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Planning quantities is tricky at the best of times over Christmas, but with the uncertainty caused by Covid it’s easy to find yourself suddenly lumped with more than you need.
But there’s no need to let that delicious festive fare go to waste, we’ve rounded up tips from Which? members – and recipe ideas from chefs – to help you make this year’s leftovers a treat in themselves, rather than a chore.
Read on to discover the popular festive leftover ideas suggested by Which? members.
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1 – ‘Good old bubble and squeak’
The traditional British dish of ‘bubble and squeak’ was by far the most popular option suggested by our members.
It’s a nice simple option too, if you’re feeling all cooked out, as it’s essentially just leftover vegetables, pan fried.
Potato is a key ingredient, along with Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onion and sometimes shredded meat. But the best part about bubble and squeak is its versatility – you can throw in any leftover meat or veg so nothing goes to waste.
‘Bubble and squeak using left over Christmas day vegetables, served with some imaginative extras is a firm favourite’. Which? member
Bubble and squeak recipe ideas:
- Jamie Oliver’s bubble and squeak recipe suggests adding sprigs of fresh herbs and serving with HP sauce
- James Martin’s bubble and squeak is drizzled in hollandaise sauce and topped with a poached egg – perfect for Boxing Day breakfast.
Pair your bubble and squeak brunch with a hot cup of our best ground coffee to start the day.
2 – ‘Anything can go in a soup’
Lots of our members recommended using the leftover turkey carcass to make a tasty soup or stock:
‘Turkey carcass makes a lovely soup stock. Plus, there’s usually loads of extra meat to eat after boiling it down with vegetables.’ Which? member
It’s simpler to do than you might think, and means that you’re using up every part of the bird.
How to make turkey stock:
- Strip the meat off the turkey carcass and break it apart at the joints where you can.
- Put all the carcass into a big pot and cover it with water.
- At this point you can also add in a quartered onion, a couple of carrots, a few celery sticks, and some bay leaves if you’d like.
- Simmer for 3-4 hours until the bones are starting to break down (using a pressure cooker can cut cooking time).
- Remove the carcass carefully and strain the broth.
- Cool and store in the fridge to add to soup (you can also freeze some if you’ve got lots left over)
If you want to turn it straight into soup, you can add in any other leftovers, heat and serve (or blend first if you prefer a smooth soup).
If you’d rather just use the leftover turkey meat, there are plenty of other delicious soup recipes:
- Jamie Oliver has given your typical leftovers a spicy twist with his Christmas mulligatawny soup recipe.
- The Hairy Bikers Turkey Tortilla soup is full of Mexican flavours and garnished with baked tortillas.
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3 – ‘The perfect festive finish-up sandwich’
It may not be particularly original, but the festive sandwich is a classic for a reason – it’s delicious and indulgent. Plus you can sneak in a wide range of leftovers.
Perhaps you like it simple – just two slices of bread, stuffed with turkey, cranberry sauce and a few chunks of stuffing. Or maybe you like to chuck in a couple of pigs in blankets or some slices of cheese?
If you’re staving off the winter chill, try swapping the slices of bread for a warm baguette or putting the turkey in a toastie with some cheese.
Whichever way you choose to eat it, a proper Christmas sandwich is a quick and easy way to jazz up your leftovers.
‘Turkey and stuffing sandwiches are so good!’ Which? member
Popular Christmas sandwich recipes
You don’t need a recipe for a sandwich, of course, but some extra inspiration never hurt:
- Jamie Oliver’s ultimate turkey sandwich is served with a gravy dip. Or if you’re looking for something fresh and zingy, his Vietnamese turkey banh mi is packed with pickles and crispy meat.
- If you’ve got a crowd to feed, try James Martin’s large leftover Christmas toastie. It feeds up to eight people and is packed with turkey, ham, sausages and a creamy sauce.
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4 – ‘Always a fan of the festive curry’
Christmas leftover curry – it’s a cliché for a reason.
After gorging on potatoes, rich cheese and Christmas puds, the lively flavours of a curry can be refreshing. But like all our suggestions, the ingredients are flexible and can be built around what food you have leftover and the spices you have in your cupboard.
‘There’s nothing like a turkey curry at Christmas’. Which? member
Festive curry recipes
- Raymond Blanc’s tomato-based turkey curry packs some heat with red chillies and black peppercorns.
- If you prefer something a little milder, try Mary Berry’s turkey korma instead.
- Gordon Ramsey’s turkey curry uses a Thai curry paste, rather than the traditional Indian flavours and you can easily swap the turkey for paneer if you’re vegetarian.
- Meera Sodha manages to incorporate the humble Brussels sprout into her warming turkey, caramelised onion and ginger curry.
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Other Christmas leftover ideas
Our members had plenty of handy tips for looking after your leftovers, here are some more ideas:
- Freeze some leftovers for later, so you aren’t too sick of it
- Use leftover meat and veg for a spanish omelette on Boxing Day
- Pies, salads and casseroles are all good options you can vary year on year
- Have a ‘mezze’ meal of leftover bits
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*based on a survey of 1,362 Which? members in October 2021