‘It’s beginning to look a lot like –’ Boxing Day! Yes, after the excesses and belt straining of Christmas Day we’re ready to continue the tummy filling and dining fit to collapse the sturdiest of tables. The turkey seems to have got through Christmas Dinner almost unscathed; well it has, considering the amount that is left. Every year there’s usually more than enough left to feed the family for days afterwards and if your tradition isn’t to do a second Christmas Dinner with the turkey leftovers then perhaps you need some inspiration for something a little different.
Turkey is versatile and can replace chicken in many recipes particularly soups and stews. If you intend to keep some for more than a couple of days you are best off freezing suitable portion sizes now then thawing completely before using in a recipe. You don’t want your last Christmas present to be food poisoning!
We’re not talking turkey sandwiches here or are we? These are a lovely, quick meal and moist from wrapping mozzarella-daubed turkey pieces in Parma ham. Garnishing with basil leaves gives it that finishing touch. Lip-smackingly tasty.
Leftover Turkey and Stilton Pies
Individual pies are the order of the day with this recipe. Blue Stilton cheese sales are up 25% this December and these pies could be where yours is heading. Puff pastry tops suit these better than shortcrust and it’s more than acceptable to use shop-bought pastry. Puff pastry is much trickier to make than shortcrust. Chunks of turkey, diced sweet potato and Stilton are conventional Christmas ingredients given an indulgent twist.
This is a very quick and easy meal to prepare and has a welcome, minimal amount of washing up to do afterwards. Adding some turkey pieces, mushrooms, onion and cream to a pan then finishing with a good wholegrain mustard and black pepper for seasoning gives you a flavoursome meal cooked in 20 minutes.
Turkey and Cranberry Ring
Who could resist the hearty food proffered by a buxom, happy, rosy-cheeked lady? Well, she doesn’t come with the dish but a few mouthfuls of this turkey and cranberry ring will make you smile too. The trick is not to completely enclose the filling, you want to see the delicious turkey and cranberries in its gruyere sauce oozing out.
It’s almost a tradition in itself – the turkey curry is fast becoming the meal to make with the leftovers. The trick is to get that spice blend spot on, especially for family members who like it mild or hot. For this dish it’s the combination of turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and chilli powder that are essential to get top marks from your family or guests.
Turkey Stir Fry
Before you reach for a jar of shop-bought stir fry sauce, give this recipe a proper try. A sauce made from orange juice and soy sauce in a paste of cornflour added to the blend of ingredients really brings this dish to life. With only a couple of tea spoons of oil this stir fry is a very healthy option after the excesses of the previous day.
Continuing the theme of a light, healthy après-Christmas overkill option, this salad uses diced turkey, cooked rice, sweetcorn, and a generous amount of green pepper, onion, natural yoghurt and a touch of lemon juice to taste.
A Cajun dish given a turkey twist: the celery, peppers and onions are joined by your leftover turkey, chopped chorizo sausage and some prawns. If you prefer a more Creole flavour then there is an option to add some chopped tomatoes. Careful with that Tabasco sauce if you have some sensitive-tongued family members.
It’s another dish full of risk to anyone who isn’t keen on hot tasting meals. The jalapeno peppers can be particularly strong so perhaps this meal should be reserved for those who like their food extra spicy. One essential tip is to make the chilli one day in advance – it always tastes better this way.
The pizzaiola is a simple sauce that is often used as a pizza topping, hence the name. After browning off your leftover turkey pieces in a splash of olive oil you add finely chopped onions, garlic, red and green peppers and sizzle until the onions are translucent. Then it’s time to add your tomatoes and a variety of herbs, spices and condiments to suit.
Most of the recipes here make good use of the fact that turkey is a low fat meat and its versatility means that it can be made into toothsome healthy meals. With these ideas and thoughts I hope you find plenty of inspiration for using your turkey leftovers this Christmas.