Now that I have something a little more inspiring to write about, I’ve slithered back over here with a whole fridge full of Christmas leftovers, eager to please and asking your forgiveness for my lax attitude to blogging. There was barely space to breathe in December, and now that we’re coming to those scant few days before the New Year* I feel just guilty enough to make a modicum of effort. You’re welcome.
I think we can agree that it’s easy enough to use up all the turkey that remains after Crimbo (curry, sandwiches, more curry, more elaborate sandwiches), but there are some things that require a bit more thought and, dare I say, ingenuity.
This recipe didn’t come out of nowhere – oh no. Like anyone born during the Internet’s rise to relevance, I found myself frantically asking Google what to do with the mounds of bread sauce remaining in the fridge; I’m used to making it for a whole brood and, in a stunning show of idiocy, made the same amount for a table of four.
(Spoiler alert: it was way too much bread sauce.)
I found this Guardian article from 2013, which suggests making ham and cheese croquettes out of leftover bread sauce. “Great!” I though to myself and, using that vague suggestion as a guide, I set out to make these cheesy, vegetarian bon-bons (which I’ve decided sounds more fun than ‘croquettes’, and which has no relevance to the finished project in any way at all).
These bon-bons turned out crispy on the outside, with a creamy, slightly cheesy centre; while still not healthy due to the shallow frying needed to achieve that crisp texture, they’re at least a tasty stepping stone on your way to a brand new year of food experimentation.
I’m reliably informed by my GF source that gluten-free bread sauce does exist, so I’ve included GF substitutions throughout the recipe.
Cheesy Bread Sauce “Bon-Bons” with Red Cabbage (Vegetarian, Gluten-free)
Serves 2 (3 bon-bons each)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Medium mixing bowl; two small, shallow bowls; metal slotted spoon/fish slice; cheese grater; medium frying pan; a small-ish piece of greaseproof paper or foil; no cutting implements required on this occasion, but get ready to do some mixing, folks.
For the bon-bons
- 400g (ish) leftover bread sauce (you can eyeball this – you’ll need enough to make six generous handfuls – smaller than your average fishcake)
- 2 heaping tbsp plain flour (can use GF blend)
- 50-100g leftover hard cheese (I used cheddar)
- 1 egg
- 30g (ish) panko breadcrumbs (can us GF breadcrumbs)
- Vegetable oil
To serve: leftover red cabbage, re-heated, and a couple of tbsp mayo mixed with a tsp of chipotle paste.
- Get your frying pan on a medium-high heat and fill with oil to around 2cm deep. Pile the cold bread sauce into your mixing bowl, add your flour and grate in your cheese. Give everything a good mix until it’s holding together like a slightly moist dough – if it’s still very sticky, add a bit more flour until it’s holding together well enough to be shaped.
- Line up your two shallow bowls. Crack an egg into the first one and whisk it up with a fork – you can add a splash of milk to thin it out a bit, but water is also fine. Pour your breadcrumbs into the second bowl, and lay the piece of greaseproof/foil on the end of your assembly line. It’s now time to bread your bon-bons**. Taking roughly 1/6th of the mixture, roll it between your hands and then cover in the egg. Move to the breadcrumbs, ensuring it’s thoroughly coated on all sides, then transfer to the paper/foil. Repeat with the remainder of the mixture. Now wash your hands, because you’re going to look like you have an exotic skin disease.
- Time to fry! Your oil should be hot by now, but if you want to check you can drop in a sprinkling of the breadcrumbs – it should hiss a little and the crumbs will start to brown fairly quickly, but without too much spitting oil. Carefully lower the first three bon-bons into the oil with your chosen metal implement, then press down on the top of each one so that they’re slightly flattened. Cook for 3 minutes on the first side, until you can see the brown creeping up the sides, then flip and cook for a further 3 minutes on the other side. You can help them along by spooning some of the hot oil carefully over the edges of each bon-bon, but this is completely optional. Once browned on both sides, remove from the oil and place back onto the paper/foil, and repeat the process with the remaining bon-bons.
- To serve, re-heat your red cabbage in the microwave (or on the hob if you’re fancy), and divide between two bowls. Place three crispy bon-bons on top of each pile of cabbage, and top with a few good drizzles of the chipotle mayonnaise. Dig in!
I’ll be coming at you with some more recipes from leftovers soon – I still have an unholy number of Brussels sprouts in my fridge, which is a bit daunting.
What are your favourite things to make with leftovers? Do you just chuck yours in the bin out of abject terror? Are you struggling with one ingredient in particular? Let me know! I love a challenge.
*Isla keeps referring to the days before New Year as “the perineum of the year”, which is both accurate and disgusting.
**I’d bread your bon-bons.