chefs’ tips for using up holiday leftovers

‘Tis the season of excess so we asked our chefs for their favourite ways to use up the inevitable Christmas leftovers. You might be surprised by some of the answers which include turkey and peanut butter and a summery prawn bisque but somehow omit the obligatory turkey curry. Here’s to keeping the holiday spirit strong through to Boxing Day.

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This breakfast bomb is a winner for sure: turkey, ham (if available) and stuffing all served on a toasted English muffin with a fried egg. And the best part – gravy smothered on top. After that, it’s time for a beer or a nap.

If you have roast beef, cut it up into small chunks and make it into a potato and onion hash. I make my own hash by sautéing onions and using leftover baked potatoes (if no baked potato, peel one potato and grate it on a box grater). Sauté the onions with thyme, oregano, black pepper, ground coriander, cayenne and nutmeg – using butter of course. Once the onions are soft, take them out and crisp up the pieces of potato, then add the beef. Cook it all together for two minutes and slightly smash the potatoes. Add in the onions and mix thoroughly. Gravy is optional depending on how lethargic you are feeling by that point. Fried eggs are a must on this one.

-Billy Otis, Artemis & Apollo

I’m from Australia so we normally have prawns leftover rather than roast meats from Christmas dinner. I peel them and use the shells to make an amazing summery bisque.

-James Harrison, La Vache!

My family and friends usually have a big gathering for Christmas and the next day we eat turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce. This is going to sound gross to some but my secret ingredient is crunchy peanut butter.

-Tony Ferreira, Black Sheep Restaurants

Christmas lunch should be enjoyed with the family. I like to turn all of the Christmas leftovers into a mushy bubble and squeak. Put the roast meat trimmings, roast potatoes, vegetables and the gravy into a large pot, and cook it down until it becomes slightly caramelised at the bottom of the pot. Then ladle it all up, along with all of the crispy bits. It has to be served in a bowl topped with a fried egg and eaten with only a spoon. The result: the flavours of a roast in one bite that’s sticky, crispy and I like the word, mushy.

-Luke Barry, Stazione Novella

Coming from a large family, our holiday dinners have always been a big deal, filled with an abundance of food and copious bottles of wine. Turkey is a staple on the holiday menu. To feed the 30+ members of my extended family, every year we’ve had to have at least three turkeys on the table on Christmas Eve. That leaves three turkey carcasses to deal with on Christmas Day. How to feed 30 people and use up some turkey bones? Make turkey noodle soup, of course. Take all the leftover bones and create a stock. The turkey broth is surprisingly light. We always have a variety of noodles from rice vermicelli to flat rice noodles or Chinese wheat noodles. Add leftover shredded turkey meat and top with garlic and shallot oil, scallions and chilli. Another great reason to gather around the family table.

-Steve Nguyen, Chôm Chôm

My tip for holiday leftovers? Don’t leave any!

-Andrée Lefuel, Artemis & Apollo

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Now that you’ve dealt with the holiday leftovers, here are some more ways to use up surplus scraps: read about bunny chow or try our kothu recipe. Let us know your favourite holiday leftover tips in the comments below.

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