Be honest, is it the turkey and trimmings that really does it for you, or pinching a cold roast potato from the kitchen hours later? Whether you plan to punctuate the festive feasting with a lighter dish or two, or go whole hog and worry about the waistline in January, here’s a bit of inspiration for making the most of whatever you have left.
Roast meat with sprouts, ginger and black beans
Serves two as a hearty main course, four as part of a larger meal
Uses: pork, beef, lamb, goose, chicken, turkey, cockerel, capon (basically anything but chipolatas), gravy, sprouts
2tbsp fat (from your roast if possible, groundnut oil if not)
10 cold, cooked sprouts, shredded
Light soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
350g roast meat, pulled or sliced into bite sized chunks
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 heaped tbsp fermented black beans, soaked and drained
1tsp caster sugar
1tbsp sriracha sauce / hot chilli sauce
Rice to serve.
1. In wok, heat the fat over a high heat. Add the shredded sprouts, stir fry for three minutes to brown a little then move them to one side of the wok.
2. Tip the chilli, garlic and ginger into the space cleared in the wok and fry until fragrant.
3. Add 1tbsp soy sauce and mix the sprouts and aromatics together in the wok.
4. Add the meat, spring onions, black beans, gravy, sugar and sriracha/chilli sauce to the pan, stir to mix well, and then turn the heat down to a simmer for 3 minutes. Taste, add more soy sauce if necessary (remember that the beans are quite salty), and serve immediately with warm sticky rice.
Simple Italian salad
Serves two as a main course, four as a side
Uses: roast meat, nuts (hazelnuts and pistachios work well)
100g mixed salad leaves
150g turkey, chicken or cockerel breast, sliced or pulled into bite size pieces
25g pistachio nuts
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinch sea salt
30g finely grated parmesan
Combine the salad leaves, cooked meat, nuts, olive oil and half the Parmesan in a large bowl and mix well. Add a little sea salt and mix well, taste and add more salt if necessary. Place on your serving dish and garnish with the remaining Parmesan.
Stock and soup
Uses: carcass from roast turkey, chicken or cockerel, any leftover meat
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 star anise
3 bay leaves
Put all of the ingredients into a stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skim off impurities, then immediately turn down to a low simmer and cook for three hours. Strain (don’t pour the stock down the sink!) and chill. The fat will provide a protective layer so that it keeps better in the fridge, and can be easily removed once chilled.
Reduce the stock by two thirds. Season with salt and a little miso paste (optional). Place chopped spring onions, chilli and coriander in a bowl, add leftover meat (if you have any) and serve with lime wedges and fish sauce to let people flavour their own.
Christmas dinner hash
Uses: any roast meat, ham, sprouts, cabbage.
The essentials are potatoes (roast or mash) and something green (sprouts or cabbage). Fry the cabbage in lots of butter until you start to get crispy bits, then add leftover potatoes, season with salt and pepper and squish everything down with a masher. Cook for five minutes to let the bottom get golden brown, then break it up and do the same again (you can add a bit more butter if you like). After the second five-minutes, break the hash up again and add some chopped leftover roast meat or ham, a good shake of Lea and Perrins and a couple of tablespoons of gravy. Mash everything down again, five for a final five minutes, then slide onto a plate, top with a fried egg and grab the tomato ketchup (or brown sauce).
Didn’t get crispy skin the first time around? There are often areas on a turkey, chicken, capon, duck or goose that don’t go super crispy the first time around (or get left on the legs for the next day). Here’s what to do.
1. Heat the oven to 180°C
2. Peel off the skin, and shred it into ribbons.
3. Sprinkle the skin with sea salt and caster sugar, and toss to coat.
4. Place the ribbons on a baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes, until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper immediately, then eat.
Roast potato poutine
Sorry Quebec, we’re stealing your junk food. While many of us Brits chow down questionable kebab meat after a few light ales, Canadians prefer to top their chips with gravy and cheese curds – we have to say, we’re with them.
If you find yourself with the golden unicorn of leftover roast potatoes (no, us neither), then this is the way forward. Warm them in a dish in the oven while you heat some leftover gravy and any scraps picked from your roast. Pour the gravy over the potatoes, add shredded mozzarella and anything you fancy from the cheeseboard, and bake until the cheese melts. Note to everyone: make double roast potatoes this year.
Not a health food. A rich, cheesy gratin using up the rest of your bird and the best of your cheeseboard. If you want to go proper dam busters on it, have this with bubble and squeak made with leftover Christmas veg; if you’re going to be bad, you may as well be very bad.
Uses: chicken, turkey, capon, cockerel, cheeseboard, cream, wine (leftover wine?), breadcrumbs.
500g leftover meat (see above), cut or pulled into large chunks
1 clove garlic, peeled
Butter for greasing
For the sauce
2 heaped tbsp plain flour
300ml chicken stock, warm
170ml dry white wine
150ml double cream
120g hard, strong cheese
1tbsp Dijon mustard
1tbsp wholegrain mustard
Handful fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, chives, chervil)
50g hard, strong cheese (comte is traditional, but any hard, strong cheese will work)
1. Heat the oven to 200°C.
2. Grease a large baking dish with butter, then cut the peeled garlic clove and rub the cut side all over the buttered dish. Lay the leftover meat in an even layer in the dish.
3. Now make the sauce. Heat the butter in a heavy-based sauce pan over a low heat, and as it starts to bubble a little, add the flour and stir well. Continue cooking for a minute or two until it has changed colour a little and smells biscuity. Add the warm a little at a time, using a whisk to gradually incorporate it. Add the white wine, cream and a big twist of pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the cheese, mustard and herbs, and simmer for another 5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
4. Pour the sauce over the meat in the baking dish, top with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden.
Fried Christmas pudding
Yes, we’re going there. Slice any leftover pudding into thick rounds, dust in icing sugar, fry in butter and serve with cream or brandy sauce. Have it for breakfast for top marks.