I honestly don't know how I could get through a workweek without a fridge full of leftovers. I rely on leftovers almost every day to give me the fuel I need on my quickie 15-min lunch break at work to get me through the rest of the day. Yeah, a sandwich will do in a pinch, but you can't compare a cold (and often soggy) sandwich that you have to rush around to prepare in the morning before flying out of the house to catch the bus, to warm and comforting leftovers that you simply transferred to a travel container. But what happens when leftovers extend beyond two days? This year for my 24th birthday fiesta at my house I accidentally made enough pulled pork to feed an army! My army of drunk friends just wasn't enough to tackle that immense batch of sweet, smokey, and tender pork. In fact a family dinner with my pulled-pork loving aunt, uncle, and cousins STILL wasn't enough to tackle all that pork the next night. By the third night my parents and I were all pulled porked out. We didn't want that delicious pork to go to waste, but there was no way we could bring ourselves to have pulled pork tacos for yet another night. I needed to transform the pork so that we could still enjoy it, but it could be disguised in such a way that we wouldn't even think about the fact that we were eating the same thing for the third night in a row.
I've been wanting to make a really good shepherds pie for a while now, and with the meat already prepared and a bag full of potatoes on the counter I knew I had found our solution to the pulled pork leftover blues. Following my instincts, I quickly boiled some potatoes, sauteed some onion for extra flavour, pulled out the leftover fiesta salad (two birds one stone!) to add even more flavour and texture, thawed some green peas from the fridge, and pulled out some already shredded cheese. In hardly any time at all I had prepared my family's new favourite comfort food! Warm and fluffy mashed potatoes are topped with salty melted cheddar cheese, resting on a bed of sweet, smokey, and tender pulled pork, with a layer of sweet vegetables in between. What a winner! It's worth it to make a giant batch of pulled pork all over again just to be able to make this fantastic quick dish!
4 large potatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
olive oil for sauteing
2 tbsp butter + more for sauteing
1/4-1/2 cup hot milk
2-3 cups leftover pulled pork
1/2 cup leftover fiesta salad (or a mixture corn and black beans)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed (add more if not adding corn and beans)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Add potatoes to a medium pot filled with cold water. Bring to a boil. When water has boiled reduce to a gentle boil. Continue to boil until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 min.
2. While potatoes are boiling, add a dab off butter and a bit of olive oil to a medium pan set at medium heat. When butter and oil are hot and bubbling add the onions and saute until golden brown.
3. When potatoes are tender, drain water and let potatoes sit in the covered pot for another 5 minutes to dry them out slightly. Add the butter and hot milk and mash using a potato masher until potatoes are fluffy and smooth.
4. Grease a medium-sized glass baking dish. Spread the leftover pulled pork evenly into the bottom of the dish. Top with the sauteed onions, leftover fiesta salad, and green peas.
5. Layer the mashed potatoes evenly overtop and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Broil for about 20-25 minutes to allow pork to reheat and cheddar to melt. If topping begins to burn, cover with tin foil. Serve hot.
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