Food and Wine: How to use your leftover roast meat

Pot pies are the very definition of comfort food. Picture: Shutterstock
Pot pies are the very definition of comfort food. Picture: Shutterstock

You spent hours perfecting the flavours of your Sunday roast. The smells had filled the house, ensuring that by the time dinner came around you were ready to fill up on the succulent meat that had been cooking away in the oven.

But no matter how hungry the smells have made you, there are always leftovers and not always enough roast vegetables to make up another roast for a second dinner.

When it comes to giving leftovers a culinary makeover, the list of things you can cook up can be endless.

Wraps with hummus, Greek yoghurt and salad can recreate some left over lamb into a lunch good enough to make your coworkers envious. And adding some salsa to roast chicken can see a new addition to taco Tuesday.

These are just some of the ideas you can take with you for your next post-roast dinner.

Pork pot pie

Pot pies are the very definition of comfort food and are a great option for the winter months. They're like a hug for your tastebuds.

The filling is super easy to create, plus, using your leftover roast pork will bring an added depth of flavour as well as making things easier, which is always a good thing.

The classic-style flavours in the sauce and vegetables also means this would work for pretty much any type of leftover roast meat. If you were going to use leftover roast chicken, it may even pay to add in one to two leeks as well, to turn it into more of a chicken and leek pie.

For those who have invested in the pie maker craze which has taken the country by storm, this could easily be converted for that.

Makes 2 pies


Puff pastry, at room temperature

4 tbsp butter

1/2 brown onion

1 stick of celery, sliced

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

Pinch dried oregano

Pinch dried thyme

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 vegetable stock cubes

2 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp dry white wine (optional)

250g cooked pork (cut into cubes)

1/2C snap peas

Salt and black pepper


Step one: Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add two tablespoons of butter and swirl to melt. Add onion, celery, carrot, and herbs. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until vegetables are fragrant. Stir in garlic and cook one minute longer. Scoop vegies into a bowl.

Step two: Completely dissolve stock cubes in warm water. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking steadily, for four minutes. Increase heat to medium and whisk in stock. Continue whisking until sauce begins to bubble and is quite thick.

Step three: Stir in optional wine and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cooked vegetables, snap peas and pork. Spoon into two large oven-proof bowls or ramekins or one small casserole dish.

Step four: Place puff pastry over the dish and cut to size. Pierce with a knife to vent and bake for about 40 minutes or until crust is browned.

Step five: Remove from oven. Cool slightly and serve.

Lamb ragu

With ragu being a meat-based pasta sauce you can use anything including veal, beef, pork, fish or poultry. Picture: Shutterstock

With ragu being a meat-based pasta sauce you can use anything including veal, beef, pork, fish or poultry. Picture: Shutterstock

Some slow-cooked ragu recipes, including one which uses beef brisket from Donna Hay, will see you roast the meat for a couple of hours with the rest of the ingredients in the oven. Others will slow cook the meat, with the sauce, in the pan for up to six hours.

So if using leftover roast meat is not a quicker option, I don't know what is.

This particular recipe uses lamb but, with ragu being a meat-based pasta sauce you can use anything including veal, beef, pork, fish or poultry.

If you don't have any leftover meat by still hankering for some quick ragu, mince or sausage mince can also be used.

Serves 4


2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 stick of celery, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

600g cooked lamb leftovers chopped into bitesize pieces

400g (1 tin) of diced tomatoes

300ml chicken stock

Fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

250g pappardelle

Parmesan to serve


Step one: Place the olive oil, onion, carrot and celery in a deep frying pan and cook over a low to medium heat with a lid on for five minutes until softened. Stir occasionally.

Step two: Add the garlic and lamb and cook for a further two minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, rosemary, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.

Step three: Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Meanwhile cook your pasta according to packet instructions and drain, reserving a little cooking water

Step four: When the sauce is ready, toss the pappardelle in the sauce along with a little of the cooking water and serve with parmesan cheese to grate on the top.

Beef stroganoff

Use your leftover roast beef to make a beef stroganoff. Picture: Shutterstock

Use your leftover roast beef to make a beef stroganoff. Picture: Shutterstock

Beef stroganoff has been part of Russian cuisine since the 1800s but it wasn't until after World War I that it reached the rest of the world.

And obviously, as the name suggests, traditionally it is made with beef. However, there are now variations across the world. Brazil also makes it with chicken or prawns, as well as the classic beef. In Scandinavian countries you can find it made with sausage. And it takes a simple Google search to find recipes for pork, veal, lamb - you name it - all used as a substitute for beef.

Serves 4


1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

100g mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and black pepper to taste

600g leftover roast beef, cut into strips or chunks

150ml sour cream

2 tbsp parsley chopped (plus extra for garnish)

Rice, mashed potato or pasta, to serve.


Step one: Put olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the onions. Cook for about three minutes until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms and turn up the heat. Cook for a further two minutes.

Step two: When the onions and mushrooms are lightly browned, add the garlic, paprika, salt and pepper, plus the leftover beef and any juices. Cook over a low heat for a further three minutes. Add a splash of water if it gets too dry.

Step three: Add the sour cream and heat gently until it just starts to bubble. Turn the heat off and sprinkle in the chopped parsley. Serve with the rice, mashed potato or pasta.

Chicken and bacon risotto

Roast chicken can be used to make a risotto. Picture: Shutterstock

Roast chicken can be used to make a risotto. Picture: Shutterstock

Sometimes risotto gets a bad wrap for being too difficult to perfect. The truth is, it's not hard it's just time consuming because when it says "stirring very frequently" in the instructions, it means the only time you shouldn't be stirring is when ladling in more stock.

So yes, it is time consuming and may not work for a quick after-work dinner, but it is delicious.

Serves 4


50g butter

85g bacon, diced

1 large onion, finely diced

250g mushrooms, sliced

300g arborio risotto rice

150ml dry white wine

1.5L chicken stock, hot

140g cooked chicken, chopped

50g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve (optional)

120g baby spinach


Step one: Heat 50g butter in a large pan. Add bacon and fry for five minutes over a low-medium heat.

Step two: Stir in one finely chopped large onion and fry for 10 minutes more until the onion is soft but not coloured. Stir in mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring, for five minutes.

Step three: Stir in arborio risotto rice and cook over a medium heat for two minutes until the rice has started to turn translucent. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble away over the heat. Pour in a quarter of the stock and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Step four: Continue cooking, stirring very frequently, topping up with a splash more stock as it gets absorbed - this is best done in three more stages, until the rice is cooked and most of the stock has been absorbed.

Step five: Stir through chicken, warm briefly, then turn off the heat. Stir through parmesan and spinach, cover and let it rest for five minutes. Season to taste and serve with extra parmesan.

Roast pork spring rolls

Who doesn't like spring rolls? Picture: Shutterstock

Who doesn't like spring rolls? Picture: Shutterstock

Who doesn't like spring rolls?

This a great option if you know you're going to have some leftover roast pork just before having some guests over. Not only will they taste delicious but people will be super impressed.


100g rice vermicelli noodles

1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra to deep-fry

4 spring onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tsp finely grated ginger

1 carrot, grated

3 cups finely chopped cabbage

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 cups chopped leftover roast pork

250g packet frozen spring roll wrappers, thawed

Finely chopped red chillies, in soy sauce


Step 1: Place noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for two minutes, then drain and cool. Squeeze out any excess liquid, and use kitchen scissors to cut into shorter lengths.

Step 2: Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for one minute and then add carrot and stir fry for two minutes. Add cabbage and stir fry for two minutes or until soft. Add soy sauce, pork and noodles to the pan, and toss until evenly combined. Set aside to cool.

Step 3: Lay out one wrapper and place 1/3 cup filling in a nine centimetre-long pile across the lower third of the wrapper. Fold bottom corner up and over filling, then fold in the sides and roll up. Dab a little water at the top corner to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Step 4: Half-fill a large saucepan with extra oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Cook rolls, in batches, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Serve with combined chilli and soy sauce.

Cubano sandwich

Level up your sandwich game with a Cubano sandwich. Picture: Shutterstock

Level up your sandwich game with a Cubano sandwich. Picture: Shutterstock

Sandwiches are always a no brainer when it comes to using up leftover roast meat.

And really, where can you go wrong? When you have some flavourful roast meat and some fresh bread, you near guaranteed to have a delicious lunch.

But that doesn't mean you can't level up your sandwich game. And for those who have leftover pork, Cubano sandwiches may be the key to that.

It's a variation on the classic ham and cheese sandwich, and is popular in Florida, with it obviously originating in Cuba.

Serves 4


500g pork, sliced

500g ham, sliced

1 loaf of Cuban bread (Italian or French baguette would also work if Cuban bread is unavailable)

Melted butter for brushing

American mustard


220g Swiss cheese, sliced

6 dill pickles, sliced


Step one: Heat pan over medium heat. Add ham and pork slices, and cook each side until slightly browned then remove to a plate.

Step two: Butter cut sides of bread then place in the pan, cut side down, for two minutes until lightly browned. Remove onto a clean work surface.

Step three: Spread the bottom of the bread with mustard then layer with pork, ham, then cheese and pickles. Spread the bun tops with mayonnaise then place on the sandwich.

Step four: Butter the bottom and top of the outside of the baguettes. Heat pan over medium-high heat.

Step five: Place the sandwich on pan, top with a sheet of baking paper then weigh it down with a heavy skillet or pot. Cook for three minutes on each side. The bread should be dark golden brown and crispy, and the cheese should be melted.

Step six: Let sandwiches stand one minute before cutting in half and serving immediately.

This story How to lift your leftovers game first appeared on The Canberra Times.