With Christmas plans altering at the eleventh hour, you may have been left with far more leftovers than you expected this year. In normal times, Brits tend to buy far too much food at Christmas anyway.
Across the UK, around two million turkeys and 74 million mince pies were binned in 2019, according to the environmental charity Hubbub. But why chuck away those sad looking sprouts, cuts of meat and scraps of Christmas pudding when you could transform them into something delicious?
We’ve rounded up five tasty leftover recipes that will save you money on food and help to brighten up that lull between Christmas and New Year.
Brussels Sprout And Pigs In Blankets Breakfast Hash
They are one of the most popular Christmas dinner items, but if you do have leftover pigs and blankets, as well as sprouts and potatoes, then you can transform them into a hearty festive breakfast hash.
You’ll need 200g Pigs in blankets (sliced in half), 500g Rooster potatoes (diced), two cloves of garlic (crushed), two tsp of oil, four eggs (free range) and a bunch of flat parsley (shredded). This recipe is made by chef Gary Maclean, who won MasterChef: The Professionals in 2016 as part of a campaign with Love Food Hate Waste.
1. Pre heat your oven to 200°C.
2. Dice the potato and fry until golden and crisp.
3. For the poached egg, fill a pan to three quarters with water add two tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Taste the water to make sure it’s sour - it is vital that the water has some acid in it as it helps to set the egg white.
4. Bring the pan of water to the boil before turning down to a simmer.
5. Place each egg into a ramekin and gently lower into the vinegar water before poaching for 2-3 minutes.
6. Once cooked, place the eggs into ice cold water. This gets rid of the vinegar taste and stops the cooking of the egg. Once cold drain onto a tea towel or kitchen paper.
7. Reheat in a pot of fresh salted simmering water when everything else is ready.
8. Add the halved pigs in blankets and cook until they start to crisp up, then add the crushed garlic and cook out for a couple of minutes.
9. Add the shredded flat parsley and then divide the mix between four dishes and top with a poached egg to serve.
Leek, Potato And Stilton Bites
Tangy leek combines with the earthiness of potato and creaminess of Stilton to create these delicious bites, which you can make from leftovers (if your family hasn’t eaten all the cheese, that is).
You’ll need four large potatoes, peeled, 25g butter, two medium leeks, finely sliced, 100g Stilton or another well flavoured cheese, cut into small chunks, salt and black pepper and rapeseed oil or melted butter for brushing.
This recipe, from Seasonal Spuds, serves up to six as a snack. Here’s the recipe.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C / Fan 180°C / Gas 6.
2. Cut the potatoes in half lengthways, put into a large pan and parboil for 4 - 5 minutes. Drain, leave to cool and then grate into a bowl.
3. Place the leeks into a shallow dish with the butter, cover and microwave for 2 ½ - 3 minutes to soften. Alternatively pan fry for 4 - 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Lightly oil a mini muffin tray. Place a heaped teaspoon of grated potato into each ring, season and press down. Place a layer of cooked leeks on top and a layer of Stilton on top of that. Top with the remaining potato. Brush the top with a little rapeseed oil or butter.
5. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
Honey, Soy And Sesame Turkey Salad With Pomegranate
By the end of Christmas Day, you’ll probably be hankering for something a little lighter than goose fat roasted potatoes, mince pies and cheese.
In which case you could try this flavoursome salad recipe made by chef Ronnie Kimbugwe from restaurant and inn chain Bel And The Dragon, which is still pretty decadent as far as the flavours go and probably a welcome change from all those Christmas flavours.
1. Shred your leftover turkey breast and leg with your fingers and place on a baking tray
2. Sprinkle over some chilli flakes and mix together a honey, soy & sesame oil dressing and drizzle it over the meat
3. In a large bowl, toss together mixed salad leaves, beansprouts, chickpeas and pomegranate
4. Place the turkey meat in a hot oven for 5 minutes, so it absorbs some of the dressing and chilli flavour.
5. Get a platter dish and lay out your salad mix, and scatter over the hot slightly crispy turkey.
6. To finish, sprinkle sesame seeds and a some crushed toasted cashew nuts.
Brussels Sprout And Pancetta Pasta With A Sage And Roast Garlic Cream
For this dish, which serves four and has been created by organic company Riverford, you’ll need one whole garlic bulb, 200ml double cream, one tbsp olive or sunflower oil, 250g pancetta or streaky bacon, diced, one onion, very finely sliced, 6–8 sage leaves, finely shredded, one small glass of white wine (optional), 400g dried spelt or other pasta, 500g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, halved or quartered, depending on size (keep a little of the core intact so the pieces hold together), four tbsp Parmesan, finely grated and salt and black pepper.
1. First, roast the garlic whole. Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 which takes around 40 minutes. Once cooked, leave to cool slightly, then separate the cloves and squeeze the skin to release the flesh. Save half for another day and mix the remainder with the cream.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, add the pancetta or bacon and fry, stirring now and then, to brown it. Remove to a plate. Add a splash more oil if the pan seems dry, lower the heat, add the onion and fry very gently for 10 minutes until softened. Stir now and then to stop it catching.
3. Add the pancetta or bacon and sage to the onion. Turn up the heat and stir for two minutes. If using the wine, add it now and let it reduce for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic cream and let it bubble away for a couple more minutes.
4. Meanwhile, put two pans of salted water on to boil. While the onion and pancetta are cooking, add the pasta to one pan of boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta cooking water.
5. Meanwhile, blanch the Brussels sprouts in the other pan for 3–4 minutes, depending on size. Drain.
6. Stir half the Parmesan into the sauce, then toss in the cooked pasta and sprouts, adding a little reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste then serve sprinkled with the rest of the cheese.
Christmas Pudding Brownies
Nobody really likes Christmas pudding that much, let’s be honest, which is why we drown it in cream to make it palatable. But who doesn’t love a brownie? If you’ve got some pudding leftover why not whip it into a selection of fudgy, spiced brownies that can be served chilled as a festive afternoon treat, or warm for dessert with ice cream and caramel sauce.
The recipe, from Waitrose, takes just under an hour to make and serves 12. You’ll need 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
250g dark chocolate broken into small chunks, three medium eggs, 150g granulated sugar, one tsp flaky sea salt, four tbsp cocoa powder, two tbsp plain flour and 300g leftover cooked Christmas pudding, crumbled.
1. Heat oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm baking tin with baking parchment.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt in another bowl, before beating into the chocolate mixture. Sift over the cocoa and flour, folding through with all but a handful of the Christmas pudding, until just combined.
3. Pour the brownie mix into the prepared tin, spread out and scatter the rest of the Christmas pudding on top, pressing it in gently. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a crust has formed on top. Cool completely in the tin before slicing and serving.