Talking turkey

Whilst it’s still ok-ish to say “Happy New Year!” to those we meet I am going to talk turkey. The festive turkey.

When I hear – or see – people agonising over the fact that they have leftover turkey I really do shake my head. This is a good thing people! Use your imagination!

Aside from getting to spend time with husband and friends, and getting some actual holiday time, my absolute favourite part of the festive season is the turkey. I relish – no pun intended – tackling the leftovers, I want to use as much as I can, in as interesting a way as I can.

It all starts when I submerge my turkey in an aromatic bath (Courtesy of Nigella Lawson’s ‘Spiced and super juicy roast turkey’ recipe) for two days before the big day.

Then on the big day I roast the turkey in the oven and when everything is ready and we have had the starter, we sit down to eat. At this point I have been prepping and cooking food for so long it seems I can barely look at the festive spread. And it is a spread. There are many components to our festive dinner;

  • Turkey
  • Chipolatas and bacon
  • Sausage meat, sage & onion stuffing
  • Roast potatoes
  • Roast parsnips
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Bread sauce
  • Gravy

I barely eat any of this lovely food, but I have a plan. A cunning plan. There are always leftovers of every component of the dinner, after all, I’m not going to all of that trouble for one meal, so a couple of days later my brilliant husband reheats everything properly and I have my festive dinner. It is bliss! A proper xmas dinner with no cooking. Amazing! Without fail I enjoy this meal more than the actual day, but that’s just me. I’m strange.

Now on to the rest of the turkey. A turkey sandwich at some point is a must have, and Nigella’s brine method makes the turkey so tasty it’s the best turkey sandwich ever!

I also like to make a quick canapé of ‘coronation turkey’ vol-au-vents. Vol-au-vents are very retro but worth the travel back in time. Add a little curry powder & mango chutney to mayonnaise and let mingle for a while. Then put some chopped turkey into the mayonnaise and it is ready to be piled into a light crispy puff pastry vol-au-vent case.

Other staples are turkey, mushroom and white wine risotto made painstakingly with my favourite carnaroli rice. A good turkey curry is also a nice addition, I normally make it in the (my) bhoona style. And let’s not forget a deep filled homemade turkey and vegetable pie. A proper pie. A pie pie. A pie with a top and a bottom. Short crust pastry takes minutes and a tasty sauce the same. Chuck in turkey and vegetables, bake, and you have a perfect pie. Less hearty meals I like to do are turkey in oyster sauce, served with fluffy boiled rice and a turkey frittata which is super speedy.

There is one aim though with the leftovers for my festive turkey, and that is – I’m hearing ‘dah dah dahhhhhhh’ – festive soup.

During the festive period I keep everything crossed that I will have enough leftovers to do my festive soup. In a bid to not waste anything, I, when there is not much turkey left, strip the bones and make a stock with them then strain the stock. There should be a bit of turkey meat left to go into my soup. Now, this next bit is complicated… Go back up to the xmas dinner list of ingredients, everything but the homemade cranberry sauce (a garnish) & turkey (you want to add that a little later) gets flung into the stock. Yes, put the mash in. I’m looking at you! Everything! Even the sprouts. I said everything! I cook it out for a while then use a potato masher to break it all up. I then add turkey, cook a little longer then whizz with a stick blender. At this point I feel “my work here is done!”

My soup looks a little like chestnut soup, not exactly vibrant, but herbs are good and the flavour is delicious, well mine is, because the ingredients were delicious to begin with!!

So next time you have a turkey. Embrace the leftovers, please!

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Talking turkey

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