We all know what it’s like – Christmas dinner has been a roaring success, but there’s still half a turkey sitting balefully in the fridge. No problem! Here are our ideas to make sure nothing goes to waste…
After you’ve feasted on the turkey, cool any leftovers as quickly as possible (within one or two hours), cover them and put them in the fridge. If they are left out at room temperature, bacteria that causes food poisoning can grow and multiply. Keep cooked meat and poultry in the fridge.
Rather than refrigerating the whole turkey, pull off any remaining meat, cut it into small pieces, and store it in airtight containers, foil, or plastic wrap in the fridge.
This saves precious refrigerator space and helps the turkey cool more quickly. Ideally, use leftovers within 48 hours.
Serving leftover cold turkey: take out only as much as you’re going to use and put the rest back in the fridge. Don’t leave a plate of turkey or cold meats out all day, for example, on a buffet.
Remember leftover meat and poultry can be refrigerated for two days or frozen for up to three months.
Reheating leftover turkey: Cooked turkey can be reheated by simply warming the turkey in a 180°C/Fan 160-170°C/Gas 3 oven or in the microwave, using a little gravy or chicken or turkey stock to moisten the meat.
Don’t reheat more than once. When you’re reheating leftover turkey or other food, always make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through before you eat it.
Freeze leftover turkey while fresh:
Do not wait until your turkey has aged two extra days until you realize that you are in over your head.
On Christmas Day, as you are cleaning up after dinner, immediately cut up the remaining turkey and package it up into freezer bags, depending on the size of your family allow 100-150g each portion, label each bag and freeze.
Turn Turkey Bones Into Stock:
Even after you’ve devoured every last morsel of meat, you can still use the turkey carcass to make a rich stock that’s perfect for soup or gravy. Place the whole carcass or just the bones in a large stockpot, cover with water, and bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for about three hours, skimming and discarding the foam and any fat as necessary. Add any herbs, spices, or aromatics too —you can strain them out, along with the bones. The stock can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, two to three days, or frozen for up to three months. If you don’t have time to make the stock right away, wrap the bones in plastic and keep them in the fridge for a couple days or the freezer for several weeks.
Simple Recipe Ideas for Christmas Leftovers:
1. Turkey & Leek Pie: If you have leftover turkey, (leg meat will have the most flavour), make a creamy savoury sauce, add some leeks and leftover vegetables and put it all in a pie dish and top with pastry. Brush pastry with egg yolk and bake at 190°C/ Fan 180°C/Gas 5 and cook for 30 minutes until golden.
2. Spicy Turkey Curry: It’s best with some chilli, garlic and fresh ginger sizzled first. Then add spices like cumin, coriander and turmeric and any leftover festive veg you have, pouring in a tin of coconut milk and the turkey. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add a sprinkle of fresh herbs (coriander and mint) when ready to serve.
3. Turkey Soup: Firstly make stock with the turkey carcass, or use chicken stock and add shreds of leftover pale turkey, cubes of ham, discs of carrot, leeks in rounds and finely shredded kale.
4. If you’ve got lots of potatoes, sausages and bacon left, simply fry them up into a Hash (add some onion and garlic) and serve it with a fried or poached egg on top for Brunch, or use leftover roast vegetables in a Frittata.
5. You can use leftover turkey for Wraps, Paninis, Quesadillas, Risottos or Pasta Bakes.