At this point The Guy is pretty much on his own with his bento making, and he’s branching out in ways that I would have not imagined. I’ve said this before on these pages, but sometimes I think that I’m a bit too stuck in my Japanese ways when it comes to bento composition, so it’s always fascinating to see what people like Mr. Guy who don’t have all that cultural baggage come up with bento-wise.
He does still peruse the pages of this site for inspiration, and that’s how he came up with this very substantial bento. It consists of three elements: meatloaf, sauteed haricots verts or green beans, and mashed potato dumplings with vegetables.
The meatloaf was a ‘mini’ meatloaf that The Guy made a couple of days before, alongside a regular sized one he made for dinner. Here’s a recipe for bento-sized meatloaves - although the ones The Guy madea here are about twice as big as the ones I make usually. You could just cut up a regular sized meatloaf to fit of course. He sliced the meatloaf and then cooked the slices briefly in a mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. The mashed potato dumplings were inspired by the ones in one of the entries for the big Bento&co bento contest a while back. The Guy jazzed up his mashed potatoes by adding cooked frozen peas and beans, chopped up red pepper, and crème fraîche instead of milk and butter. (His reasoning for the crème fraîche is that it stands up better than butter at room temperature. Note that crème fraîche is commonly available here in France, but if it’s hard to get a hold of where you are, try sour cream instead.)
The green beans were blanched for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then sauteed in olive oil.
This is the variation he packed for me. It was a very substantial bento, so hefty in fact that I couldn’t finish it all in one go! I ate the rest for an offbeat breakfast the next day, and it was still very good, even after a night in the fridge. The Guy did finish his, and was very satisfied indeed. I would note that while this bento was great at room temperature, it would be even better if you can warm it up in the microwave.
So, if you know someone who doubts that a bento 1. has to be rice based, or 2. can’t be filling enough, try packing one like this for them!
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