I come from a big family... a big family of "waste not, want not'ers". I was brought up with a mom who always cooked large, yet there were seldom left overs... in fact, "who" got seconds was always a competition of sorts, lol! This probably has something to do with the fact that I eat so fast now. However, if there ever WERE left overs - they did NOT get wasted. They were reinvented and repurposed until they were finished or as close as.
That aspect of my raising has never left me. I will never understand people that won't eat left overs. I mean let's talk refrigeration and microwaves here... their entire purpose in our world is preservation and resurrection. The food from Monday, tastes JUST as good on Tuesday - and even Wednesday... in fact, in many instances - it tastes BETTER, especially with the likes of stews, soups and curries... because the flavours have had time to develop.
As little as humanly possible goes to waste in my kitchen, and the things which really aren't any longer good for human consumption will then be offered to the compost heap, worm bin or perhaps the birds if suitable.
So speaking of left overs... let's talk Mengelmoes! The word is Afrikaans / Dutch and essentially it means "mixed up" or "mish mash" - basically it is whole concoction of all sorts.
Mengelmoes is probably one of the tastiest plates of foods you will ever eat, and it consists of 90% leftovers, so perhaps less appealing to those who refuse to cross that particular threshold. You can literally get away with throwing just about ANYTHING into this dish and it is also a fantastic opportunity to make good use of veg in the fridge which have past their prime.
On this particular occasion, which was probably about a month ago we had a whack of stuff in the fridge in "little bits and bobs" which really needed to get used up before it got too old and also for the simple sake of freeing up space in the fridge. There was some left over chicken from a roast which I had done, a little boerewors from a braai, some corn from the braai as well, a handful of left over garlic buttered baby jacket potatoes from some other meal and a couple of other things...
There were some sweet bell peppers in the fridge which needed to be used too, so I chopped up an onion, as well as the bell pepper and threw that into the large skillet with a little olive oil and salt. This particular skillet is actually designed for the kettle braai, but it works just as well on the gas stove.
Essentially, once the peppers and the onion are lightly sauteed you should throw in anything else you want that requires actual cooking time - but after that you can pretty much throw whatever you have into the pan in any order because it is all already cooked.
I had some fresh baby spinach which I chopped up, some less than firm baby tomatoes which I halved and threw in too, as well as a few raw baby marrows which were not enough for any meal as a whole, so I chopped them up too.
As everything is pretty much diced - whatever meats you add should follow suit. So the left over chicken we had I basically just shredded by hand and the boerewors I simply sliced into rounds and added them both. Now is when it starts to take real shape.
When prepping mengelmoes, keep in mind that most of the contributing ingredients have already been seasoned or flavoured... so be careful with how much you add to that. I would suggest that you cook it all up and then give it a taste and make a call from that point as to whether it actually needs any additional flavouring... most likely, not.
Essentially, you cook all of it through for maybe five to ten minutes - quantity dependent and then last but not least, if you have any left over rice... add it too because THAT is literally the cherry on the cake! Thankfully on that occasion, we did... but I suppose you could always cook up a pot of rice if you so wished. Even if you don't add it to the pan, but simply serve the mengelmoes with it. In fact... pasta would work too then... mmmm pasta! Pasta works well with anything - I digress...
This is really not any kind of rocket science, but it is worth a mention (or a post in this case) if it perhaps creates converts out of all the foodie wasters in the world, haha! - Also, like I said already... it is an absolutely delightful plate of comfort food and WELL worth all the chopping, lol!
Until next time...
Much Love from Cape Town, South Africa xxx
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