Bigging up those leftovers


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Let bakers and cooks be the magicians when you need an easy dinner – all credit to you for buying what they conjure up well, giving you more time for what you do best. Shop-bought bread, frozen pastry, cooked meats, spice pastes – perfect for a dazzling feast with magical speed if you tweak them just slightly.

Pepperpot pork pies

​These intensely flavoured spicy pies are packed with roasted capsicum and a chilli-rich spice paste of your choosing in the filling. Thai red curry paste and tandoori curry paste both work well here. Brush the top of the puff pastry with a teaspoon of the paste whisked with the beaten egg for an extra flavour boost. For the filling I pot-roast 500 grams chopped shoulder of pork with four peeled and chopped onions for a couple of hours in the oven at 150C but you can use leftover cooked pork.

300g cooked sweet potato, skinned

about 50g red curry paste, like Thai or tandoori, to taste

200g tinned coconut milk

300g cooked and chopped cold pork, ideally shoulder

150g soft-cooked onions

150g roasted red capsicum, deseeded, peeled and chopped

100g grilled sliced eggplant, chopped

about 2-3 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry (375g)

about 2-3 sheets frozen puff pastry (375g)

melted butter

1 egg

salt to taste

sesame seeds to finish

1. Mash the sweet potato with the curry paste and coconut milk to taste: go for a slightly intense flavour, as the pastry seems to dampen the spices. Stir in the pork, onion, capsicum and eggplant then add salt to taste. Chill this while you line the tins.

2. Butter the inside of six pie tins, about 10 to 12 centimetres in diameter, with melted butter. Line the tins with discs of shortcrust pastry, letting about one centimetre of pastry hang over the edge. Then divide the mixture between the tins, heaping it up if you need to.

3. Cut six discs of puff pastry large enough to cover the tops of the tins, and brush each lightly with beaten egg.

4. Place the discs egg-side down onto the pastry, so they stick, and crimp the edges together. Beat a teaspoon of curry paste with the remaining beaten egg wash and brush this over the top, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

5. Chill the pies for an hour. This helps seal the edges.

6. Bake at 180C for about 30-40 minutes until deep golden brown and piping hot inside.

Makes 6 large individual pies

Dan Lepard's pumpernickel pork burgers with gherkin mayo

Pumpernickel pork patties with pickles and gherkin mayo. Photo: William Meppem

Pumpernickel pork burgers with gherkin mayo

I use equal parts potato and meat but vary that according to what you have – slightly overcooked and sticky steamed rice works well too. Cooked chicken thighs or roast shoulder of lamb are equally ace in this. If you can’t find pumpernickel and you have a local baker making sourdough rye, use that. Otherwise, blitz Ryvita to crumbs in the food processor.

300g cooked potato, or sweet potato

50g grain mustard

2 egg yolks

300g cooked and chopped cold pork, ideally shoulder

160g sliced pumpernickel, about 4 slices

20g chopped parsley, a big handful

100g plain flour

2 egg whites

1 egg

Gherkin mayo

50g each mayonnaise and thick Greek yoghurt

40g chopped gherkin

30g shallot or white onion

salt and pepper to taste

oil for frying

1. Put the potato in a bowl, mash it up (I leave the skin on), stir in the mustard, yolks and pork then season to taste. Then grind the pumpernickel to crumbs in a food processor, mix with the parsley and tip onto a dinner plate. Then tip the flour onto another plate, and in a bowl beat together the whites and whole egg with a pinch of salt. Finally have a sink of warm soapy water ready because this next step makes a mess.

2. Divide the pork and potato mixture up, then roll each portion in flour, then in egg, finally in breadcrumbs, then place on a tray while you do the remainder. I wash and dry my hands every couple of burgers as they clag up messily. Leave these to chill for a few hours so the crust firms up.

3. To make the gherkin mayo, mix together the mayo, yoghurt, gherkin and onion evenly. Fry burgers on each side in a hot pan with a little oil until crisp and hot, and serve with a blob of gherkin mayo.

Makes 3 large or 6 small burgers

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