My eldest son and my partner usually have lunch in the form of a half circle shaped golden brown bread pocket marked with griddle lines. These will be stuffed with anything from leftover beef stew, chicken curry, roasted vegetables and crumbled cheese, and occasionally something a little random but delicious, like spaghetti bolognese or home made baked beans.
My son prefers handheld lunches, finding than anything that involves a fork or spoon means he’s the last one eating in the classroom while his friends run off to play. For my partner, this means he can sit at his desk and type one handed, lunch in the other hand with little mess or fuss.
This is my go-to portable lunch solution, which only requires the making of my very quick and easy bread dough, and the creative use of whatever leftovers I happen to have around. These are also an awesome picnic food.
The bread dough needs around 1 1/2 hours to rise, so you can make this before doing your dinner preparations or chuck it together when you happen to return home from school pick ups or work. When the dough has risen, you roll out dough circles and fill with leftovers or whatever you happen to have on hand, fold and seal and then you can either fry them off in a griddle pan or bake them in the oven. They can also be frozen either once folded and sealed or after being fried or baked.
550 grams flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons oil
370mls warm water
- In a stand mixer bowl add the flour, yeast, salt and oil. A
- ttach the dough hook and mix it on the lowest setting, gradually adding the warm water. I allow the dough to knead for 8 minutes. Otherwise if you are doing this by hand, you’re going to have to knead it by hand for nearly 3 times as long. I would mix the ingredients in a large bowl until the dough comes together and then knead it for at least 15-20 minutes on a well floured surface until the dough is elastic and silky
- Scrape the dough into a large metal bowl greased with a little oil and cover with a tea towel. On a warm day it takes one hour to rise, on a cold day 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen to twice its original size, scrape it out onto the well-floured bench.
- Divide dough into about 15-18 pieces and roll them out into circles about 5 mm thick
Method and Freezing Instructions
- Fill as many dough rounds as you can with leftovers or other chosen fillings (see below for ideas). If your filling is a bit wet, drain off any excess sauce.
- Each bread round will take between 2-3 tablespoons of filling. Fill on one side and then fold the other side of the circle over, sealing the dough by pressing with your fingers. You can use a fork if you like too.
- Cook off as many as you need for the next day or next couple of days and freeze the rest either once folded and sealed or after frying or baking.
- For frying: heat a griddle pan or frying pan on medium heat and add a teaspoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add a couple of bread crescents at a time and fry on each side for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack before packing into lunchboxes.
- For baking: preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place bread crescents onto lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until bread is golden brown and completely cooked. Allow to cool before packing into lunch boxes.
- Freeze unfilled dough rounds: freeze these between layers of grease proof or baking paper and then keep in a zip lock bag. You can defrost these to use with your leftovers another day.
These little rounds of bread are also delicious unfilled and just fried off in a griddle pan and eaten with anything from stew and soups to dips.
It might seem little crazy, but so many different types of leftovers work in these little bread pockets and are fun and delicious. Here are some leftovers I have used as fillings as well as some other ideas. Haven’t had a complaint out of man or children yet. Think of these as the pizza pockets of old gone a little more international. Using leftovers this way really elevates them to an even more delicious status.
- Butter Chicken
- Beef Curry
- Chicken curry
- Ragu (some sauce drained)
- Pumpkin cooked with miso
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Chicken Cacciatore (bones removed)
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Sliced ham, grated cheese and tomato
- Turkey, swiss cheese and brocolli
- Tuna, tasty cheese and peas
- Leftover dumpling filling
- Vegetarian Samosa Filling
- Green vegetables sauteed with garlic
- Mashed potato, bacon and cheese
- Eggs and bacon (or whatever meat is around) – the trick is to put the filling in the centre, including the raw egg, and close the dough around it without damaging the yolk.