Christmas leftovers – tips from top chefs and food writers

Eight of London's best chefs and food writers share their favourite recipes

There always seems to be a neverending supply of leftover meat and sprouts by the end of Christmas. We asked some of London's best chefs and food writers for their advice on making the most of the cold cuts and veg. Want a change from turkey curry? Try goose biryani.

Compiled by Anne Faber


The experts' guide to Christmas leftovers

  • Marcus Wareing, Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

    "No matter how many of us there are for Christmas lunch, like every household, there is always leftover turkey. I like to use the turkey and vegetables to make a delicious hash and crumble the leftover Christmas pudding to fold into a cheesecake. Both are quick and easy ways to make use of what otherwise would go to waste, and it is a delicious comforting way to feed the family in the days that follow Christmas."

  • Richard Turner, Hawksmoor

    "I have goose and prime rib of beef for Christmas.The leftover goose can be preserved in its own fat and potted. Just flake the goose and place it in a dish with rendered goose fat, chopped pigs in blankets and a little goose gravy. Cover and cook on a low heat for several hours in the oven. Allow to cool before crushing with a fork and potting in jars, top with hot goose fat and refrigerate."

  • Adam Byatt, Trinity

    “For me Boxing Day is the culinary highlight of Christmas which gives the opportunity to serve up delicious cold meats with pickles, and make a lovely bubble and squeak with leftover brussels sprouts. I serve them with a crisp fried duck egg and the obligatory Branston pickle. Also, rather than head down the road of turkey curry, I make a turkey stock from all the bones and turn this sumptuous stock into the equivalent of a minestrone.”

  • Stevie Parle, Dock Kitchen

    "Last year I made a delicious goose biryani – we had quite a lot of meat left over as we had been a bit greedy and bought two geese for the ten of us. The beautiful, delicate flavour stood up well to tamarind and heavy fragrant spicing and it was a brilliant hangover cure, especially served with a few boiled eggs on the side and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and dried rose petals."

  • Maria Elia, Joe's Restaurant

    “I always like to re-heat leftover Turkey in an Asian red braise or master stock and serve it with loads of coriander, Thai basil and rice. By Boxing Day I’m totally over root vegetables and roast potatoes and it’s the perfect winter warming lunch with fresh clean aromatic flavours that leave you feeling cleansed after overindulging on Christmas Day!”

  • Junya Yamasaki, Koya

    "In Japan, one of the most popular family get-together meals for Christmas is hot pot, so we’ll make ‘kayu’ or ‘ojiya’ (a kind of rice porridge) using the leftover broth, meat and vegetables. It’s warming, healthy and kind on hungover stomachs.

    "Here in Britain, I often roast chicken or other birds like quail or pheasant, and I make kayu with the leftovers the next day. Take off all the leftover meat from the bones and keep aside, and make a broth from the carcasses by simmering with water in a pot for a few hours together with slices of ginger and whole spring onions before adding the meat back in. Rinse any leftover Japanese rice with hot water to get rid of the stickiness, then add it to the broth to cook for 10-15 minutes. (If you do not happen to have leftover rice, then cook the rice separately and put into broth.) Then add some whisked egg, immediately turn off the heat and cover it with a lid for a minute. Serve with chopped water cress or spring onion, shredded ginger and of course a dash of soy sauce if you wish."

  • Naved Nasir, Dishoom

    "I'll use up leftover turkey by adapting a murgh makhani (butter chicken) recipe. Cook four tomatoes until soft, remove the skins and blend the flesh to a purée (you could also use tinned tomatoes if you're feeling sluggish). Melt a generous dollop of butter in a pan and fry a small handful of grated ginger and garlic until soft. Add the puréed tomatoes, seasoning and some red chilli powder, before finally stirring through a glug of cream. Then, in another pan, heat some oil and fry a teaspoon of mustard seeds until they pop. Next, add a finely sliced onion and bell pepper and some chopped green chilli. Fry for a few minutes before stirring in the makhani sauce and sliced leftover turkey meat. Serve garnished with lots of coriander and some fresh naan or roti to mop up the sauce. Delicious!"

  • Fuchsia Dunlop, food writer

    “I always cut leftover turkey meat into thin strips and serve it with a Sichuanese dressing of soy sauce, sugar, Chinkiang vinegar, chilli oil and sesame oil, perhaps with a little ground roasted Sichuan pepper. With leftover roast beef, I'd omit the vinegar and sugar, step up the Sichuan pepper and add some crushed roasted peanuts and sesame seeds, and perhaps some sliced celery. Leftover potatoes are delicious made into a hash with Chinese preserved mustard greens.”