IT STARTED OFF as a private indulgence, which also helped tidy up the refrigerator, but under the pandemic there are no private indulgences anymore. When I owed lunch to no one but myself, and when there was a little bit of leftover cooked meat with its jellied-up pan juices in the fridge, I would do this: scrape the fat from the top of the juices into a little frying pan, cover it with a layer of leftover rice, get it heated up, and pour the juices over it. When the liquid cooked down and the rice started getting crispy on the bottom, I'd put the leftover meat on top, sliced up, to warm it through.
Over the past 12 months, with everyone needing lunch every day, it gradually developed into something more. I switched to a large pan, and started adding more things, but the basic rhythm of it was the same. One day, when I put it on the table, the younger child, who was then eight years old, referred to it "clobbed-together rice," as if that were already understood to be its name. He does this fairly often, matter-of-factly: if adults can use a word he's never heard before, and count on him picking it up, then when he needs a word he can just do the same. Immediately, therefore, that was the name of the dish.
(I may or may not have been caught, as some subsequent lunchtime approached, singing "Clob together / Rice now" over the stove.)
All there is to it is this:
Put the fat from leftover meat into a 12-inch nonstick pan and melt it over low heat. Add some olive oil if the fat doesn't generously cover the bottom of the pan. Chop up one shallot or a small onion or something similar. Chop up a stalk or two of celery, with leaves. If you have some shishito peppers you haven't gotten around to cooking, or some that you did cook and didn't finish eating, chop up one or two of them. Dump the chopped vegetables into the pan, salt them, and cook on medium or medium-low heat for five minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until they're softening and sizzling.
Scoop cold leftover rice over the oil and vegetables and flatten it out with your stirring implement until it makes an inch-thick layer filling the bottom of the pan. Stir it around a little to distribute the oil and warm it all up.
Scoop or pour the leftover pan juices over the rice. Stir them into the rice as they liquefy. Let it all start cooking down.
If meat was something slow-cooked in the first place, like lamb shank or pork shoulder, it can go in the pan at this point. If it's from a pork chop or something that shouldn't be overdone, cut it into bite-sized pieces and save it till the end.
Add something else, if you want. Fresh green peas are good. If there aren't any peas, a can of beans is good in a different way. Some leftover cooked greens—chard, collards, that sort of thing—might make sense. Anything else you want to get rid of that doesn't clash with what's in the pan.
Mix the new additions in gently and let it all sit and cook. You can add some more spices to whatever the meat cooked with in the first place, depending on what seems like it would harmonize: cayenne? Paprika? Cumin? Whatever makes sense and doesn't take too much effort.
Dig up part of the rice from the bottom now and again to see if it's getting brown and crispy. If it is, turn it over and let some of the other rice take a turn at the bottom. Keep this up until your hunger or boredom grows stronger than your desire for brown and crispy rice. Then you're done: clobbed-together rice.
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SANDWICH RECIPES DEP’T.
WE PRESENT recipes for sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, by David McKay, Publisher, and now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.
A combination of sweet and savory can be made by putting a thin layer of orange marmalade over ham and seasoning with a little paprika. This sounds uninviting, but it is very good eating.
—Marion Harris Neal, Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes
COLLEGE HILL SANDWICHES
8 tablespoonfuls peanut butter
4 tablespoonfuls lemon-juice
1/4 lb. (1 cup) chopped pecan nut meats
1/4 lb. (1 cup) seeded raisins, chopped
Buttered bread or crackers
Beat the peanut butter with the lemon-juice, add the nuts and raisins, sugar to taste, and enough cream to moisten. Mix well and spread between buttered bread or crackers.
CRAB MEAT SANDWICHES
1 oz. (2 tablespoonfuls) butter
2 tablespoonfuls chopped pimientoes (canned red peppers)
1/2 oz. (2 tablespoonfuls) flour
1 gill (1/2 cup) cream
1 1/2 gills (3/4 cup) stewed tomatoes
1/8 teaspoonful baking soda
1/2 lb. (2 cups) diced cheese
1/2 pint (1 cup) cooked crab meat
1 teaspoonful salt
1/2 teaspoonful pepper
1/2 teaspoonful mustard
Melt the butter, add pimientoes, and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly. Add flour and stir until blended; then stir in the cream and strained tomatoes, to which has been added the soda. Now add the cheese, and when melted, the egg slightly beaten, seasonings, and crab meat. When heated, spread between slices of buttered toasted bread. Cut into desired shapes and serve.
Chopped green pepper may be substituted for the pimiento, and canned tuna fish or canned crab meat for the cooked crab meat.
CURRIED EGG AND OYSTER SANDWICHES
1/2 pint (1 cup) chopped hard-cooked eggs
1/2 pint (1 cup) cooked oysters
Salt to taste
Curry powder to taste
1 teaspoonful onion-juice
Chop the slightly cooked oysters with the eggs, add seasonings to taste, and moisten with cream. Spread between thin squares of buttered bread.
If you decide to prepare and enjoy one of these sandwiches, kindly send a picture to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe MacMarmalade, creative director. If you enjoy Hmm Weekly, please let a friend know about it! If you're reading this because someone forwarded it to you, we invite you to sign up for a copy of your own right now. Thanks for reading, and any time you want, email us at email@example.com.