Leftover turkey? Here’s how to use it up...
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James McIntosh

Leftover turkey? Here’s how to use it up...

Posted by James McIntosh Monday, 21st December 2015

Turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, turkey curry, perhaps even turkey risotto, turkey stew… It can go on for days.  But it need not be a chore.

Planning leftovers, especially with too much turkey can be a pest.  From experience, ordering a full turkey of about 200g per person is plenty (including carcass weight).

I’ve had my fair share of turkey, a meat many consider as dry.  But, it does not need to be this way.  I’m sure we have all seen the recipes that call for a turkey to be cooked upside down (as the fat lies under the turkey) and others where American’s deep fry or even ‘brine’ the turkey before cooking.  The easiest way I find to cook one is to simply take the turkey out of the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cooking, remove the giblet bag and the turkeys neck from inside the cavity and pat dry with kitchen paper. Insert some aromatics into the cavity and cook for 20 mins per 500g plus 20 more minutes at 180C / Gas mark 4 until the juices run clear when a sharp knife is inserted into the thickest part - where the drumstick meets the main body.

Last week I was conducting a cookery demonstration for Christmas and I cooked a truly beautiful turkey using the above method.  Before cooking you could see it was laden with fat under a tough skin, as it cooked, the fat melted and left beautiful meat.  Available to mail order from www.niturkeys.co.uk these lucky turkeys are truly free range, a slow growing breed that are hatched in June (coming from a farming community myself I can assure you this is long) and then left to hang, as one would with beef before being shipped to the customer for Christmas.  

If you’re not a turkey lover, you could always buy a larger gammon; it’s always fabulous in sandwiches… and for that matter, pies, casseroles, or simply just a dollop of Piccalilli.

5 ideas for using leftovers

  1. Before thinking of leftover, make some great turkey stock by boiling up the giblets and turkey neck in some water with an onion cut in half, some black pepper corns, roughly chopped up carrot and a bay leaf.  Remove any scum that comes to the top and simmer until jellylike.  Use for soups, pies, casseroles, gravies and freeze for later in the year.
  2. Strip off all meat off the turkey carcass.  Cool and freeze some for later in the year.  Great defrosted for salads, curries, pies….
  3. Buy local artisan chutneys and cheeses to enjoy with cold meats over the Christmas season.  And support your local farming communities too.
  4. Make a pie; roast some veg, whatever is in the veg basket after the Christmas cooking, make a simple white sauce with butter and plain flour add some of the stock above.  Pour over turkey and veg mix and top with readymade puff pastry.  Cook at 200C / 180C Fan / Gas Mark 6 until puffed up and golden.
  5. Fry off some onions and vegetables, add a little bit of Fajita seasoning, Peri Peri or even curry powder, and place into a tortilla for a turkey wrap. Makes a huge change from the “turkey sandwich”!

So, only one question left… what’s your favourite, the brown or white meat?

Happy Christmas!




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