2021 Christmas Leftover Recipes and Ideas

It’s not just us who will be whimpering on Christmas Day afternoon – our bellies are ready to burst, having consumed what would be an average of 6,000 calories. Yep.

But our refrigerators are also susceptible to overflow. There will be the turkey, draped in a tea towel, crushed (sort of) under a shelf. A tray of leftover roasts and vegetables, looking rather wrinkled and sad. The lees of the pastry cream. A piece or two of Christmas pudding.

This. My friends. It’s the start of a party. However, not everyone can bother turning their leftover treats into new, often more delicious dishes. Apparently in the UK we throw away some 300,000 tonnes of food waste every Christmas. Three hundred thousand. It’s incredible. And it’s also incredibly sad – especially when you stop to consider the number of families who can’t afford to put food on the table, let alone indulge in a festive feast.

This year, for the sake of economy and in order to waste less, I encourage you to give some love to your Christmas leftovers. Show them some respect.

And it starts right after Christmas lunch itself – and putting all of the day’s leftovers right away.

1. When the turkey has cooled, remove the remaining meat from the bones. Cut the breast into large pieces (do not slice, it will dry out) and tear the meat from the thighs and underside. Place in a container with a lid for up to three days in the refrigerator.

2. Christmas pudding can be wrapped and put in the fridge or freezer.

3. Wrap the cheeses well in waxed paper to prevent mold growth on the outside and to prevent them from drying out.

4. Vegetables, stuffing and potatoes can be stored together in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days.

And there you can afford several meals and snacks. Try some of my suggestions.

turkey croquetas

I love good Spanish croqueta – crispy on the outside, bursting into melted goodness when you sink your teeth into it. Be careful though, they are very hot!

They’re a great Boxing Day snack to share in the kitchen – and pair perfectly with a little cranberry sauce. You can also prepare them with leftover grated ham.

To make them, simply sauté a finely chopped onion in a little oil in a saucepan until tender, but not colored. Add 60 g of unsalted butter. Melt. Add 2 tbps (heaped) of plain flour and stir constantly until it smells like cookie. Lower the heat and gradually incorporate 250 ml of milk and 250 ml of poultry broth. Whisk constantly until thick – almost like mashed potatoes. Add a pinch of nutmeg and taste for seasoning.


Make croquetas with your leftover turkey
– Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Stir in 150 g of finely grated cooked turkey. Spread the mixture on a plate. Blanket. Place in the refrigerator to cool and set.

Prepare 250g of fine white breadcrumbs on a plate, and beat two eggs in a dish. Take tablespoons of the chilled turkey mixture and roll them into small sausage shapes. Dip in the egg then in the breadcrumbs and return to a plate in the refrigerator. Take out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Heat a deep pan of oil to 170 ° C and fry a few at a time, turning them until nice and golden. Drain on paper towels and eat immediately.

Devil turkey

A blast from the past – but worth trying, making the meat sticky, spicy and greedy. I recommend doing this with the leg meat and serving in a sandwich with a few slices of cheese – preferably melted! That’s enough for two people.

Grate about two handfuls of cooked turkey meat into a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of tomato puree, 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar, a big pinch of cayenne pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of mustard powder and 1 teaspoon of liquid honey .

Toss and cook under the grill until heated through.

We also make it a kind of Indian spicy version. Thinly slice and sauté an onion until golden brown. Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and a dash of soy sauce. Stir this into the cooked turkey and broil. Wonderful with garlic mayonnaise in crusty bread.

Vegetable kuku

If the thought of a bubble and a squeak makes you shiver during your school days, try this Persian version of a frittata instead.

Heat the oven to 180 ° C and generously oil a 23cm casserole or pan that can go in the oven. Finely chop and sauté an onion until golden brown. In a bowl, combine six large eggs, 1 tablespoon of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a handful of chopped nuts (optional) and maybe a handful of dried cranberries. Add 150g to 200g of leftover chopped vegetables and potatoes, and 50g of finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill and cilantro work well) and mix. Season.

Pour into the prepared mold and put the oven at 180 ° C. Fry the mixture without stirring for a few minutes. Place the dish in the oven and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until set. If you’re brave, flip it onto a plate (let it cool slightly first) or cut it straight into the dish.

Leftover French Dip

There is a sort of French dip sandwich that’s basically hollowed out bread filled with stew – served with fries for dipping. Yum. And you can make a really good version with Christmas leftovers. All you need are crispy buns, ideally one day old. Cut off the tops of each roll and core them, keeping the bread inside to make breadcrumbs (or eat it like I do). Place them under the grill to toast them lightly.

Now mix in the grated turkey, the leftover ground pork in blankets, the leftover stuffing and maybe the leftover vegetables with the sauce. Pour into the center of the buns and serve with leftover heated roasts. It’s Boxing Day lunch sorted!

Boxing Day Breakfast Muffins

For some, this is a step too far. But we love them in our house and I’m not ashamed to admit we have them with gravy. Yes. For breakfast. Don’t judge us!

So heat your oven to 200 ° C and line a muffin or cupcake pan with crates – that’s 8-10. In a pitcher, beat two large eggs, 90 ml of vegetable oil or melted butter and 100 ml of milk. In a bowl, weigh 225 g of self-rising flour and add a few tablespoons of chopped cooked stuffing and a handful of chopped cooked pigs in blankets. Season with salt and pepper. Add 100g of grated cheese. Mix then pour evenly into your cases. Bake for 25 minutes.


Cosmopolitan cocktail prepared at the bar.

Make a Cosmo Cranberry Cocktail
– Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Cosmo cranberry

Whip up a Christmas cocktail with, you guessed it, good old fashioned cranberry sauce. But make sure it’s just sugar and cranberry. You really don’t want onions in your drink.

To prepare it, mix 45 ml of vodka, 15 ml of triple sec or Cointreau, 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce and 10 ml of lime juice in a shaker with ice. Stir for 30 seconds and strain into a martini glass. The recipe serves one.

Fried Christmas Pudding

Don’t hit it until you’ve tried it. Cool your pudding, slice, fry in butter … and serve with cheese.

Baileys Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding

Are you guilty of buying a huge panettone over Christmas (obviously attracted to the cute box it is sold in) only to find out that after a slice each you end up with a breaded monster?

Don’t worry, this pud is a great way to use it all up.

Butter a 1 liter pie dish. Thinly slice eight to 10 panettone pieces and lightly butter each, cutting each slice into quarters. Place, butter side up, in the dish, overlapping each piece. Sprinkle with a little sugar.

In a saucepan, heat 250 ml of milk, 100 ml of Baileys and 50 ml of heavy cream – do not allow to boil. Beat two large eggs with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar in a bowl. Add the liquid mixture and mix well to combine. Filter and pour over the panettone. Leave to soak for 30 minutes – heat the oven to 180 ° C. Add 100g of chopped chocolate after 30 minutes if desired. Then go to the oven.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until set, with a golden brown top.


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