For me, the most important thing about Christmas is all the glorious grub. From the Christmas Day feast and all those tremendous trimmings, to Boxing day Breakfast, It’s the one time of year when I really get to indulge in loads of fabulous food. I don’t like to scrimp on either quality or quantity, so inevitably there are plenty of leftovers which would be an absolute crime to waste.
Eating Turkey and stuffing sandwiches every day until New Year doesn’t sound very appealing to me, but with a little creativity, and not a lot of effort, it’s easy to turn anything in the fridge into exciting and mouth watering dishes that the whole family will simply adore. Here are my top five Christmas Leftover Recipe ideas that will turn the drab week after Christmas into a culinary adventure. Choose from Christmas Pudding Triffle, Chinese pickled red cabbage and Turkey Stir Fry, Christmas Curry, Christmas Stock and Brussel Sprouts Bubble-and Squeak.
Brussel Sprouts Bubble-and-Squeak
Boxing Day Breakfast is without a doubt my favorite of the year. Bacon, sausages, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes would be parading around a perfectly runny fried egg, slap bang in the middle of the plate, perched on top of the most delectable Bubble-and-Squeak.
Growing up we would always roast far too many potatoes on purpose so we could make bubble-and-squeak for breakfast the next day (for some reason, we never used to worry about leftover sprouts, there were always plenty).
If you’re not having mash with your Christmas dinner, I recommend keeping a few King Edwards back so you can make some especially for this dish, or you’ll find your perfect potato cakes falling apart on the plate.
6-8Roast PotatoesOr as many as you have left over.
200gButtery Mashed PotatoYou might have to make some especially.
100gLeftover SproutsOr whatever you have
50gPlain FlourSeasoned with Salt and Pepper
Oil and Butter for Frying
Chop up your Roast Potatoes and sprouts and mix them with the mash potato.
Add the flour and egg and mix well.
Grab a handful and roll into a ball, then flatten into burger shape.
Melt butter into oil in a frying pan over a low heat.
Fry each patty for about five minutes before turning.
After a further five minutes, each one should be golden brown, texture like sun and ready to serve.
Keyword Brussels sprout, Bubble and Squeek
It’s so important to me to have a good stock that I’ve almost alway got one on the go. I use up leftovers, peelings, even secret plate scrapings (apart from that of Xanthe’s plate, as it tends to be covered in ketchup and snot, yuck!!!).
A good stock will be the base of, and elevate, a myriad of dishes, from soup to spag bol, from gravy to curry. If you know what you are making the stock for, you can flavour it accordingly, if you have no idea you can just make a general stock. The one thing that has really upped my stock game in recent months is the addition of seaweed (check out my umami blog to find out why). I can’t tell you the improvement a small sprig of seaweed makes to the depth of flavour of any stock.
For this simple stock recipe I’m going to assume you’re using Turkey, but it works just as well for any meat or plant based leftovers you might have.
Herbs and Spices for a general stock, stick to things like Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, or flavour according to intended use, or make it Christmassy by adding things like juniper and cranberry)
Use your fingers to thoroughly remove any decent meat from the carcass. Don’t forget that some of the best meat is found on the back of the bird. Keep this in the fridge for sandwiches, cold meats and pickles or to be turned into something else (like the curry or stir fry recipes below)
Break the Carcass up and put it into a large pan along with any left over veg and gravy
Keeping the skin on, roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery and chuck them in along with any herbs, spices, salt and pepper (and seaweed).
Cover with water, put a lid on and whack the temperature up to full.
As soon as it comes to the boil reduce the temperature and allow to simmer for around an hour.
Sieve out the carcass and all the veg and discard.
Return the liquid to a high heat with no lid and reduce by half.
Pour into ice cube trays and allow to cool to room temperature.
Carefully transfer to the fridge. The stock should jellify in a few hours. If it doesn’t don’t worry, it just hasn’t reduced enough. You could reduce it further, or just use it in liquid form.
It should last a week in the fridge, or three months in the freezer
This is a fantastic thing for the day after Boxing day when you’re fed up with roast dinners and cold meats. You want something different, something exotic and something that will warm you up from the inside. What you don’t want is something that is too complicated or messy. I have simplified my normal curry recipe so that it can all be done in the roasting dish you cooked the bird in (don’t even think about cleaning that dish beforehand!) Enjoy with wild rice and homemade naan (or Uncle Ben’s and bread and butter).
Fresh Root GingerThumb Sized, peeled and finely diced or grated
ChiliesAs many as you can handle, chopped
4-5Large Cloves of GarlicCrushed
Cardamon PodsHalf a Dozen or so
1tbspGround Coriander Seed
1tbspGround Cumin Seed
1tbsp1 tbsp Ground Turmeric
A Handful of Fresh CorianderChopped
Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉)
Chuck the Onion, Garlic, Ginger and Chilies into the uncleaned Roasting Dish along with the spices, ghee/oil and seaweed (if using), give it a good mix and cover with tin foil before placing in the oven for 45 minutes.
Mix in the Tomato Puree, followed by the Turkey, Veg and then Stock, giving it a good mix.
Whack it back in the oven for another 45 minutes, stirring it occasionally and adding a little water if necessary.
Whack in the Yogurt and Coriander before serving
Keyword Christmas, Curry, onepan, Turkey
Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage and Turkey Stir Fry
Red Cabbages are big. In the Kitchen Table Revolution we pickled one in spiced red wine and cider vinegar and found that we had jars and jars of the stuff. Not only does the fruity sharpness really compliment a Christmas dinner, but is begging to be used in Chinese ‘sweet and sour’ cooking, so none is going to waste.
This simple Stir Fry can be knocked up in minutes and is a great way to use up any leftover meat and veg and a perfect for lifting you out of those post Christmas blues.
400gLeftover TurkeyYou can bulk this out with Chicken, Pork or Tofu if required.
Root GingerThumb Sized, Grated.
3tspChinese 5 spice
1CupPickled Red Cabbageor how ever much you have
Any other leftover veg
Any fresh veg you have lying around, like carrot, broccoli stalk, frozen peas, pak choi
1tspsesame seeds (optional)
Chopped Red ChiliesAs many as you can handle
Salt and Pepper to season
Ground nut oil for frying
Cooked Noodles of your choice
Mix together the Garlic, Ginger, Chilies, 5 Spice, Soy sauce and Honey and marinade the leftover Turkey and veg, including the pickled red cabbage, for about 15 minutes.
Using the oil, gently fry the onion in a wok or frying pan until soft
Chuck in the marinated Turkey and veg and stir up for five minutes
Add the fresh veg and cook for a further five minutes
Add the Noodles and serve.
Keyword Leftovers, Red Cabbage, Stir fry, Turkey
It’s a few days after Christmas and you open the fridge to see what you can snack on. The leftovers of the leftovers are dwindling and all that is left is an upside down bowl right at the back. You peer inside. It's the rather fantastic Christmas pudding you made as a family on that ‘Stir it up Sunday’ back in November. It was delicious, but enormous. Everyone was so stuffed they could only manage a mouthful each and there was plenty left over.
It doesn’t seem right to tuck into it right now. Something this magnificent ought to be shared. Hang on a sec, you think, New Year is coming up. This would be a great thing to have at the party. But I can’t turn up at Jackie and Steve’s with this half eaten mess. I know I’ll make a trifle! Everyone loves a trifle.
Dried fruit (Raisins and Sultanas and the like), soaked in Brandy
1 Pint of Mulled Cider
1 Sachet of Gelatin or Agar Agar
Ready made Custard (You can make it yourself if you can be bothered)
½ Pint of Double Cream
Squidge the Christmas Pudding into the bottom of a large Trifle Bowl and soak in Brandy (If you don’t have a trifle bowl, just use a bowl).
In a Pyrex Jug, mix the Gelatin/Agar Agar into the Mulled Cider (infuse spices like cloves, cinnamon, allspice, star anise as well as orange zest into some good quality cider).
Pour ⅓ over the Brandy soaked Christmas Pud, and put this into the fridge for an hour. Have a glass of Mulled cider (sans gelatin) while you wait.
Cover the Christmas Pudding with dried fruit and the rest of the Mulled Cider Jelly, let this set in the fridge for a further 2 hours.
Once the jelly has set, mix a little (or a lot) of brandy with the custard and pour on top. Put this back in the fridge to set (although the alcohol might stop this from happening, so don’t worry too much)
Whisk the cream until you have soft peaks and cover the (not so) set custard, making it as beautiful as you can.
Be very proud of yourself.
Keyword Christmas Pudding, Trifle
And there you have it, before you know it the Year will be New, you and Jules Holland will have sung ‘Ald Lang Zine’ And Jackie and Steve will have hidden in the garden with the bowl of trifle and two spoons. You can relax in the knowledge that you have spent the last week eating the very best food imaginable and at the same time doing your bit for sustainability.