Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hobo Bags

My Venture into Stylish Leftovers

September 10, 2009:
Thank you to everybody who voted for a permanent name for this recipe. If you read my blog earlier this week, you probably saw that I temporarily named this recipe "Bindbeggobo Bags". I then asked my blog buddies to vote on one of three choices for a permanent name. The results of the poll were:

Hobo Bags -- 42% of the votes
Bindles -- 30% of the votes
Beggars' Purses -- 26% of the votes

As such, this recipe will henceforth be called Hobo Bags! Thanks again everyone! You can read the original post below.

* ~ * ~
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

September 8, 2009:
This is a great way to use up leftovers. You could serve these at an elegant dinner party and your guests would never know that you were using up leftovers from last night's dinner.

I have the worst time naming recipes. I put a lot of time and effort into developing recipes and absolutely no time in naming them. I was reading an article recently about poverty during the Great Depression and saw a few people carrying, what I call, "hobo bags." You know, the kind where someone puts his belongings in a handkerchief, ties it to a stick, and carries if over his shoulder? During these tough economic times, that got me to thinking about doing a culinary equivalent. I wanted to use leftovers, which many people look upon disparagingly, but use them in an elegant and inviting way.

After creating this "recipe," I started thinking about what to call it. I came up with three possibilities: Beggars' Purses, Bindles, and Hobo Bags. Beggars' Purses already have a culinary equivalent. They are small, dainty, and are often made with phyllo dough to enclose a filling – which can be sweet or savory. Instead of kitchen twine, they are decoratively tied with edible components such as chives or the green parts of scallions. In this respect, my creation is merely an extension of that concept.

In popular culture, a "Bindle" is the correct name for a cloth or a blanket tied around one end of a stick for carrying items – with the entire array being carried over one's shoulder. Particularly in cartoons, a bindle usually has a polka-dotted or bandanna design. This is truly the mental image I was going for. The problem is that many people do not know the word "Bindle" and, therefore, this name might be lost on many who later see this recipe.

Hobo Bags also conjure up the image of what I am going for. It might be a good choice for a name but it is also the name of a style of purse that is still popular today. Gucci, Coach, and others have competing looks for these designer bags. In today's world, therefore, more people may associate "Hobo Bags" with designer purses rather than their more traditional (and certainly, more humble) definition.

So what should I name this creation? That's where you come in. Today, I am experimenting with a "poll widget" that will allow you to vote for one of the above choices. You all, therefore, will decide the name! In the right column of my blog, you will see a poll section that will only be visible today and Thursday. Vote and let me know which name your prefer. I'll share the results on Friday when I post my next recipe. Thanks for your help – and happy voting!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Hobo Bags
(Printable Version)

1 Refrigerated Pie Dough
1 wooden skewer
Cooking Twine

1/3 cup or so of cold, leftover pot roast or brisket, cubed
1/3 cup or so of cooked cubed potatoes or thawed cubed hash browns
1/2 TBSP butter
1/3 cup or so cups frozen mixed peas and carrots, heated but not fully cooked in the microwave
2 scallions (white and light green parts only), minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1/4 cup leftover gravy from a pot roast (or use store bought), cold or room temperature

Preheat oven to 400F. Soak the skewer for 30 minutes. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

While the skewer is soaking, add the peas/carrots, scallions, garlic, a little salt and pepper, and butter to a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and heat for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. If using frozen cubed hash browns, you can throw those in the dish as well but add another 30 seconds or so to the cooking time. After cooking, stir well and set aside until the skewer has fully soaked.

After the skewer has soaked for 30 minutes, place the sheet of pie dough in a small bowl (maybe 5" wide) so that the sides of the dough overhang the edges by a couple of inches. Start by adding about 1/4 cup of the meat to the bottom then add about 1/2 cup of the veggies (peas, carrots, and potatoes) on top of the meat. You should not overfill the bag because you will not be able to close it properly and tie it. Do you still have enough room to fit a little more meat and veggies in the bag? If so, add some more. Add a couple of tablespoons of the gravy to the top and tap the bowl on the countertop to get the gravy to settle. Can you add a little more gravy and still be able to close the bag and tie it? If so, add another tablespoon or two of the gravy. You can even more but an excessive amount of gravy weakens the pie dough and allows it to easily split during baking.

Gather up the sides of the dough and gently squeeze it about 1" from the top. Take about 8" of cooking twine and wrap it around the seal and tie it like a shoe. Trim the twine as needed.

Carefully remove the tied bag from the bowl and place it on the parchment paper. Remove the skewer from the water. I, personally, like to break off several inches from the skewer since I think it is too long for the size of the bag. I'll leave that up to you. Slide the pointed end of the skewer through the dough where you gathered the seam until it just peaks out the other side. Bake the bag for about 30 minutes but start checking after 25. The bag is done when it is golden brown and delicious. This recipe serves 2 but can be easily doubled, tripled, or more depending on the number of people you are feeding.


  1. This looks delicious and I can't wait to try it! It will be great for a cool, Fall evening after getting home from work!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Brenda Marquez

  2. These look wonderful! And had my husband put away the leftovers last night after getting home and eating late I would have had everything I needed today to make these! :(

    ps-I'm still getting the "request could not be processed" every time I try to comment here. It always works on the second try though!

  3. I know! That stupid "Request could not be processed" error is driving me nuts! It's apparently a widespread issue for those using Blogger. Grrrr!

  4. mmmm.... these are now on my menu. Can't wait to try them.
    Found your site via Tasty kitchen and am really enjoying exploring all your wonderful recipes!

  5. these look great!!
    I love these type of "pocket" meals. Do you have a dessert one?? yum.


  6. I do have dessert version of this which I plan to post sometime. It's also really easy to make.

  7. You are so creative, love your site!


A moderator reviews all comments before they are posted. After submitting your comments, please check back in a few hours to see if they were added.

Related Posts with Thumbnails