Even in these more frugal times, Christmas is guaranteed to leave you with leftovers. What might traditionally be seen as food waste, we now see as food opportunity.
Most families will have their staple, post-Christmas Day recipes. These tend to be comfort foods, whether that’s a turkey curry or a ham and turkey pie, we’re not bad at ensuring our festive excess gets eaten.
One great Boxing Day food is bubble and squeak. You will have your own relationship with this sometimes overly maligned staple, but it can prove a hard sell year after year.
My kids will not touch it. I suspect this has much to do with the year of the carbonised sprout. Let me explain.
My dad has really got home-made chips down to a fine art. They are much sought after and boxing day is really just an excuse to find foods to accompany those delights.
Usually this involves bubble and squeak, cold meats, nut roast, pickles and cheeses. A smorgasbord of everything that is good. Umami on a plate.
Except one year my mother forgot about the bubble and squeak. Most of it was rescued, and it was served, but the carbonised sprout has become the bogeyman of our children’s Christmas.
It wasn’t just that this one sprout was burnt (a crime against food), but that it was burnt in such a way that you could still see every leaf in great detail.
But there are so many other wonderful things you can do with pretty much any bit of food that found its way back to the fridge on Christmas Day. Here’s a few ideas:
Sandwiches are an easy and obvious solution to leftover turkey. Whether it’s plain or with some cranberry sauce, or even with something a little spicier, they are low cost and delicious.
It’s not too hard to up your game at this time of year. This recipe idea comes from Tesco:
French dip turkey sandwich recipe
This only takes 20 minutes to prepare and cook – and significantly less to eat.
It serves four and uses up leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, sprouts and cheese.
The original recipe calls for reblochon cheese, but you could substitute this for any soft, creamy cheese like brie or camembert (dare I say, even a mixture) if you have some to hand.
110g Brussels sprouts, cooked and finely sliced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
4 white sub rolls or equivalent
4 tbsp lighter mayonnaise
4 tbsp cranberry sauce
40g baby spinach leaves
200g turkey breast, cooked and sliced
200g stuffing balls, cooked
140g reblochon cheese, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan oven 180°C.
Mix the sprouts, cider vinegar and seasoning in a bowl and set aside.
Split the rolls lengthways, then open out. Spread the mayonnaise over the bottom halves and cranberry sauce over the top halves.
Divide the spinach leaves between each roll, then top each with turkey and stuffing. Scatter over the sprouts and place your cheese on top of each.
Close the rolls and gently press the top halves down to keep everything together.
Put on a lined baking tray and bake for 5-7 mins or until the cheese has melted. Meanwhile, make or reheat gravy.
Serve the sandwiches with the gravy in bowls for dipping.
To think there might be some roast potatoes left over hurts my brain, but not everyone will have the same capacity for ingesting those crispy, fluffy gems as me, so it’s worth having a go-to recipe to hand so that none of those glorious gems go to waste.
I said earlier that bubble and squeak was not an option in our house, but roast potato hash is definitely a winner and can be served as breakfast, brunch or lunch.
You can really add what you want, in whatever quantities you have available.
A recipe on the I Love Potatoes website (my new favourite) suggests 6-8 leftover roast potatoes, roughly chopped, 200g leftover Sunday lunch vegetables roughly chopped, 150g leftover roast meat (beef, lamb, pork, gammon, or make it vegetarian) shredded, 1teaspoon horseradish sauce (or mustard), 1 sprig fresh rosemary finely chopped, oil for frying, 1tablespoon plain flour and fried or poached eggs, to serve.
You can either combine everything together and form into patties and fry, or roast everything together in the oven.