The Weekend Cook: Thomasina Miers' Recipes for Leftover Christmas Turkey

 ,  |  Updated: December 27, 2014 16:41 IST

The Weekend Cook: Thomasina Miers' Recipes for Leftover Christmas Turkey

The sheer amount of turkey leftovers can be overwhelming, but these two dishes will help use it up in a way that couldn't be further away from the Christmas roast.

I have a great friend who gets into a real state over Christmas leftovers, her sense of alarm increasing as the Tupperware mounts up in her fridge. While I generally view any leftovers as a shortcut to a quick meal, I have to admit that I, too, can feel overwhelmed at this time of year - my enthusiasm for turkey and cranberry sandwiches goes only so far. Here, then, are two ways to use up excess turkey, as well as a few other ingredients that may be lying around. Both are delicious, and both bring extra satisfaction in knowing that this year you won't throw anything away.

Braised jerusalem artichokes with leftover turkey, lardons and quick green sauce

Jerusalem artichokes are possibly my favourite vegetable, and I don't say that lightly. When caramelised in olive oil (with masses of garlic and thyme), they turn soft and sweet; this vivid, sharp sauce is the perfect partner. If you don't have a mountain of cooked turkey to get through, make this vegetarian by leaving out the turkey and pancetta, and using veg stock instead of chicken; or, for committed meat-eaters, brown a dozen chicken thighs all over in the casserole for 10 or so minutes, then lift out before starting on the jerusalems. After the artichokes have cooked for 20 minutes, lay the thighs on top, cover, and steam for another 15 minutes, all in the same pot. Serves six.

1.2kg jerusalem artichokes

4 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

130g piece pancetta, cut into 1cm dice

1 small bunch thyme, leaves stripped

8 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved

350ml chicken (or vegetable) stock

150ml white wine

400g cooked turkey (optional)

Salt and black pepper

For the green sauce

3 baby shallots, sliced

1 tsp capers

4 anchovies

1 small clove garlic

1 large handful parsley

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

80ml extra-virgin olive oil

Scrub the artichokes in water with a scourer, rinse and cut into bite-sized chunks. Heat a large casserole on a medium flame and, when hot, add the oil, pancetta, thyme and garlic, and cook for a few minutes, until the garlic starts to soften. Add the artichokes, stirring to coat, cook for a few minutes, then pour in the stock and wine. Put the lid half-over the casserole, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, until the artichokes are just tender and the sauce reduced. Stir in the turkey, season to taste, and heat through for five to 10 minutes.

For the sauce, blitz the shallots, capers, anchovies and parsley to a rough puree, add the oil, lemon zest and juice, stir and season to taste. Transfer to a pretty bowl.

Serve the artichokes in bowls with sauce drizzled on top; I like them with a side of wilted greens.

Bang bang turkey salad

Thomasina Miers' bang bang turkey salad

Thomasina Miers' bang bang turkey salad: 'A fine antidote an overdose on rich food.'Photograph: Johanna Parkin for the Guardian. Food styling: Katie Giovanni

Hot, bright, refreshing and satisfying: these are the hallmarks of Szechuan cooking. This salad has all those characteristics in abundance, and is a fine antidote to an overdose on rich Christmas food. If you have any leftover sprouts, shave them very finely, sit in iced water for 15 minutes, to turn crisp, then drain pat dry, and add to the salad. Serves six.

For the dressing

2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 red chilli, finely chopped (or to taste)

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 garlic clove, peeled and grated

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice-wine vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp honey

For the salad

1 pink grapefruit

3 carrots, peeled

170g bean sprouts

3 spring onions, white parts finely chopped, green shredded for decoration

3 handfuls fresh coriander leaves

1 handful fresh mint leaves

450g leftover turkey

2 tbsp sesame seeds, to serve

For the dressing, stir together the peanut butter, chilli, ginger and garlic in a bowl, whisk in the soy, vinegar, oil and honey, and set aside.

Cut the top and base off the grapefruit, stand it upright on a board and cut away the peel and pith. Cut out the segments between the membranes, and put in a large bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots into wide strips, then cut these in half lengthways and add to the bowl with the bean sprouts, spring onions whites and torn herbs. Shred the turkey with your hands and add to the salad. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper, pour on the dressing, toss and set aside.

Put the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan and toast on a medium-high heat, moving them constantly, until golden, then take off the heat.

Transfer the salad to a large platter, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and green spring onion tops, and serve.

And for the rest of the week...

If you up the ingredients for the Jerusalem artichoke recipe by half, you can then blend the leftovers with water or stock to make a rich and comforting soup that's full of the truffle-like flavour of artichokes; it will freeze well, too. Make more green sauce than you need as well, because it is lovely on salads, with pasta or any kind of baked or fried fish. Buy lots of grapefruit (they're a great way to start January mornings after 10 days of excess), while any leftover mint, coriander and beansprouts can all go into stir-fries or clear soups with garlic, ginger and other bits and pieces you have lurking in the fridge.

Thomasina Miers is co-owner of the Wahaca group of Mexican restaurants.. Her latest book, Chilli Notes, is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £25. To order a copy for £20, go to

Follow Thomasina on Twitter


This article was originally published on The Guardian

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