As I promised in the run-up to Christmas, here’s some easy recipes for using up the leftover turkey. They’d work perfectly well with leftover chicken, leftover beef, leftover pork or any leftover cooked meat you have. They’re also good recipes in their own right for use at any time.
These are quick and simple recipes, and I deliberately don’t give quantities: as ever, I don’t know how many you’re feeding or what leftovers you have exactly. If you don’t have all the ingredients to hand, or have other bits and pieces you want to use up, feel free to adapt, and improvise.
Leftover Turkey Asian-Style Soup. This Thai or Vietnamese influenced broth can be put together in minutes, and is fresh and zingy, and will even put a dent in the worst festive hangover!
Leftover Turkey, shredded.
Onion, shallot or spring onion/shallot, diced very fine
Garlic, peeled and crushed, or diced very fine.
Chillies, sliced very fine
Root ginger or galangal, peeled and sliced very fine
Zest and juice of a lime or lemon
Fish sauce (Nam Pla etc) – a dash or more
Light soy sauce – a dash or more
A little palm sugar, or any type of sugar, or even a little honey
Pak choi, chinese leaves, or any kind of suitable crunchy greens, shredded – you could even use some raw, shredded brussels sprouts if you have any left over.
Noodles, about a handful per person, pre-cooked.
Fresh ground pepper, and salt if necessary
Method. Bring the stock to the boil, add all the other ingredients except the turkey, the seasonings, the noodles and the greens. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes only: just long enough for the onion to soften a little and for the flavours to blend. Add the turkey and the shredded greens, and cook for just a few moments more, until thoroughly heated through.
Check for seasoning – you may not need any salt, as the fish sauce and soy sauce are already fairly salty.
Per person: place some noodles in a bowl, then ladle on the soup.
Note: you could certainly add a handful of prawns or shrimp if you have any: add cooked ones with the turkey, raw ones at the beginning of the cooking – shelled or not, it’s up to you.
Leftover Turkey Kebab
Leftover turkey, or other cooked meat, sliced, cubed or shredded
Sweet onion, sliced fine
Good tomatoes, if available, thinly sliced
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Salad leaves, as available
Pitta bread, or other flat bread – or any bread you have
Chilli sauce, homemade or bought-in (optional) and/or mayonnaise or other dressing as you like
Toast or grill the pitta breads, and split so they form pockets. Gently reheat the turkey (fry, in the oven, or a few minutes in the microwave) until piping hot throughout.
Combine all the ingredients to your taste in the pitta pockets. Munch away. Easy, job done.
Leftover turkey “Shepherds Pie” - or whatever you would call a turkey “shepherd”. Although nowadays shepherds pie, or its close relative cottage pie, is often made with raw minced or ground meats, traditionally it was a way of using up the remains of a roast. Perfect to adapt here.
Turkey, or any leftover meat, shredded, cubed or sliced
Onion, peeled and finely sliced
Carrot, peeled and finely diced
Celery, peeled and finely diced
Mushrooms, wiped and sliced
One or two very ripe tomatoes, or a small can, chopped (optional)
Any herbs that you like, finely chopped
A glug or two of wine
A dash or more of turkey or chicken stock to moisten
A little plain flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mashed potato, freshly made or leftover
A very small amount (less than a handful) of strong cheese, grated
A few knobs of butter.
Gently sweat the hard vegetables until they begin to soften and take colour. Add the meat, sprinkle the whole lot with the flour, then add the tomatoes, liquids and herbs, and combine well. The liquids should be enough to make a thickened gravy with the flour: you want a nice, moist filling that is not too sloppy.
Spoon the whole lot into a suitable tin or oven proof dish, and cover with the mashed potato. Sprinkle the cheese on top, and dot with the butter. Put into a medium oven for half an hour to forty five minutes, until thoroughly heated through, the cheese has melted, and the top is golden brown here and there.
Note: do not be tempted to use more cheese. The point here is that it does not taste of cheese, as such, but just adds a lovely rich, savoury note to the dish.
A meal in its own right, but serve, if you like with some fresh veg of your choice, or a salad. Certainly, some crusty bread would be good to wipe up every last bit from your plate.
Watch this space: more leftover turkey recipes coming soon.