Top Five Creative Ways to Use Christmas Leftovers

There are loads of ways you can use Christmas dinner leftovers.

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There are loads of ways you can use Christmas dinner leftovers.

© Shutterstock

1. Turkey ramen

That annual turkey curry is the stuff of legend, but not always for the right reasons. What’s more, after the overindulgence of Christmas day, your body may well be crying out for lighter, healthier ways to use up the bird that keeps on giving. Turkey ramen would hit the spot on so many levels.

Use the carcass, any leftover gravy and perhaps even all those vegetable peelings to make a hearty broth base. Throw in some festive spices too if they didn’t all disappear into the mulled wine. The other ingredients can vary depending on what you have on hand, but ginger, miso, soy, spring onions and beansprouts would all be merrily on message.

Add your shredded turkey meat and cooked noodles, then finish with a crunchy topping, perhaps crushed peanuts or crumbled nori, as well as ideally an enlivening squeeze of lime and sprinkle of coriander leaves. If all those Christmas parties have left you with a winter cold (or is it just a common hangover?), then this is the recipe to get you up and running again in time for New Year.


Turkey ramen would hit the spot on so many levels. 

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2. Bombay potatoes

Do you sneak off to the fridge to steal just one more cold roast potato? Or do you fall into the second camp of people who find that stodgy cardboard character so unappealing that they quietly ditch any leftovers? One classic way to use up leftover roasties – not to mention any lingering sprouts or cabbage – is bubble and squeak. However, if you fancy something different this year then try looking east for inspiration.

Bombay potatoes are a favourite side dish component of an Indian feast, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t tuck into these on their own for a speedy, comforting supper on that much needed quiet night in. Simply fry up finely sliced onion, ginger and garlic, then raid the Indian section of your spice cupboard – cumin, coriander, garam masala, mustard seed and turmeric would all be perfect here.

Finally add some chopped tinned tomatoes, simmer briefly then add chopped fresh tomatoes before tipping in the roast potatoes. Give them a few minutes to warm through and absorb those other flavours, then finish with vibrant fresh coriander leaves and diced green chilli. Now dive in.


Bombay potatoes are a favourite side dish component of an Indian feast. 

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3. Spiced parsnip soup

You may find yourself deliberately over-catering on the parsnip front simply for the excuse to make this perfect winter warmer of a soup. Put some into a thermos flask and take it with you on the long, health-giving walk with family or friends that is such a restorative part of the Christmas holiday season.

Start by gently frying onions, ginger, garlic and garam masala. Stir in those parsnips – if you have leftover carrots then add them to the mix too – then pour in stock and milk, bring to the boil and simmer. If you like extra heat then finish with a sprinkle of chilli; if you’re feeling artistic and remembered to keep back those parsnip peelings then deep fry them as a crispy garnish.


Parsnip soup

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4. Ham and blue cheese croquettes

Nothing looks finer on a cheeseboard than a generous hunk of cheese. Yet few leftovers linger longer, maturing with ever more threatening pungency than that Christmas Stilton, Roquefort, Cabrales, Gorgonzola or whatever your blue cheese of choice.

Fortunately, with a little imagination, blue cheese can upcycle brilliantly into classy canapés for your New Year’s Eve party. If you treated yourself to a Boxing Day ham, then kill two birds with one stone and combine the leftovers to make a tempting platter of ham and blue cheese croquettes.

Crisp up the finely shredded ham and set aside, then stir butter, flour and milk into a white sauce before folding in crumbled blue cheese and that ham. Chill overnight so the mixture goes firm enough to roll into bite-size balls.

If you like planning ahead then freeze these until your next party. When required, roll the balls in flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs then deep fry until golden brown on the outside and gooey in the middle. Irresistible.


Ham and blue cheese croquettes

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5. Christmas pudding ice cream

Admit it, everyone’s full by the time the Christmas pudding blazes its way onto the scene. Don’t stare resentfully at the barely dented dessert, instead transform it into a refreshing, crowd-pleasing ice cream. At its simplest, this is barely even a recipe.

Just take a tub of vanilla ice cream from the freezer, soften it enough to blend in the crumbled Christmas pudding, then return the mix to the freezer. If you feel an urge to add extra embellishments, then consider serving your ice cream on a warm slice of ginger cake with a dusting of orange zest.

Other twists include the addition of extra brandy or rum, though make sure it’s not so generous that the ice cream fails to set. If vanilla feels, well, a bit too vanilla, then add festive sophistication by swapping in ginger ice cream.


Pudding ice cream

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