Don’t go cold turkey with your leftovers

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Whether you broke the wishbone at the Christmas table or took turns to have a ceremonial carve, it’s likely that a roasted turkey was the jewel in your Christmas dinner crown.

And with reports indicating that the average cost of the festive lunchtime feast is down 5% this year, there’s even more reason to peel your parsnips and get stuffed - with all the juicy trimmings, that is - to celebrate the fact our favourite meal can now boast being great value for money, too.

Undated Handout Photo of Aldi Luxury Panettone. See PA Feature FOOD Leftovers. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FOOD Leftovers.

Undated Handout Photo of Aldi Luxury Panettone. See PA Feature FOOD Leftovers. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FOOD Leftovers.

Or, at least it would be value for money - if we didn’t waste so much of it.

Research by Unilever’s #ClearAPlate campaign, which hopes to raise awareness of the paradox between food waste and food poverty in the UK, shows that we Brits will chuck out the equivalent of 263,000 turkeys, 17.2 million Brussels sprouts and 740,000 Christmas puds during the festive season.

Then there’s the 11.9 million carrots, 11.3 million roast potatoes and 10.9 million parsnips, which add up to the equivalent of an estimated 4.2 million Christmas dinners going to waste.

And when you take into account that we spend a whopping average of £112 on food for the big day, between us, that’s a colossal £64m in waste. Enough to keep us all in Quality Street until the New Year.

While it sounds logical to buy less and use up any leftovers, the unappetising reality for many of us is another round of turkey and stuffing sandwiches.

But before you start buttering that bread, help and inspiration is at hand.

With an estimated 7.9 million slices of turkey going spare after our main meal, there’s plenty of scope for getting creative.

To keep your leftovers fresh, the Love Food Hate Waste campaign (www.lovefoodhatewaste.com) suggests wrapping them up, keeping them in the fridge and scoffing them within two days.

If you’ve had your fill of stuffing to last you until Christmas 2015, you can chop up your roast dinner and freeze it to use as a delicious pie or soup filling at a later date.

So rather than scrape your dinner in the bin this Christmas, or prepare yourself for more sarnies, take a nod from these BBC Good Food recipes, which will give you plenty options and ensure you make the most out of your Christmas meal.

:: TURKEY AND POTATO CURRY

(Serves 4)

1tbsp sunflower oil

1 large onion, thickly sliced

1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped

2tbsp curry paste (or gluten-free alternative)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

400g can chopped tomatoes

300g leftover turkey, diced

300g leftover cooked potatoes (either boiled or roast), diced

2tbsp mango chutney

Salt and pepper

Small pack coriander, roughly chopped

Rice or naan bread, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan over a fairly high heat. Cook the onion and pepper for three to four minutes until starting to soften and brown slightly. Stir in the curry paste and garlic, then cook for another one to two minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and 150ml water. Bring to the boil and bubble for five minutes.

Turn the heat down, stir in the turkey and potatoes, and cook for another two to three minutes, then season and add the mango chutney. Scatter with coriander and serve with rice or naan.

:: Recipe from Good Food Magazine (December 2013)

:: LEFTOVER TURKEY CASSEROLE

(Serves 4)

2 onions, finely chopped

1 eating apple, cored and chopped

2tbsp olive oil

1tsp dried sage, or 5 sage leaves, chopped

2tbsp plain flour

300ml vegetable or chicken stock

2tbsp wholegrain mustard

2tbsp runny honey

400g-500g leftover turkey, shredded

About 350g leftover roasted vegetables like roast potatoes, parsnips, celeriacs and carrots, chunkily diced

Salt and pepper

Mash or jacket potatoes, to serve

Fry the onion and apple in the oil until softened in a casserole or deep pan. Stir in the sage for one minute, then stir in the flour. Gradually stir in the stock followed by the mustard and honey.

Bring up to a simmer and stir in the turkey and roast veg. Cover and gently simmer for 15 minutes until turkey is piping hot. Season and eat with mash or jacket potatoes.

:: Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com (December 2011)

:: CORONATION TURKEY WITH HOMEMADE CHAPATIS

(Serves 4)

1/2tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1tbsp curry powder

1/2tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander and turmeric

125ml coconut milk

125ml chicken stock

200g mayonnaise

425g leftover turkey

2tbsp desiccated coconut, toasted

Handful chopped coriander, to serve

Chopped tomato, sliced onion and lettuce leaves, to serve

For the chapatis:

350g wholemeal flour (or roti flour), plus extra for dusting

1tbsp vegetable oil

1tsp salt

Heat a saucepan and add a little vegetable oil. Fry the onion and garlic until both are lightly browned. Chuck in all the spices and let them sizzle for one minute, then add the coconut milk and the stock. Allow this to reduce until you have a thick, rich, creamy, spicy onion mixture in the pan. Pour into a bowl, leave to cool, then stir through the mayonnaise. Can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

To make the chapatis, put the flour and one teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Pour in the oil and rub into the flour with your fingertips. Pour in 250ml of lukewarm water, mix to form a firm dough, then knead for about 10 minutes until springy.

Place back in the bowl and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Cut into eight walnut-size pieces and roll out into thin discs on a lightly floured surface. Pan-fry the discs in a dry heavy-based pan for about one minute on each side. They should colour and blister - use a clean cloth to press flat in the pan while cooking.

To serve, mix the curried mayonnaise with the turkey. Toast the desiccated coconut in a dry pan until golden. Sprinkle over the turkey along with some coriander, then serve alongside the chapatis with some tomato, sliced onion and lettuce, if you like.

:: These recipes have been supplied by BBC Good Food. The December issue of BBC Good Food Magazine is on sale now, priced at £3.90