Wednesday 23 November 2011

Classic Leftovers Recipes

With Thanksgiving almost upon us and Christmas only a month away, rather than the usual festive recipes I'm presenting here two traditional recipes to make the most of any leftovers after the main feast.

Below I present an adaption of a classic Francatelli recipe for a dish cooked ‘a la Gitana’ (Gypsy Style)  that, in the true spirit of Francatelli has been modified to be suitable for left-over turkey (he would have used game birds, fowl or even fish). This makes an excellent and frugal way of doing something different with left-over Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey (it was Charles Dickens, the quintessential Victorian who popularized turkey as the centrepiece of the English Christmas dinner).

Turkey Leftovers à la Gitana


400g (about) turkey leftovers, sliced
225g streaky bacon, cut into 2.5cm squares
30g butter
1 garlic cloves, sliced
2 white onions, thinly sliced
4 rip tomatoes, thinly sliced
300ml sherry
1 tsp paprika


Melt the butter in a large pan, add the turkey, bacon and garlic and fry over medium heat, turning the turkey over until it is gently browned all over. Pour off all the fat from the pan then add the onions and tomatoes.

Pour in the sherry, secure a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through. Occasionally stir or shake the pan during the cooking time to ensure the contents do not catch and burn.

Just before serving, stir in the paprika then transfer the turkey pieces to a serving dish, pour over the sauce and serve.

If you want to know more about the Victorian chef Francatelli and his recipes, then check out the page on George Francatelli and his cuisine.

The next recipe is a much more modern one:

Turkey Risotto

3 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1l turkey stock (make with the turkey bones)
400g risotto rice (eg arborio rice, carnaroli rice etc)
1 tbsp whole green peppercorns
2 tbsp butter
250g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
500g leftover turkey meat, finely chopped
1 tbsp mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped (eg thyme, sage, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, chives)
4 tbsp freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil to a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for about 3 minutes, or until soft but not coloured. Now add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes more.

In the meantime, pour the turkey stock into a pan and bring to a simmer. Stir the rice into the pan with the onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the rice is coated in the oil and looks translucent. At this point add two ladlefuls of the stock to the rice and stir well to combine before adding the green peppercorns.

Continue cooking until all the stock has been absorbed then add a further ladleful of stock. Continue cooking in this way, adding more stock as soon as the rice begins to dry out, until the rice is creamy and cooked through but is still al dente (about 20 minutes).

In the meantime, heat the remaining oil with the butter in a pan. When foaming, add the mushroom slices and fry for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Take off the heat then fold the mushroom mixture into the cooked risotto. Now add the turkey meat and fold through the rice to combine. Finally add the herbs and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and black pepper then divide the rice between four serving dishes and bring to the table.

For hundreds more recipes for leftovers, check out the Celtnet leftovers recipes page where you can find hundreds of recipes for Christmas and Thanksgiving leftovers as well as leftovers form other meals.

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