Turning leftovers into treats
Those extra-large Christmas turkeys can take you all the way into the New Year with a bit of imagination and cranberry relish festivefeasts
SO THIS is Christmas, and what have you got? Another year over, a new one about to begin, John Lennon playing on the new ipod, and everywhere you look the remnants of that Christmas lunch.
The thing is, you can’t cook half a turkey and turkeys don’t generally come in sizes smaller than XXL. And each of those breasts contains an extraordinary amount of meat, so, unless you were cooking Christmas lunch for all the president’s wives, there’ll probably be plenty left over. But I have a solution for that, if you’d care to read on.
You could, of course, just keep it in the fridge, bring it out at supper time and nibble the remnants with mustard or cranberry sauce. But there are more inventive ways of dealing with the discards. Some, including Antony Worrall Thompson, advise cutting up the bits of turkey and stirring them into a pasta sauce. Dunno about you, but that does not sound appealing to me.
I did like Clarissa Dickson Wright’s idea for potted turkey, which is a very English thing and easy to make, so I came up with my own version. To go with it, I made a cranberry relish.
Potted turkey also makes an excellent New Year’s Eve snack, because it goes with bread and offsets some of the alcoholic good time you are likely to be having on the night. Between Christmas and New Year, in fact, is a good time to check the bargain bin section of your supermarket for marked-down gammon and smoked turkey, to bring out on New Year’s Eve.
Slices of cooked gammon or turkey can be placed on crackers. Top the turkey with a blob of red apple jelly and a dab of whipped cream and garnish with chives.
Top the gammon with a tiny blob of mustard and a sliver of preserved fig.
Then there’s the sweet leftovers at Christmas time. Christmas pudding. Christmas cake. My favourite way to deal with either of these is to turn them into a trifle. In the case of Christmas pudding, bear in mind that it has already been cooked, so all you need to do is use it as the base for a trifle and build it up from there. With Christmas cake, though, you need to moisten it with brandy or a liqueur, or both, before assembling the rest of the trifle.
(Serves 6) 500g leftover turkey meat, both white and dark 150g butter and another 100g 2T lemon juice 3T whisky Grating of nutmeg ½ teaspoon smoked paprika Cut turkey into small pieces and place in blender. Add the remaining ingredients, including 150g of the butter, cut into pieces. Blend until combined but still fairly coarse. Pack into ramekins and pat down. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Melt remaining butter and spoon over the top. Refrigerate again. Serve with cranberry relish and toast wedges.
100g dried cranberries 3T sugar 3T balsamic vinegar ½ small red onion, finely chopped 1t mustard Simmer onions
small saucepan, add remaining ingredients, simmer for five minutes and leave to cool.
CHRISTMAS CAKE TRIFLE
400g leftover Christmas cake 1T Frangelico or other liqueur or whisky or brandy per serving 250ml cream, whipped 500ml custard or brandy custard 5 fresh cherries per serving Cut the cake into small pieces and place in the bottom of six glass dessert bowls. Drizzle over one tablespoon of liquor per glass, more if you like. Pour over the custard and leave to set for a while in the fridge while you whip the cream. Spoon over the cream and serve with fresh cherries set on top including their stalks. These can be picked up by their stalks and dipped in the cream, to eat before plunging into the rest of the trifle. So it’s almost two desserts in one.
DELICIOUS: Use leftover Christmas cake as a base for a decadent trifle.
SPICING UP THE DISCARDS: Cranberry relish turns excess turkey into a feast.