Repurposing High Holiday leftovers


In the pending wake of Rosh Hashanah, hostesses far and wide will be staring at a fridge full of leftovers.

The festive table, opulently laden with traditional foods, is a big part of the holiday celebration. But surplus reheated brisket/tzimmes/roast chicken gets old quickly, and the key to reserving these beloved vittles is to give them a new identity.

Instead of reheating sliced brisket or chicken in the microwave just as it was offered for the holiday dinner, consider chopping the meat up and flavoring it with something different.

Leftover roasted veggies are lovely tossed on a salad, but even better: How about puréeing them into a warming and flavorful soup? Suddenly, these dishes don’t feel like leftovers at all, but fresh, tasty ways to get extra mileage out of your holiday cooking efforts and avoid waste.

The apple/cabbage recipe is not so much a way to repurpose leftovers as a way to use up extra apples. Invariably, I buy a bushel of apples for Rosh Hashanah and, although we snack on them plenty, there is still a glut.

When I attempt to use them up making apple cakes and pies and tarts and breads and muffins, I am the one consuming the majority of these treats. Hence, here’s a savory and healthy way to use the apples that does not significantly expand my girth.

If you market these dishes strategically, your brood may not even realize they’re eating leftovers.

Hoisin Brisket Lettuce Wraps

Serves 2
These make a tasty lunch or supper. If hoisin sauce is not to your liking, you can swap it out for your favorite condiment: soy sauce, toum, salsa, honey mustard, chili sauce, chutney or barbecue sauce.

Lettuce can be traded for tortillas, naan, pita or a roll.

½ pound brisket, cut on the diagonal, and then chopped into small bits
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce (can be omitted)
1 tablespoon water or broth
4 large, crispy lettuce leaves such as romaine or green leaf, rinsed well

Accompaniment/filler options: cooked rice, kimchi, shredded carrots, fresh cilantro, roasted vegetables, sliced peppers, pickled vegetables

Spray a medium-size skillet with cooking spray, and heat the meat over medium low.

Add the hoisin sauce, hot sauce (if using) and stir. Add water or broth if needed to create a saucy texture and coat all of the meat.

Serve with lettuce and fill with desired accompaniments.

Tzimmes Soup

Serves 2
This is the ultimate cheat — the simplest way to disguise leftovers, plus it’s healthy, tasty and

The depth of flavor that tzimmes produces from the roasting and caramelization of the veggies makes for a wonderfully flavorful soup, and the new version is so different in appearance and style that it feels like a totally new dish. It is lovely on its own, but can be enriched with a splash of cream, a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of pesto, a few drops of truffle oil or some chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

Depending on how thick you like your soup, you can vary the amount of broth you use. An immersion blender is the easiest mess-free way to purée this soup, but a traditional blender or food processor works fine — just be careful when puréeing hot liquids.

4 cups leftover tzimmes
3 cups or more of vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the tzimmes in a medium saucepan and add broth almost to cover.

Heat to a simmer and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Adjust seasonings, top as desired or not at all, and serve.


Cabbage and Apples

Serves 2
I am a fan of sautéed cabbage. When cooked in this fashion, the vegetable takes on a sweetness and begins to brown slightly at the edges; the onions caramelize a bit, and the apples add to the sweetness.

This dish is lovely as a bed for salmon, or served with an autumnal roast chicken or turkey, lamb or beef.

2 tablespoons butter or oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
½ head cabbage, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, melt the butter or heat the oil and add the onion, salt and pepper. When it sizzles and is fragrant, and the onions begin to turn golden, about 8 minutes, stir in the cabbage and apples.

Stir occasionally, allowing the mixture to cook evenly and begin to brown, for about 15 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Keri White is a Philadelphia-based food writer.

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