50+ Brilliant Ideas for Christmas Leftovers

I have just read in Men’s Health Magazine (in an article that happens to mention me!) that we waste about a fifth of our food. That is surpassing ridiculous.


As behoves the author of The Leftovers Handbook I feel I should write a post about what to do with all the lovely Christmas leftovers. So here goes ...

Christmas Leftovers Inspiration
Handy pinnable image - go for it!

What do do with a Collection of Leftovers

~   Christmas Pie – turkey, stuffing balls, sausage-meat stirred into gravy topped with pastry or mash and baked.
~   Bubble and Squeak.  In short, fry leftover potatoes together with other leftover veggies in a little oil till hot all through and with a crisp crust.  The secret (not really, you can tell anyone) to this is to let everything sit for a while over the heat before disturbing it to allow a crust form. You could add leftover sausage, turkey, ham, stuffing and/or top with a fried egg.
~   Make an Après Christmas Pizza with all the leftovers, leftover bread sauce would make a great alternative to the more usual tomato base here. If you feel cheese is needed then Brie is probably your best bet, together with some leftover cranberry sauce.  Great pizza dough recipe here.

Leftover Turkey

Historically speaking this is the most discussed leftover since the World began. Ideas include …

~   Add shredded leftover turkey to this lovely Alfredo Sauce recipe and toss with pasta or eat on toast.
~   Turkey sandwiches, of course – you can add all sorts of other leftovers to advantage: stuffing, sausage meat, cranberry sauce, etc.
~   Add to stir fries.
~   See here for how to cope with the turkey carcass and scraps of meat attached to it.  The post is about chicken but the info is exactly the same for turkey. With the stock and scraps you can then make …

Chunky Chicken, Leek & Potato Soup – serves 2 generously

turkey carcass and 500 ml turkey stock
1 large leek
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large baking potato

~    Manually strip every last bit of meat from the bones  (there are two particularly succulent nuggets of flesh, known as oysters, on the underside of the chicken), and set the meat aside.
~    Cut off the root end of the leek, remove the outer layer and slice. Clean carefully – see here for how to clean leeks.
~    Cook the leek gently in the olive oil, covered, till soft – about 10 minutes.
~    Peel and slice the potato and add to the leeks. Pour over the chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and simmer till the potatoes are tender.
~    Using a potato masher or fork crush the potatoes into the soup.
~    Taste and season and stir in the reserved chicken pieces.
~    Reheat as needed but Do Not Boil once the chicken has been added or it will toughen.

This soup (which is made using my Seriously Useful Soup Recipe) is delicious with croutons and frazzled prosciutto/parma ham torn into pieces and baked alongside the croutons till crisp. See here for info on Croutonology.


Leftover Gravy

~   This freezes well and, in fact, if you are also freezing some turkey meat it will fare particularly well if you freeze it in the gravy.
~   Spread into turkey sandwiches.
~   Use to sauce pasta together with shreds of turkey and sprinkle with crisply fried stuffing crumbs.
~   Use to enrich soup such as the one above.
~   Add a spoonful to mushrooms on toast.
~   Stir leftover gravy into the soup above or use it in a turkey pie.

~   If your gravy is particularly delicious (and I trust that it is, if not see here for how to make superb gravy) then serve hot as a dipping gravy – maybe alongside the turkey sarnies.

Leftover Stuffing

~   Form into patties and fry till crisp – maybe serve topped with poached eggs!
~   Crumble and fry till crisp then sprinkle onto turkey soup or dice and fry as stuffing croutons.
~   Add to bubbly ‘n’ squeaky type stuff.
~   Add to turkey sarnies, of course.
~   Use as a filling in vegetables – e.g. baked squash, onions, etc.
~   Boxing Day Fritters – roll leftover stuffing into balls, flatten and put a spoonful of cranberry sauce in the middle, reform the ball enclosing the cranberry sauce completely. Dip in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and deep fry till hot, crisp and golden. Eat carefully as the cranberry will be very hot OR, if you’re scared of hot sauce, form the stuffing into cakes, fry till crisp and serve with cranberry sauce.
~   Make stuffing balls or sausage shapes and use instead of real sausages in Toad in the Hole - recipe here.

Leftover Bread Sauce

~  Bread sauce is also good added to turkey sandwiches.

Bread Sauce Stuffed Mushrooms

Remove the stems from large open mushrooms and brush inside and out with oil. Fill with the bread sauce, sprinkle with soft fresh breadcrumbs and bake at 400ºF/200ºC/180C fan/gas 6 for 15-20 minutes till hot through and the top is crisp and golden. These are extra good drizzled with balsamic glaze.

Leftover Brussels Sprouts

~   Add to bubble & squeak.
~   Slice and gently reheat in bacon fat together with crispy bacon pieces.
~   Slice and reheat in butter then add a little cream and freshly ground black pepper.

Leftover Cranberry Sauce

~   Cranberry sauce is great in a bacon and/or turkey sandwich together with some Brie.~   Add a spoonful or two to vinaigrette (vinaigrette recipe and then some here) dress a festive salad.
~   Stir into yogurt or porridge for breakfast.
~   Add to fruit pies and crumbles.
~   Warm gently in a little orange juice as a sauce for pancakes or ice cream or even as a glaze for ham.

~   Swirl through cake, pancake or muffin batter.

Leftover Christmas Pud

~   Fry thick slices of leftover Christmas Pudding in butter to reheat luxuriously. Serve with custard, cream or ice cream or, if it is still the season of goodwill, all three.
~   Crumble and heat with some or all of the following: brandy/rum, butter, orange juice, ginger syrup, brown sugar etc. for a delicious ice cream sauce.  OR
~   Mix a similar goo into softened vanilla ice cream and refreeze.
~   Make the best Christmas Pudding Ice Cream I know - recipe here.

Christmas Pud Muffins

1 tablespoon brandy
100g leftover pud
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g soft light brown sugar
40g softened butter

~   Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC/160°C fan/gas 4.
~   Mix all the ingredient to a lumpy batter.
~   Divide between 8 muffin cups.
~   Bake for 10-15 minutes till ready.


Leftover Brandy Butter

~   Spread on hot toast, crumpets etc.
~   Fry Christmas Pudding in it as above.

Leftover Mincemeat

~   Mix into softened ice cream together with a little (and I do mean a little otherwise the ice cream will be too soft) brandy and refreeze. Actually, you can use crushed mince pies with this, the pastry adds texture.
~   Add to apples and make a Christmas Crumble.
~   Spread onto pastry, roll up Swiss roll fashion, slice and bake for Mincemeat Palmiers.


Leftover Panettone & Stollen

~   The most perfect breakfast ever – Stollen gently fried in butter and topped with double or clotted cream.
~   Panettone makes good toast.
~   These both make very good bread and butter pudding or see here for a wonderful quick way to use Stollen. It doesn't even have to be "leftover" Stollen!


Leftover Nuts

~   Toss in seasoned oil and roast till crunchy.  Cool completely, store airtightly and serve with salads and as nibble etc.
~    Add to salads and stir fries.
~    Add to granola and muesli.
~    Mix chopped nuts into crumble.
~    Mix coarsely chopped nuts and a little honey into softened butter for melting on waffles, pancakes, baked squash and anything you fancy.
~    Sprinkle over ice cream.

Whatever you have leftover after Christmas (even booze!) my book Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers is bound to help covering, as it does, so many potential leftovers!

cookbook of creative recips and ideas for leftovers

1 comment:

Melanie said...

These are awesome ideas! I had no idea there were so many ways to make use of the leftovers, thanks!