soup with mushrooms, coriander and chilli in

By Phillippa Spence

We all know the feeling. Christmas dinner is quite possibly the biggest, most complicated meal you’ve cooked all year. Of course you’ve over compensated for everyone’s likes and dislikes – Uncle Reg prefers mash to roasties (better for his teeth), Dad wants Yorkshire pudding because it “seems right”, and your little sister’s not giving up her no-sugar diet just because it’s Christmas…

All those variations usually means a fridge full of leftovers right through to New Year’s Eve. I think we’ve all witnessed and made some “interesting” recipes that you would never dream of making at any other time. Turkey or goose curry… some kind of tray-bake with all the cooked vegetables chucked in? If you’re struggling for ideas, I’ve got lots of them!

What to do with cooked meat

Beef, chicken and turkey all work brilliantly re-cooked (once) until crispy or tender and pullable in spicy sweet chilli or black bean sauce, or just a little cranberry sauce. Just toss it with noodles and crunchy fresh veg for a light salad, or mix it with rice, beans and chopped-up roasted veggies and wrap it up to make a burrito. Shredded chicken and turkey also work really well stirred into spicy broths or mulligatawny soups, pies and even a super light salad. Or try Jamie and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe for leftover turkey from the Food Tube Live Show 4….

What to do with roast veg

If you’ve got any roasted squash, carrots, onions, apples with all the roasted herbs and garlic – for that matter any roasted root veggies – you can make a beautiful winter soup. Just pop the veg back in a hot oven for a few minutes to soften again, then tip them into a saucepan with plenty of hot stock. Cook for a few minutes and blitz, adding a little extra stock and seasoning, if needed. Of course, you can make a hash of it too (no pun intended) – roughly chop any leftover vegetables and fry until crispy on the outside, add strips of ham, turkey or even stuffing, then throw in any leftover cooked greens like sprouts. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped red chilli and a fried egg if you want too.

Any sweet stuff left? If the coffee sundae didn’t tickle your taste buds, turn whatever you had for pudding with cranberry sauce into a beautiful base for simpler, scrummy sundae. Or crush up some mince pies, Christmas pudding or cake, then pop in the oven for a few minutes to go a little more golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool then sprinkle over ice cream or ripple into a semifreddo with a little mince meat.

Got any more uses for Christmas leftovers? Leave your tips in the comments box. Merry Christmas!

About the author

Pip Spence

Pip is a junior stylist in Jamie’s food team. She spends her life following Jamie around, testing his recipes and helping out on shoots. She is addicted to Instagram (@pipparoo_spence), fascinated by food history, and obsessed with homemade ice cream. Mostly she writes about store cupboard heroes, using up leftovers and hearty comfort food.

Pip Spence