I had a huge quantity of leftover grilled country-style spareribs from the Fourth, so I've been fashioning a variety of leftover entrees. Last night's dinner finally disposed of the last of them, and although the result -- a hearty hash -- seemed more fit for winter than a hot evening in July, there were no complaints from any of the seven of us (two humans, five cats) around the table.

Some of the subtlety in this one came from having access to leftovers -- smoky grilled sparerib bites and the reserved cooking marinade, which, defatted, had turned into something remarkably like an aspic -- but neither item would be critical to replicating this as a more standard-issue hash.

The greatest amount of preparation time was involved with reducing everything to similar-size dice, but once I got into the zone, it went quickly, and the entire dinner took only about an hour, including slicing, dicing and cooking time.

I started by slicing two large garlic cloves thin and cutting 1/2 medium onion, 1/2 medium green pepper, 1 large carrot, 2 stalks celery and one jalapeno (seeds and inner ribs removed) into dice of roughly equal size, maybe 1/4 inch. Fired up a large saute pan with a splash of olive oil, and first lightly browned the garlic slivers with a shake of dried-red pepper flakes. Add the onions, green peppers and jalapemoes, continue cooking just until they're getting translucent, then add the carrots and celery. Stir in about 1/4 cup water (and, optionally, a tablespoon of a rich, concentrated marinade left over from cooking ribs in foil with a marinade of garlic, soy, Bourbon and brown sugar); cover, and let simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it's not sticking), while continuing the slice-and-dice.

Dice about 6 ounces of leftover grilled spareribs (or any leftover cooked meat, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, goat ... ) and add the dice to the simmering vegetable mixture, adding a little water if necessary to keep it from sticking. Cover again and continue the slice'n'dicing ...

Dice about 1/2 pound potatoes -- I used baby new potatoes with their skins, but you could substitute bakers; you could also use some turnips or rutabagas, which would turn this into a vague approximation of Cornish pasty filling. Add the potatoes to the simmering mix, add a little more water if it's looking too dry, and continue cooking. The potatoes, even though they're tiny dice, will need at least 30 minutes to cook, as they're basically steaming rather than boiling.

Leave it alone for a while, stirring and checking the liquid content occasionally.

About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Make up a little Secret Flavor Mix: Two tablespoons tomato paste, two tablespoons Bourbon, and 1 teaspoon Datil Do It or any other hot-sweet-fruit hot sauce), and stir it in. Continue cooking, monitoring the liquid to keep it at a good hash consistency -- you don't want it to dry out completely or to become soupy.

Serve when done. It's pretty much a meal in itself, although crusty bread and a salad wouldn't be amiss. It could also be rolled in tortillas, stuffed into pitas, or baked in a pastry shell to make pasties.

This didn't have much of any single ingredient, but by the time it all came together, it made a pretty good quantity, more than enough for two plus cats with leftovers for lunch today.

It made a stunning match with a Rioja, a modestly priced but flavorful red wine from Spain, and it would also be fine with a fruity, hoppy microbrewery ale.