Riverford Field Kitchen Chef, Rob Andrew gives us his top tips on our Christmas left overs and what to do with them.
It is no great effort to turn Christmas leftovers into something filling for the following days. You have the usual roll call of curries, stews and bubble & squeak; if all else fails, fry it all together and stick and egg on top. What is more of a challenge, it to use them up in a way that isn’t as heavy and gluttonous as the original repast.
The thrift can start even before the main meal is served. Keep your veg and herb scraps for the stock pot, just avoid any brassicas like kale or broccoli as they bring a boiled cabbage miasma if simmered for too long. You can keep it veggie or add in turkey bones, after the bird has been carved and the carcass stripped.
Leftover roasted roots can form the backbone of a robust winter salad. Sliced or diced into interesting shapes, parsnips, carrots or beetroot work especially well. Start with a good mix of bitter, peppery and mild salad leaves as a base. Toasted nuts, seeds or croutons will give a crunch to proceedings. Cooked and cooled pulses and grains such as puy lentils, spelt, farro, and chickpeas will lend a bit of bite as well as bulk. Crumble in some cheese and something sweet like sliced apple or dried fruit. Make the dressing sharp and punchy. Some of our favourite combinations are Beetroot, Apple, Hazelnut and Blue Cheese; Carrot, Chickpeas & Mint with Tahini Dressing; and Parsnip, Lentils, Date & Chestnut.
There always seems to be an excess of braised red cabbage. Although it can be easily reheated, consider a second life as a cold condiment. The spicing has much in common with most respectable chutneys. Try adding a dash of red wine vinegar to give it a pickled edge and serve it alongside leftover cold cuts, or tuck a little into a roast beef or ham sarnie. A wee dab in a cheese toastie works too, provided the cheese is strong and sharp.
Bowls of broth
Soups, stews and broths are ideal vehicles for using a mongrel selection of scrapes. Asian noodle bowls are the height of hip at the moment and lend themselves to random additions to the base recipe. The most obvious is a simple bowl of miso soup. The fermented rice or soybean paste and is a fundamental building block of Japanese cuisine. It has a deeply savoury flavour and tastes hugely restorative. A few shreds of leftover turkey and handful of greens is all you need to counter the excesses of the previous day. Add some noodles and a bit of stock and it starts to become a ramen bowl and will welcome a bit of chilli and maybe a soft boiled egg. A Malaysian laksa or Thai curry would work well too. Most things will complement the key notes of coconut, lemongrass, lime and chilli; I’d avoid red cabbage, beetroot or anything that has heavy Christmas spicing.