At home, we were always taught to use up leftover ingredients and try to squeeze out as many meals as we could. This kind of thinking was a result of limited resources that my family lived with every month. As a young kid, I never complained about not having things that other kids were blessed with and took for granted, and I can honestly say, that my parents always made sure that I had what I needed.
That type of training was reinforced once again many years later when I attended culinary school. All of my teachers were European or European trained, and were masters at recreating meals from little or nothing.
Each and every holiday season, I challenge myself to keep things interesting by coming up with unique ideas to use up those delicious leftovers. Over the years I’ve made Thanksgiving crepes, a delicious frittata that can be served for either breakfast or brunch, a galette, creamy potato soup and those delicious stuffing muffins that everyone makes to go with some butternut cheddar soup. This year was no exception, and just when I thought I had run out of ideas, I opened the freezer and found those large egg roll skins I stashed. What a great idea, who doesn’t like egg rolls?
I really did not have much leftover this year, just a little turkey, some (haricot vert) green beans sauteed with bacon and shallots, some potato salad and a few candied yams. My biggest concern was what to use as a binder for the filling since I did not have any gravy leftover. What I did have was some homemade cream of mushroom soup, and it worked beautifully. Whatever you use, make sure you add enough to keep the filling together, but not so much that it makes the filling runny.
It took about 3 or 4 good tablespoons of the filling to fill the large wrappers and make a nice, substantial egg roll. I laid out the skin, added the filling, brushed a little water on the edges and rolled it up. I got five good sized egg rolls that we enjoyed for lunch with a nice salad.
They were so delicious that I was dreaming about them today. What I did learn about this use of leftovers was that I don’t have to wait for the holidays to use up my leftovers. These were so delicious that I’m going to stock up on egg roll skins and make them more often.
Just one thing to keep in mind — once you wrap them, let them rest for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator to seal the edges and fry them right away or freeze them if you plan to use them the next day. Leaving them in the refrigerator overnight makes everything soft and difficult to handle, and you run the risk of tearing the egg roll dough. Fry a few at a time in moderately hot oil until they are golden brown on both sides. When you are finished, remove them from the oil and place them onto a paper lined tray and lightly salt them while they are still warm.