How to Rechauffé food

Rechauffé is the art of using up leftovers, but it is more than digging into the fridge and mixing ordinary leftover meals - it takes more careful planning and is used in many larger hotels and smaller kitchens. The advantages include reducing waste, saving money, and it also saves lots of time. This article will show you how.


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    Plan ahead. If you have purchased more than you would serve in one sitting (such as a large chicken), plan the next meal to use up the surplus chicken. This is the principle behind réchauffé food. It is not taking scraps off the plate.
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    Start with the basics. With washed vegetable scraps that are free of any dirt or mold such as peelings and ends can be used if they are not or poor condition. Here is a range of uses:
    • Brown or red onion skins, as well as beetroot peelings can be used as a natural dye in soups or stocks.
    • Potato peelings can be seasoned with spices and baked until crisp for a low fat snack.
    • Carrot, onion & celery trimmings can be used in stocks.
    • Egg shells (free of any raw egg yolk) are an old fashioned way of clarifying stocks. Simply add them and simmer gently for a few minutes or until clear, skim any egg white that rises to the surface as egg white also helps to trap particles for removal.
    • Most other peelings are really only useful for the compost or the bin.
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    To réchauffé Vegetables - Should you have a range of fresh vegetables for steaming, sometimes it better to steam the whole vegetable (like cauliflower & pumpkin) rather than have raw leftovers that may rot or go stale. You can use the surplus the next day in different ways.
    • For cauliflower, the surplus can be chilled and reused in dishes such as cauliflower cheese, or marinaded in vinegar and spices and used as an antipasto, served in a salad, used in soups or pureed and reheated.
    • Potatoes can be fried, roasted, used in salads, soups or mashed for mash, gnocchi, breads or hash browns & bubble & squeaks.
    • Cabbage can be reused in bubble & squeak, salads, marinaded in juniper berries, salt & vinegar as a sauerkraut antipasto.
    • Pumpkin can be used in scones, breads, soups etc.
    • Carrots can be reheated and served with honey and a little butter.
    • Blanched Green beans can be sauteed quickly in a pan with a little hot butter, chilli or soy sauce, or some fresh chopped herbs. Or served cold in salads.
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    Cooking like this means that you don't have surplus raw ingredients and you can reheat or serve a different way to save time.
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    With surplus boiled eggs, use them in sandwiches, curried eggs, scotch eggs or in salads.
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    With surplus roast, grilled, poached or steamed meat, it can be used in sandwiches, salads, curries, braises, Bolognese sauces, casseroles, soups etc, minced for rissoles, or sliced thinly, marinaded and used as another antipasto snack.
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    Rice can be easily reheated or used in fried rice, pasta can be used hot or cold in salads.
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    Surplus breads can be used for breadcrumbs in a food processor, bread and butter puddings, panades, sliced and baked or fried as croutons or garlic bread.
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    Cakes can be used in trifles, crumbled & mixed into ice-cream (similar to cookie ice-cream), covered with hot stewed fruits or heated with custard etc.
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    Fruits can be cut raw for fruit salads or stewed. Surplus stewed fruits can be served in pies, puddings, with oatmeal and porridge or with ice-cream and custards.
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    Stocks and sauces can be used as a foundation of other sauces, soups or stews. If you have a lot of milk, make a larger batch of bechamel to reuse fresh in a lasagne, some souffle recipes or cauliflower cheese, tuna mornay etc.
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    Surplus raw cream may be used into butter, sauces, custards, ice-cream, baked desserts such as crème brulee or whipped and used in trifles.
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    Planning in advance on ways to use surplus food and reduce waste is the whole goal.


  • Its far more scientific than first meets the eye, in principle its about cooking all of a batch and putting aside what you won't use now for the next meal.
  • It avoids having half a pack of raw vegetables or raw meat lurking in the fridge you'll never use, but if you cook the lot without extra seasonings, you can reheat and serve as good as freshly made.
  • Plan to use things on the next meal so it doesn't become forgotten and therefore wasted.
  • Options are limitless, but don't reuse food that has been heated more than twice.
  • Chill surplus cooked meat as quickly as possible.
  • Wrap or cover all food to be réchauffé with cling film so it doesn't dry in the fridge.


  • Don't heat or defrost anything more than twice as it might not be safe to eat.

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Categories: Basic Cooking Skills | Meal Planning