I’ve had quite a number of emails asking (rather urgently) what food is pictured in the banner photo. And indeed, it’s time I shared our favorite new way to use up leftovers.
This isn’t really a recipe so much as a method that I learned from a friend of our family, Bruce. He calls this tasty dish Chop Block. I have no idea where the name comes from, but the dish is a new favorite. So, here’s how….
- 1 double batch of bread dough (recipe courtesy of my son, Nate) or sourdough pizza dough
- whatever leftovers you can find in the fridge and miscellaneous ingredients like
- chopped onions
- chopped scallions
- whole garlic cloves
- chopped cilantro
- dried tomatoes
- chopped ham, salami, or pepperoni
- chopped olives
- 2-4 c. grated cheese (various types)
Once you’ve made the dough, let it rise for an hour or until it’s doubled in size. Prepare your extra ingredients.
I’ve listed a few ideas of things to go scrounging for. When I say “leftovers” I’ll tell you what leftovers I used the first time I made Chop Block. I had about 1.5 c. leftover White Chicken Chili and about 2 c. leftover sloppy joe meat. The second time I made Chop Block, I used leftovers of some chili that had venison in it. This is what I did with it all.
Split the dough into two parts. Roll one part out into a rectangle that is roughly 8×16 inches. Spread any goopy leftovers down the middle of the rectangle. Sprinkle things like chopped onions and cheese and meat over the top. Fold the two sides up over the center filling and pinch the ends shut.
Once the dough is rolled up, take a chef’s knife and start chopping. Chop about every inch crosswise on the dough roll. Angle the knife and chop diagonally down the length of the roll. Don’t worry if things get a bit messy. It’ll get messier before you’re done.
Using both hands, pick up the pieces of the Chop Block roll and transfer them to a well-greased or pam-sprayed jelly roll pan or 10×16 inch baking dish. The whole idea is to jumble things up a bit. If bits of stuff falls out on the counter, be sure to grab those and put them in the pan. It’ll look a little like this and this:
Let the jumbled Chop Block sit in a warm place in the kitchen for about an hour. This should allow the dough to rise about double. Sometimes during the winter, I’ll preheat the oven to 200 degrees and then turn the oven back off and stick the Chop Block to rise in the oven.
After the Chop Block has risen for about an hour, bake it at 400 degrees until it’s golden brown. It’s very handy to have a quick read thermometer at this point. If you stick it into a part of the Chop Block that is bread and not filling or other ingredients, the temperature should be 180 to 190 degrees.
When the good stuff comes out of the oven, it should look something like these following pictures. And yes, it was every bit as delicious as it looks!
I didn’t take pictures of the Chop Block that I made with the leftover chili, but it looked equally delicious and intriguing. When I serve chop block, everyone pulls off the parts that look yummiest to them. We rarely have leftovers. (Hmmmmmm. That’s probably a good thing because leftovers of leftovers are hard to move even in my house!)
If I didn’t have any leftovers, I might use a little pizza sauce or perhaps my favorite salad dressing as the goopy part. Then I’d add whatever meats or veggies or cheeses that I wanted to include and wrap it all up. If you don’t dare experiment this wildly for dinner, give this a try for lunch. There’s really very little you couldn’t add to Chop Block. So go check out what odds and ends are hiding in the fridge and see what fun you can have!
One last thing….and I hesitate to even mention this because it goes against the grain….but if you are not yet confident with yeast dough, this will also work with the yeast dough you can buy in the freezer section of the grocery store!
PS: As always, my vegetarian friends can make this dish work by leaving out any meats. Obviously vegetarians will have vegetarian leftovers, so that works right there.