Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas Leftovers


I hope you’ve managed to resist the urge to fill your fridge and pantry to bursting point but having said that I love the fun of using up leftover bits of this and that.


Now for a few ideas…Not sure if there will be any little morsels of turkey or crispy skin left over after everyone has tucked into turkey sandwiches on Christmas evening but, if there are, strip off the carcass to make this delicious pilaff. Then pop the carcass into a pot with 2 or 3 quartered onions, same of carrots and a stick or two of celery, a sprig of thyme and a few peppercorns. If you don’t use the giblets (neck, heart and gizzard) to make a flavourful stock for the gravy, add them in to the pot. Cover the whole lot with cold water, bring to the boil, skim and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Strain and you’ll have a delicious pot of turkey broth to sip or use as a base for a stew, casserole or to make an unctuous risotto or the pilaff.

Use the turkey liver immediately while it is fresh to make this parfait and serve it in little pots with plump Pedro Ximénez raisins. It’ll make a delicious starter or can be slathered on crisp, hot toast for a snack. (Read on for the recipe).

What other leftovers? Might you have any leftover Brussel sprouts, if so trim the outsides, then half or quarter each one, blanch, drain well, toss in extra virgin olive oil and roast in a hot oven. Then toss with chorizo crumbs – so yummy. I’m loving roasted cauliflower and Romanesco florets too.

Leftover cranberry sauce keeps well so don’t fuss about using it up but do try it with some soft goat cheese. Fresh cranberries also keep well and of course freeze perfectly, otherwise throw a fistful into your salads, scones, muffins or soda bread. Maybe stew them down, add a little chopped rosemary and add them to an apple sauce to serve with a pork chop or make a ‘catch-all’ cranberry chutney.

Sprinkle left over mincemeat into a batch of scones. Serve them warm with the remainder of the brandy butter. 

What else might you have lurking in your fridge, perhaps some miscellaneous morsels of cheese? Well I’ve got just the perfect recipe, a little gem that turns leftover cheese into delicious biscuits. A perfect snack or an irresistible nibble to serve with a glass of wine.

Make breadcrumbs from left over bread and pop them into the freezer. They’ll be so useful for crumbles, stuffing or panagratto to sprinkle over stews or gratins, sweet or savoury or make a Queen of Puddings. Otherwise make a bread and butter pudding, it’s a brilliant, catch-all for all kinds of scraps, morsels of meat or smoked fish, Brussel sprouts, chard, sautéed mushrooms, chopped herbs, grated cheese… just omit the sugar for a savoury version and serve with a  good green salad.

Well, there are just a few ideas to help you to be creative with your leftovers. Meanwhile, a very Happy Christmas and New Year, hopefully you’ll manage to get a few delicious long walks in….

Turkey Liver Parfait with Pedro Ximénez Raisins


Serves 10-12 depending on how it is served.

225g (8oz) fresh organic turkey livers
2 tablespoons
200-300g (8-12oz) butter (depending on how strong the livers are)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 large clove garlic, crushed
225g (8oz) butter, cubed
freshly ground pepper
50g (2oz) of raisins or sultanas
2 tablespoons Pedro Ximénez Sherry
50g (2oz) pistachio nuts, halved

clarified or melted butter to seal

Put the raisins into a small bowl, cover with warm Pedro Ximenez and leave to soak until plump and juicy.

Wash the livers in cold water and remove any membrane or green tinged bits. Dry on kitchen paper.

Melt a little butter in a frying pan; when the butter foams add in the livers and cook over a gentle heat.  Be careful not to overcook them or the outsides will get crusty; all trace of pink should be gone.   Add the crushed garlic and thyme leaves to the pan, stir and then de-glaze the pan with brandy, allow to flame or reduce for 2-3 minutes. Scrape everything with a spatula into a food processor.  Purée for a few seconds.  Allow to cool.

Add the butter. Purée until smooth.  Season carefully, taste and add more butter.

This parfait should taste fairly mild and be quite smooth in texture. Fill into little pots or into one large terrine.   Tap on the worktop to knock out any air bubbles. Spoon a little clarified butter over the top of each little pot of pâté to seal. If serving immediately spoon the Pedro Ximénez soaked raisins and pistachio nuts on top.
Serve with brioche, crusty bread, sourdough toasts or croutes.   This parfait will keep for 4 or 5 days in a refrigerator.

Watchpoint: It is essential to cover turkey liver pate with a layer of clarified or even just melted butter, otherwise the parfait will oxidize and taste bitter and turn grey in colour.

Pilaff Rice with Turkey and Ham and Fresh Herbs

Although a risotto can be made in 20 minutes it entails 20 minutes of pretty constant stirring which makes it feel rather laboursome. A pilaff on the other hand looks after itself once the initial cooking is underway. The pilaff is versatile – serve it as a staple or add whatever tasty bits you have to hand. Beware however of using pilaff as a dustbin, all additions should be carefully seasoned and balanced.

Serves 8

25g (1oz) butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot
400g (14oz) long-grain rice (preferably Basmati)
975ml (32fl oz) homemade turkey or chicken stock
225g (8oz) diced cooked turkey
225g (8oz) diced cooked ham or bacon
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs eg. parsley, thyme, chives: optional

Melt the butter in a casserole, add the finely chopped onion and sweat for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and toss for a minute or two, just long enough for the grains to change colour. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, add the chicken stock, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a minimum and then simmer on top of the stove or in the oven 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10 minutes approx. By then the rice should be just cooked and all the water absorbed. At this stage stir in the diced turkey and ham/bacon to heat through, ensure it is piping hot. Just before serving stir in the fresh herbs if using.

Note
Basmati rice cooks quite quickly; other types of rice may take up to 15 minutes.


Roast Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo Crumbs
Serves  4-6
I first tasted roast Brussels sprouts cooked in a wood burning oven in a restaurant in San Francisco about ten years ago. My friend Mary Risley told me this new way of cooking Brussels sprouts was causing lots of excitement. I didn’t get it, but now I love them cooked this way, there’s a fine line between sweet roasted and acrid burnt, so watch them like a hawk.

(450g) 1lb Brussels sprouts
extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Chorizo crumbs to serve (see recipe)

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Mark 8.
If necessary trim the Brussels sprouts of any tough outside leaves, trim the stalk, cut into halves. Blanch in boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes. Drain well.  In a bowl drizzle the blanched sprouts with extra virgin olive oil. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, toss to coat. Transfer to a roasting tin, cook for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size, shake the pan occasionally. The sprouts should be pale golden and crisp on the outside and tender within. Sprinkle with the chorizo crumbs and transfer to a hot serving dish.

Chorizo & Parsley Crumbs

Chorizo crumbs are delicious used in so many ways.  We like to scatter them over potato, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke or watercress soup.  They are particularly good sprinkled over cauliflower or macaroni cheese.  Keep in a box in your fridge for several weeks, or freeze and scatter when you fancy!

Makes 175g (6oz)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
125g (4 1/2oz) chorizo, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
100g (3 1/2oz) coarse breadcrumbs
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Put the oil into a cool pan, add the diced chorizo.  Toss on a low heat until the oil starts to run and the chorizo begins to crisp.  Careful it’s easy to burn the chorizo, drain through a metal sieve, save the oil and return to the pan.

Increase the heat, add coarse breadcrumbs and toss in the chorizo oil until crisp and golden.  Drain and allow to cool, add to the chorizo, stir in the chopped parsley.

Doune McKenzie's Cheese Biscuits


Any bits of left over cheese eg. Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyére, Coolea, Cashel Blue … a little soft cheese may also be added but you will need some hard cheese to balance the flavour.

Weigh cheese then use equal amounts of butter and plain white flour.

Grate the cheese - rinds and all. Dice the butter.  Cream the butter and stir in the flour and grated cheese, form into a roll like a long sausage, about 4cm (1 1/2 inches) thick. Alternatively whizz in a food processor until it forms a dough, shape using a little flour if necessary. Wrap in parchment and twist the end like a Christmas cracker. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 -2 hours until solid.  

Slice into rounds - about 7mm (1/3 inch) thick.  Arrange on a baking tray, cook in a preheated oven 250ºC/475ºF/regulo 9 for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown.  

Leave to cool for a couple of seconds then transfer to a wire rack.   Best eaten on the day they are made as they soften quite quickly.

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