Now we’re in December, many of you will be making shopping lists for food as those valuable online delivery slots for Christmas get snapped up. This is one of those times I’m quite happy to only have to worry about feeding myself and Stella. Supermarkets go bonkers, shoppers forget that most of the supermarkets will be open again on Boxing Day, and, again and again, we all just buy too much!
An age old problem seems to be what to do with the turkey leftovers. I was always partial to a cold turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich but you may have something a little more adventurous in mind. I hear turkey curry is a favourite but I’d have to decline!
Michelin Starred Chef Steve Smith, Head Chef of Bohemia Restaurant in Jersey, has come up with some tips to make the most of the whole bird.
Have a game plan
Decide what you’re going to do with your turkey before you hit food coma stage. Do you want to just pick the meat off for sandwiches? Do you want to make soup or stock with the bones? Do you want to save some of the meat for a future recipe? Think this through, as your plans for the leftover turkey will dictate how you take it apart.
Don’t wait! Take it apart right after dinner
You probably already have a chopping board and carving knife out that you’ve already used for the turkey, so if you take apart the bird now, you only have to wash everything once. Taking it apart straight after your meal also means it will take up less space in your fridge. Put the meat into two separate piles: white meat for sandwiches and dark meat for cooking.
And while you’re at it, why not make a quick stock from the carcass
All that flavour is too good to waste, but no one wants big old turkey bones clogging up their freezer or fridge, so bundle it into a pot and just let it simmer away with whatever vegetables and herbs you have left over. Simply pour over cold water to cover the bones by an inch and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer very gently for three hours, skimming the fat out occasionally, strain and remove the bones. The stock can then be refrigerated in an airtight container for two or three days, or frozen for up to three months.
DIY Stock Cubes
If desired you can reduce until syrupy to end up with a very strong, gelatinous stock which is much easier to store; in ice cube trays, for instance, to be dropped into casseroles or soup as needed.
Take a break from belt-busting meals and try cooking something light to complement the turkey’s delicate flavour
Christmas dinner with all the trimmings might be heavy and full of fat, but turkey meat in itself is really good for you – high in protein and incredibly low in saturated fat. So why not give some lighter style dishes a try instead of the usual heavy curry or turkey pie? Turkey has a tendency to be dry, so always make sure you pair it with something to give it moisture. A fresh turkey salad with juicy pomegranate seeds, or an Asian salad with fresh Clementine slices and a honey and soy dressing would be the perfect antidote to all that gravy and stodge. Or try pairing it with some Moroccan flavours like aubergine and spicy harissa for some winter warming flavour.
Or, of course you could bypass the whole ordeal with the new microwave turkey from Tescos!
What will be at the centre of your dining table this Christmas?