If you’re anything like the standard Australian family, chances are, you’ll well and truly over cater come Christmas Day. From the Christmas ham, to the turkey, to the beef, from the oysters and prawns to the cheeses and salads, and from the Christmas puddings to the pavlovas, there is certain food that’s considered “traditional”. While it’s lovely to have a taste of it all, you’ll no doubt end up with a mountain of leftovers.
If you find yourself with leftovers, get creative! Christmas leftovers can be the perfect bases for a whole range of exciting dishes, from rice paper rolls to savoury bread and butter pudding. And with Boxing Day named National Leftover Day, it’d be a shame not have some left for at least one day!
Here’s a look at just a few of the clever ways you can make the most of Christmas leftovers:
If you have a glazed ham, cover the cut end with greaseproof paper and a clean tea towel before refrigerating. Glazed hams will keep up to a week.
You can strip the ham bone of excess meat and put it in the freezer for use in soups later.
Corn and ham fritters: For a beautiful Boxing day brunch, try combining flour, sugar, eggs, milk, ham, corn, capsicum and chives together to create delicious corn and ham fritters. Serve with roasted vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, rocket and a mix of sour cream and sweet chilli. Find the full recipe here.
Ham, egg and cheese bread and butter pudding: This can easily be made up the night before and then quickly popped in the oven upon waking Boxing Day morning. Combine 3 cups of day-old French bread with ham, cheese, spring onion, parsley, fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
Whisk together 3 eggs and a cup of milk and pour over bread mix. Pour mixture into a deep oven-proof dish, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. Take out of fridge 30 minutes before cooking, sprinkle with more cheese and then bake for 40 minutes at 180°C.
Turkey should be sliced and stored in a container ready to go in the fridge no more than one hour after cooling. It should last 3-4 days or can be frozen for up to two months. Turkey leg bones can be used in stocks for risottos and soups.
Rice paper rolls: Place some thinly sliced snow peas and 50g vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Remove snow peas after 1 minute and refresh with cold water. Drain noodles after 5 minutes.
Soften rice paper sheets in warm water and fill with shredded turkey, matchstick carrots, snow peas, noodles, chopped peanuts and mint leaves. Serve with sweet chilli sauce or a hoisin/peanut sauce. Read the full recipe here.
Turkey stir-fry: For an easy and quick dinner, mix some cornflour and water to make a paste, before adding soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and brown sugar. In a wok, fry off 50g of pine nuts then set aside. Add onion, ginger, asparagus, spring onion and carrot to the wok. Add turkey for final minute of frying then add sauce. Bring to the boil, add pine nuts and then serve over rice or noodles.
People are often skeptical about keeping seafood, but providing you store it properly, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it up to two days later. It also makes for some great fast, yet tasty meals.
Prawn and noodle salad: Australians eat a massive 4,000 tonnes of prawns over Christmas – and some of those are bound to be leftover. For a lovely summer recipe that uses already cooked prawns, try making a miso dressing from rice wine vinegar, white miso paste, soy sauce, caster sugar and fresh ginger. Pour over pre-cooked soba noodles, a thinly sliced nori sheet, spring onion, lebanese cucumber strips, avocado and prawns.
Fish tacos: Dust the leftover fish with a little cumin, lime juice and black pepper then fry quickly to reheat. Smear some warm tortillas with leftover guacamole, then flake fish on top. Top with some grated cheese, a mango salsa, diced tomato and a squeeze of lime.
Fromage Fort: Fromage fort is the ultimate way to use up leftover cheese and consists of Camembert, Brie, Swiss, blue cheese, goats cheese (just about anything that’s left on the cheese platter) mixed together in a food processor with a leek broth, some white wine and garlic. It’s delicious served with crackers or melted onto toast.
Stilton butter: Mix stilton (or any other crumbly cheese) with an equal amount of soft butter, add a few grinds of black pepper and any herbs you have lying around. Spoon onto a piece of foil, roll it into a sausage shape then pop it in the freezer. Whenever you’re having a steak or a jacket potato, simply cut off a slice and let it melt into it. Top with some crispy bacon for even more yumminess.