork to break up any big lumps of beef, carrot or potato.
4. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes, until it’s thickened slightly. Check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.
5. Meanwhile, put a big pan of water on to boil for the pasta. Salt it generously, then cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Once it’s tender, drain immediately.
6. Serve the hot pasta with the ragu spooned on top. Finish with grated cheese!
PS. Rhianna’s also been working with the stew recipe, so check out her post if you want even MORE ideas of what to do with your leftover beef stew. Her hot beef sandwich idea sounds especially yum!
*This post is sponsored by Costcutter.