Ideas for leftovers are everywhere – how best to resurrect the beast (Our beast was half a crown cooked with goose fat – counter-intuitive I know, but utterly delicious) whilst making it seem joyously fresh and exciting and tempting to everyone’s somewhat jaded palates. I rather take the line with Jay Rayner and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall that there is very little unimproved by frying in hot butter and I would apply it to turkey too. I’m really not that keen on cold meat, apart from rare beef, so it’s a practice I’ve taken to with enthusiasm.
Frankly, the best bit – of course – is the turkey sandwiches afterwards. There must absolutely be stuffing: even Paxo’s rather bullying sage & onion has its place here and I reheat my turkey (look away now if this makes the more salmonella-paranoid of you squirm) either in a good knob of butter in the frying pan or cut into thin slices and covered with a little chicken stock/leftover gravy and some knobs of butter in a dish in the oven. Make sure it’s piping hot, though. I also used to adore – God, it sounds revolting, but I truly loved it and so pass it on now – sandwiches made with hot turkey and stuffing and a good squirt of salad cream. Makes a change from mayo which is really only useful to lubricate the bread rather than add much in the way of flavour.
Boxing Day isn’t Boxing Day proper without bubble & squeak with Worcestershire sauce and however many types of chutneys and pickles you can fit on the plate. However, this year, having gorged on my mother’s B & S on Boxing Day, we still had our leftover veg waiting for us, as well as quarter of a can of chestnut puree from the stuffing. Reader, I made a Bubble & squeak soup, nicked from a recipe I saw from dear old Nigel Slater and adapted and it was luscious.Use whatever veg you have to hand.
Chop an onion and some celery and sweat in butter, then add a sliced leek. Toss in your leftover cooked veg and add stock to cover, then stir in the chestnut puree. Simmer until it tastes mingled – maybe 20 minutes – and throw in a handful of greens, leftover or fresh – for the sprouty taste – and cook for a further 5 minutes or so. Blend until smooth – or at least not lumpy and ladle into deep bowls. I had some stuffing and did as he suggests, cubed it and added to the soup before serving.
You might also consider making a Keema – a curry made with a base of sliced onion and garlic, garam masala, ginger and cumin with the chopped meat, peas, spinach, a can of tomatoes and a little water and left to simmer until thickened and shiny.
And don’t forget the pasta sauces made with the leftover cream (why do we insist on buying those mountainous pots of cream – what do we use it for?), turkey, bacon and mushrooms – ridiculously rich but comforting if the weather’s a bit dreich and drear.