leftover Christmas turkey

Test Kitchen Save me From my Leftover Christmas Turkey

Christmas is a time to be a little indulgent. But this really doesn’t need to mean throwing away food and spending unnecessary money.

Here are some inspirational recipes to use up your Christmas leftovers. And no, we’re not talking about turkey curry and turkey sandwiches!

Once you’ve enjoyed your perfect turkey, it’s important to cool and store your leftover turkey in the fridge as quickly as possible. Wait until the family and guests are undertaking their food-induced naps. Then carve any leftover meat off the bones and cool. This should be done within two hours of being served.

Place in an airtight container, or wrap tightly in food packaging, and then place in the fridge for up to three days. Job done. Alternatively you can freeze chunks of cooked turkey in a food bag to easily grab and defrost later.

The BEST Turkey Pie

This is so far removed from the meat served on the Big Day, no one will know it’s made from leftovers.

Ingredients – Serves 4

500g cubed, chopped, shredded, or thinly sliced turkey
1 tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp crème fraiche or double cream
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste
5 sheets of filo pastry
2 tbsp melted butter

Instructions for the Filling

  1. Heat the oil in a casserole dish and place on the hob. Keep over a medium heat and then add the leeks.
  2. Stir gently and cook for four to five minutes until softened. Add the garlic and mushrooms.
  3. Stir for a further five to six minutes until the mushrooms start releasing moisture.
  4. Add the turkey and then stir in the flour. Mix thoroughly and cook for a further minute.
  5. Gradually add the dried thyme and stock and stir until combined and thickened.
  6. Put a lid on the casserole and place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.Want to really soften the meat and have it take on the leek flavour? Reduce the temperature to 160°C and leave to slow cook for one to two hours.
  7. Remove the turkey from the oven an hour before serving.
  8. Stir in the crème fraiche or cream and taste for seasoning. Add the salt and pepper.
  9. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes.

Instructions for the Pie

  1. Remove the filo pastry from the fridge. This part needs to be done quickly or your pastry will dry out and crack.
  2. Place one sheet on top of the pie filling. Scrunch it up so it fits. Brush over some melted butter.
  3. Place another scrunched up filo sheet on top and repeat until you have used all the sheets and the butter.
  4. Brush with a final covering of butter and place in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.
  5. When the pie is golden and crusty, remove from the oven and cool a little whilst you prepare some vegetables.

Eat up! You should not cool and reheat turkey leftovers a second time, so tuck in

The Turkey Detox

Welcome to a feel-good recipe that requires little cooking. It’ll give you all the energy you need to keep up with family demands, and it uses up that turkey.

Ingredients – Serves 4

4 handfuls of sliced cooked, cold turkey
2 ready-to-eat pouches of lentils
1 small carrot, diced
1 celery, diced
1 small onion, diced

Tip: you can use any leftover vegetable here, cooked or raw

Dressing

1 tbsp small capers
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 small bunch of fresh parsley and mint, roughly chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp grain mustard
Juice and zest of 1 lime (lemon would also work)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan and heat gently.
  2. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook over a medium heat for five to six minutes until softened.
  3. Add the cooked turkey and the two packs of lentils and stir through the vegetables.
  4. Heat through thoroughly as you need to make sure the turkey is piping hot all the way through.
  5. Mix the extra-virgin olive oil, grain mustard, lime juice and zest together in a small jug.
  6. Add the garlic clove, capers and white wine vinegar. Then add the pumpkin seeds, salt and pepper and leave to one side. You could do this any time before eating this dish and store in the fridge.
  7. Divide the lentil and turkey mix between four plates.
  8. Drizzle over the dressing and scatter over the fresh herbs.
  9. Serve at room temperature and don’t reheat.

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