Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Christmas Leftovers

Christmas Day is my favourite day of the year and Christmas dinner is my favourite meal of the year. My best food-day of the year is Boxing Day, when the piles of leftovers (which we were sickened to look at the day before) become glorious mountains of unlimited joy.

King is the Christmas Leftover Sandwich (I capitilise it because it deserves it). It needs bread, thick slices of turkey, stuffing, a sausage wrapped in bacon, a potato if you have any left and then something sweet and lubricating like a good chutney. That is food perfection. So far I’ve had five of these.

The leftover hash comes second on the hierarchy in my opinion: squishing all the uneaten veg together and then frying it until it’s crispy on the outside. What a delight.

This year I made main and dessert from leftovers.

Christmas Risotto (aka Turkey, Stilton and Cranberry Risotto)

There is always always always turkey and stilton in the fridge in the days after Christmas. This is a good thing. The addition of cranberries is for a festive sweetness which perfectly eases through the richness of the cheese and rice.

This serves 2

  • Chicken or vegetable stock – 1 pint, maybe a little more
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • Arborio rice – 150-175g, more if you’re ravishingly hungry
  • White wine – a splosh if you have it, it isn’t essential
  • Turkey – cooked and chopped/torn into small pieces
  • Stilton, or any blue cheese – 100g, or so
  • Dried cranberries – a handful, chopped
  • Peas – a handful per person
  • Butter and olive oil – a knob and a drizzle
  • Sage and/or rosemary leaves, finely chopped (no woody stalk)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
In a deep pan, sweat the onion and garlic in butter and oil until soft, then add the sage and/or rosemary leaves and stir through for a minute. Add the rice and coat in the sweet buttery-oil juices.

In another pan you will want your stock slowly warming. Add the turkey to the stock. When the rice starts to snap, crackle and pop add the wine. If you are not adding wine then go straight to the stock, adding a ladle-full at a time and being careful to keep the turkey from falling onto the rice (we add that later, you see). Keep adding the stock, bit by bit, as the rice sucks it all up. After 10 minutes add the peas and cranberries. Add more stock until the rice is cooked (it should be soft but still have an ever-so-slight nutty ‘bite’ in the middle).

Add the cheese (and some more butter, if you like) and the turkey from the stock and cover the pan, leaving it to rest for a minute or two, in this time the cheese will melt and ooze its wonderfulness throughout. Adjust the seasoning and serve in a deep bowl with more blue cheese crumbled over the top.

I would serve Innis & Gunn Triple Matured with this, like I did with Christmas dinner, as the creaminess in the dish would work well with the buttery oak in the bottle, while the sweet bites of cranberry would compliment the beer’s sweetness. If you want something different then try Cains Fine Raisin Beer for a strong malty backbone with a kick of sweetness, or maybe a bottle of Old Crafty Hen which is oaky, rich, vinous with dried fruit sweetness and a hoppy, palate-cleansing swipe to finish.

Main course done, on to dessert and…

Christmas Pudding Ice-Cream

There’s always pudding left and there’s always cream in the fridge, plus I always keep a few cans of condensed milk ready for whenever I want to make ice cream. This is a joyfully fun recipe and the perfect way to use up any leftover pudding.

An ice-cream maker is one of the best kitchen appliances there is, it goes from nought-to-frozen in just 30 minutes, and those minutes are spent huddled around the mixing bowl, mesmerised by the unending twirls of joy and the gradual thickening of the cream. As the churn finishes, it takes all the willpower in the world not to plunge a spoon straight in and finish off the whole lot, especially as it has that just-beginning-to-soften texture that is simply irresistible. If you haven’t got an ice-cream machine then go and get one in the sales.

This makes about a litre but can easily be increased with more cream and condensed milk.
  • Leftover Christmas pud
  • A pint of double cream
  • A can of condensed milk
  • A splash of brandy (50ml, or so)

This recipe is so easy. Mix the cream and condensed milk, add a slash of brandy and drop in chunks of Christmas Pud and then churn in an ice-cream machine. Done.

Do you want a beer with this?! If you do then you’ll need something big and strong, rich and full of flavour. An Imperial Stout would work, preferably a barrel aged one. Brakspear’s Triple is another possibility or maybe a bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra. Dare I suggest that you’d be better off enjoying the ice-cream and then opening a beer? Some dishes just don’t need a beer to go with them.

And that’s how I dealt with the Christmas Day leftovers this year.

1 comment:

  1. Great recipes and some very good photos.
    I only recently found this blog but I already love it!
    Intelligent comment, great content and very well written.

    Keep it up!