– for Leftovers! Dishes so Divine You’ll Cook them ALL the Time…
Dull as dishwater, dried, devoid of Christmas sparkle turkey. Could anything be worse? The children hardly partook in the giant bird you (like all of the rest of the panic shopping yuletide consumers) decided to add to your trolley. And at most, the grow ups nibbled at a couple of slices.
So now you are left with a lot of excess meat and little inspiration as to what to do with it. The idea of re-creating withered roast dinners smothered with gravy to disguise the chewiness hardly floats anybody’s festive boat.
Which is why I am here to inspire you! Because there IS another way to make use of those boring leftovers. There are in fact 5 ways to transform your tired turkey trimmings into meals so mouthwatering you’ll wish it was Christmas every week. Well, minus the madness and preparations…
Cooked turkey leftovers (enough to yield a decent portion for 4 semi-hungry grown ups)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cloves cardamom
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 finely chopped onions
2 cans tinned chopped tomatoes
fresh coriander to garnish (optional)
lime wedges (optional but gives the curry a great zing when the citrusy juices are squeezed over prior to digging in).
1: In a large pan heat the oil gently and then add the cumin, cloves and cardamom. Cook for a couple of minutes.
2: Add the ginger and stir everything until it turns a golden brown.
3: Next add the chopped onion and stir until they too have turned golden brown.
4: Add the remaining spices, stir and then finally add the chopped tomatoes.
5: Pour the 100ml of water into the mixture and simmer until your curry has visibly thickened, finally add the turkey (small pieces are best for quicker and safer re-heating).
6: When everything is cooked through (20 minutes ideally), take off the heat and serve with rice, a nice wedge of lime and a garnish of corainder.
You can’t go wrong if you serve this with a festive, refreshing G&T either…
Serves 2 hungry people/4 for a light lunch
200g leftover turkey, cooked and shredded finely
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 sticks of celery, chopped finely
1 small onion, chopped finely
75g frozen peas or green beans
Salt and black pepper
175g Butternut squash, peeled and cubed
300g Sweet potato, peeled and cubed
Handful of semolina
Handful of Parmesan
Knob of unsalted butter
Glug of olive oil
1: Put the oven at 200°C. In a large pan pour the tomatoes and approximately 300ml of water.
2: Next add the onion and celery. Bring it all to the boil. Turn the heat down again and let everything simmer for about 5 minutes.
3: Add the turkey and simmer gently for 10-15 more minutes with a stir now and then. Then take the pan off the heat, stir in the frozen veg of your choice, season with a little salt and pepper as well as a good dash of Worcestershire sauce for zing.
4: Pop everything into an ovenproof dish.
5: Now for the mash: cook your butternut squash and sweet potato in boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. Drain very well to avoid wet mash!
6: Place the drained vegetables back into the pan, add the butter and mash until you have a consistency that makes you happy. Add this to the ovenproof dish to make a nice topping for your turkey ‘filling’ and then sprinkle with semolina and Parmesan plus a healthy glug of olive oil. For an extra punch, I like to use a chili infused variety.
7: Bake 30-40 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving – it’ll be piping hot – and mmm; dive in.
Award-winning Turkey Sarnie
There’s nothing too complex about this beauty! But first you will need…
Cold leftover turkey
Your favourite bread – fresh (or a toasted pitta pocket!)
1: Shred some cold turkey and put to one side in a bowl
2: Carefully (because melted, stringy cheese can be VERY hot) melt some Brie. The best ways are either a quick – medium temperature – blast in the microwave, or a small frying pan over a low heat.
3: Cut your bread into slices (or if you’re going the pitta pocket route, toast it and then gently make your pocket… these can be super steamy and hot, so again, watch the fingers!) and lightly butter each piece, one side per slice only. No need for butter with the pitta…
4: Now arrange your turkey on one side of the bread, gently add the melted Brie and then a good dollop of cranberry sauce. The latter must be cold from the fridge. And put the other slice of bread on top. Press down firmly – and who cares if it all squidges out? That’ll be the perfect excuse to tear off another hunk of bread to play mop up.
A marriage made in Boxing Day heaven!
Ideally, if you are a dab hand at making your own homemade stock using the turkey carcass, do just that. The taste will be incredible as a base for this soup. But if not, shop bought will do just fine. And there are many supermarkets stocking this now. The better the quality, the better the taste – in general. So go all out. It is still just about Christmas after all.
My Simple Stock method is below in case you need any pointers:
1: Remove all of the good and edible meat and then plonk the carcass (not the most enchanting of actions, I know!) into the biggest pot you can find and completely cover it in cold water.
2: Bring it almost to boiling point and cook for a good two hours – you may during this time wish to ladle off any film that rises to the top!
3: Next get chopping: celery, carrots and onions make for an ideal accompaniment to turkey, so chop them into large pieces and add to the pot. Simmer for another 3 hours. Ideally, you want the liquid to reduce to about a third of the original amount.
4: Take off the heat and when cool enough to handle, strain the solid bits from the stock. Now throw those away (unless you really want to keep them!) and strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer… or you could use a cheese cloth – it can get quite messy though. Refrigerate overnight. This way the excess fat will show on the surface in the morning so you can discard of that as well!
5: What remains will be a beautiful (jellified) turkey stock.
Now to make your soup… (makes approx 6-8 servings)
1.5 litres turkey stock
1 cup chopped turkey meat, in easy to eat pieces… but you could add more, you will just end up with more of a casserole than a soup.
1 can chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/4 cup red wine
3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 handful fresh basil
125g cooked bacon pieces
1: Pour the olive oil into a really big soup pan (a huge cauldron-like vat of a saucepan will do fine). Then add the garlic and oregano.
2: Over a medium heat, fry until just starting to turn brown. Next add the tomatoes and let everything reduce down for a few minutes.
3: Next add the red wine and tomato paste. Mix well and cook a further 5 minutes.
4: Now comes the star of the show: your turkey stock! Pour it in, stir and let everything simmer once more.
5: Add the turkey meat. Simmer some more and throw in the basil. Season if required.
6: Crumble on the bacon pieces and devour!
Turkey Stir Fry
This is a lovely lightly spiced way to use up the remnants of your Christmas meat. But actually it works perfectly as a year round dish with prawns or chicken too! Serves 4, or 2 very hungry people…
200g cooked turkey
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
a pinch of chili flakes
1 tbsp oil
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
300g glass or fine egg noodles
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
1: Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the spring onions and garlic and stir-fry for about half a minute. The key is to not burn them!
2: Now add the turkey and let everything gently brown.
3: Combine tomato purée, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce and chili flakes in a bowl. Then pour this sauce mixture into your frying pan. It will probably be necessary to add a few drops of water now and then to ‘thin’ the stir-fry out.
4: Add the noodles next and cook according to the instructions on the packet.
5: Sprinkle with coriander and enjoy!
Feel free to add to the pot with your own taste bud tantalising turkey recipes!