Merry Christmas – Turkey tips and leftover recipes

I would just like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas, and thank everyone who has visited my recipe blog over the last year.

I hope everyone has a happy Christmas, but also spare some thought for those less fortunate, please consider making a small donation to a charity.

I have some recipes included below that will help you make some delicious meals from your left over turkey, from curries to soups – lots of ideas to make your Christmas as delicious as possible.

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Christmas dinner tips

I always have a Prawn cocktail as a Christmas starter, as it is easy to prepare and quick to assemble before serving. The cocktail sauce is based upon a recipe created by my dad and just says “Christmas” to me.

Prawn cocktail

In terms of cooking your turkey, I have my own method and have a few tips for you. Preparation is everything, I always do my preparation on Christmas eve as Christmas day is always quite busy.

I make a mixture of butter, parsley, garlic and a seasoning, then carefully lift the skin off the bird at both ends by sliding my fingers between the meat and skin – taking care not to rip the skin. I then put as much of the butter mixture as I can under the skin to flavour and moisten the meat as it cooks.

My stuffing is a mixture of sausage meat, finely diced onion, parsley, sage, egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning – all well mixed together. I stuff the neck end of the bird and then use cocktail sticks or string to tie the neck closed.

In the main cavity I stuff the turkey with half a lemon, a bulb of garlic, a onion, a carrot, a bay leaf and a stick of celery. Once the Turkey is placed on the roasting tin I add some more onion, garlic, carrot, lemon, celery, a glass of white wine and some Christmas herbs (sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme) round the bird to help flavour it and its juices.

I then rub some more of the butter mixture on the outside of the turkey, then drizzle the turkey with generous seasoning, honey, then layer streaky bacon over the top. The turkey is then covered in a foil tent, which is kept on during most of the cooking time – remove it for the last 20-25 minutes, during which baste the turkey frequently.

In terms of cooking time, these are a guide – always check juices run clear (or use thermometer) before resting the turkey.

2.7kg – 3.6kg (6-8lbs)      2 ½ – 3 ¾ hrs
3.6kg – 4.5kg (8-10lbs)    3 ¼ – 3 ¾ hrs
4.5kg – 5.4kg (10-12lbs)  3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hrs

I find this method to be full proof, and guaranteed to give you flavoursome moist turkey meat.

For gravy, I collect the roasting juices and cook with a splash of white wine, a little red current jelly and a little cornflour to thicken it.

For sides, I par boil potatoes then roast them at a high temperature in duck fat with some rosemary. I also love honey glazed carrots and parsnips roasted in duck fat with a little thyme. Along with the mandatory pigs in blankets.

 

Leftovers

The recipes below are all suitable for making great tasting meals from leftover turkey, simply add the cooked turkey meat towards the end of cooking and heat it through thoroughly before serving. Personally I find strong Asian flavours to be a great accompaniment to leftover turkey.

Please email me at theferretchef@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Asian recipes

Madras Curry with Cucumber and mint Raita

Special Makhani with Pilau Rice

Makhani with Pilau Rice

Dhal Curry

Carrot and Coriander Curry

Lentil Curry

Korean Chilli noodles

Salad with Korean Chilli dressing

Chicken noodle soup

Stir Fried Chicken and Cashew Nuts

Sweet and Sour noodles

Prawn, Sweet Peppers and Cashew Nuts

Nasi Goreng

Mee Goreng

Indonesian Curry

Thai Red curry

Thai King Prawn Curry

Laksa

 

 

European recipes

Tomato Conchiglie with creamy béchamel and crispy cheese topping

Homemade Pizza

Linguine with Roasted tomato, Garlic and Romano Pepper sauce.

 

American recipes

Mexican Soup

Carne con Chile, Red Pepper Rice and Salsa

Enchiladas with tomato and guajillo chilli sauce.

 

Soups

Boil the turkey bones in a deep pan of water along with some carrots, onions, leeks, celery, bay leaf, peas, salt and some black peppercorns – boil for 20 minutes then cover and reduce to a simmer for at least 3-4 hours.

Make sure you use plenty of water relative to the turkey as the stock can be very strongly flavoured. For example I will be using just over 2L for a medium sized turkey.

Please check out my soups menu for recipe ideas, personally I think turkey stock is best used in tomato or vegetable based soups.

Soups menu

 

Once again have a very merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Huevos Nachos

“Full Breakfast” nachos – tortilla chips with mixed beans in a spiced tomato sauce, sliced grilled chipolata sausage, fried eggs, chipotle mayonnaise, grated cheddar and a fresh delicious tomato and avocado salsa.

I started out planning to make some Huevos Rancheros but my imagination took over and I decided to experiment with this dish – I’m so glad I did. Essentially this is nachos crossed with a cooked breakfast with a Mexican twist, it may not be an authentic Mexican dish but it sure is tasty.

All the components in the dish work very well together – the crunch from the tortilla chips, the rich Smokey flavour from the beans, the creaminess of the chipotle mayo, the richness of the fried eggs, the flavour of the grilled sausage, the saltiness of the cheese and the freshness of the salsa. I hope I’m making you hungry.

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Serves Two

Preparation and cooking time 35 -40 minutes

 

Ingredients and Method

This dish involves making all of the elements and adding them together at the last minute

The spiced mixed beans

4-5 round tomatoes

1 red chilli

2 guajillo chillies

5 cloves garlic – leave skin on to dry fry

2 white onions – leave skin on to dry fry

1 yellow bell pepper

500ml chicken stock

Dash Worchester sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp smoked paprika

2tsp chipotle paste

350g mixed beans – rinse well

Salt to taste

Method: In a wide deep non stick frying pan, dry fry the tomatoes, chillies, garlic, onion and yellow pepper until they are coloured on all sides. All of these should be left in their skin. The garlic will cook quicker than the other ingredients, remove from the pan when the cloves soften. Once charred let all the ingredients cool and remove the garlic skins, onion skins and the stalks from the chillies and peppers.

Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, onions, chillies and pepper into a small blender/mini chopper and blitz until a smooth sauce is formed. Add a dash of Worchester sauce, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2tsp chipotle paste and 2tsp sugar. Blitz again until combined with the sauce.

Add the sauce to a wide deep sauce pan and add the chicken stock, stir well and bring to the boil and add the rinsed beans. Bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Ignore the instruction on the tin that they will cook in 10 minutes – its just totally wrong!

Set aside ready to add to the dish

For the salsa

3 round tomatoes -diced

1 ripe avocado – diced

1 red onion – diced

1 red chilli – seeds/stalk removed and finely diced

Juice of 1 and half limes

small handful of coriander leaf – roughly chopped

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method: gently mix all the ingredients  in a large glass mixing bowl until the sugar and salt and combined with the salsa, cover and set aside at room temperature for 20-25 minutes. Mix gently again before serving.

To complete the dish

2 portions of lightly salted corn tortilla chips – 50-75g each

4 eggs – fried at last minute, sunny side up

4-6 large chipolata sausages – oven roast at 180°c for 20-25 minutes

Chipotle mayonnaise – combined 5 tsps. mayo and 1 tsp chipotle paste

1 small red onion – diced, for garnish

3-4 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf – for garnish

25-30g grated medium cheddar cheese

lime wedge – as garnish

Plating the dish

Use wide deep bowls to plate the dish, start by adding the beans to the bottom of the dish, saving a little of the sauce as a garnish.

Layer the tortilla chips on top, then add the sausage and the salsa. Place the fried eggs on top of the nachos then complete the dish by adding the cheese, chipotle mayo, coriander and a little of the tomato sauce.

Add a lime wedge as a final garnish then serve and enjoy!

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King Prawn Dhal Curry

King prawns, potatoes and carrots in a delicious spiced lentil and tomato curry sauce.

A easy to make curry dish guaranteed to impress your friends and family – they won’t believe you didn’t pick it up from your local Indian restaurant.

Serve with choice of rice or Indian bread.

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Serves two

Preparation and cooking time around 1 hour

 

Ingredients and method

200-250g raw king prawns – devein, butterfly

100g peeled new potatoes – cut into small pieces to cook quickly

5-6 round vine tomatoes – cut into quarters

75g red spilt lentils – rinse thoroughly until water runs clear

1 medium/large carrot – peel and thinly slice into discs

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 medium size white onions – peel and dice

2 medium size red onions – peel and dice

1 small bulb of garlic – peel, crush

15-20g ginger – peel, thinly slice

1 heaped dessert spoon sliced Almond

2 bay leaves

5 cardamom pods

5 cloves

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground fenugreek

80g red split lentils – rinse thoroughly

1 tsp salt – plus extra to taste

water – see method

20-25g butter – cut into cubes

2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaf

Note: You require a stick blender (or glass blender) for this recipe

 

Method: Start by boiling the potatoes for 7-8 minutes , then drain them and set aside ready to add to the curry.

In a deep pan heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil over a medium high heat and add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. Let the oil heat until the mustard seeds start popping like popcorn. Add the onions and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions start to colour. Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, tomatoes and sliced almonds and stir through the fried onions. Next add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground turmeric, ground coriander and a quarter of  ground fenugreek. Stir well and fry the mixture for 4-5 minutes.

Next add the washed lentils and stir well, then add enough water to completely submerge the mixture (I added 2 and a half mugs of water) and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  After this remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cloves from the sauce and blend into a smooth sauce.

Add the cooked potatoes and the thinly sliced carrot (these are both cut into small pieces so they cook quickly) and gently simmer in the sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently as lentils can stick to pans and burn. Taste test the sauce – you may want to add more salt or add more water, depending upon how thick you like your sauce. If your sauce is too runny simply continue to simmer until it reduces to your preference.

When the sauce add the cubes of butter and stir them into the sauce, this will add flavour and the classic gleam to the curry sauce. Complete the dish by adding 1 tbsp. of chopped coriander and the raw king prawns – let them gently poach in the sauce and serve as soon as they turn from grey to pink.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with the rest of the chopped coriander, enjoy!

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King Prawn Linguine flavoured with Prawn and Pepper sauce.

Linguine pasta with king prawns, in a delicious sauce made from red pepper, tomato, garlic, basil, oregano, onion, flavoured with a stock made from the prawn heads and shells.

In this dish I use a simple stock made from prawn shells and heads to get every bit of flavour from the prawns. This is added to a flavour base (red pepper, garlic, tomato, basil, oregano, tomato pure, olive oil and onion) and cooked down to intensify the flavour. The sauce is completed with seasoning and a little sugar for sweetness. The raw prawns are gently cooked in the sauce, then the pasta is added to the sauce for the final few minutes of cooking, then finished with a little lemon juice.

I am really proud of this recipe and hope you like it as much as I do. Its very easy to make and certain to impress friends and family.

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Serves two

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 12-15 minutes

 

Ingredients and method

150g good quality dried linguine – cook as per packet instructions to al dente 

250-300g Raw whole King Prawns – see method

250-300ml water

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

1 red bell pepper – remove stalk and seeds

1 large beef tomato – remove core

12 basil leaves – plus a few extra for a garnish

1 medium size red onion – peel

4 large garlic cloves – peel, crush

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp. tomato pure

1 tsp brown sugar

Freshly ground black pepper – see method

Salt to taste – season at end once stock has reduced

Juice of half a lemon – cut other half into wedges to serve

You require a mini chopper of food processor for this recipe

 

Method: Begin by removing the shells and heads from the raw prawns, devein the prawns and set aside.

Pour 250-300ml of water into a sauce pan and bring to the boil, add the prawn shells and heads and simmer for 10-15 minutes until stock has reduced to 200ml. Unlike stocks from vegetables or animal bones stocks made from shellfish absorb all the flavour very quickly. Once reduced set aside ready to add to the dish.

Make the flavour base by adding the red pepper, basil, oregano, garlic, tomato, tomato pure, onion and olive oil to the mini chopper, blend until a smooth sauce is formed. Set aside ready to add to the pan.

Cook the pasta as per packet instructions (around 10-12 minutes), as soon as this starts begin to cook the pasta sauce. Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the blended sauce, stir frequently and cook for 5 minutes to bring out all the flavours in the sauce. Take care not to burn the sauce and if it begins to catch on the pan add a little of the prawn stock to loosen it.

Next add the prawn stock to the pan, stir well, increase heat to bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a tsp of brown sugar and a generous amount of black pepper, do not add any salt until the dish is reduced. Keep simmering and stirring occasionally until sauce has reduced in half (should take 4-5 minutes), then taste test and add salt to taste.

Once the pasta is cooked drain it and set it aside ready to add to the pan.

Add the raw prawns to the simmering sauce and gently stir until they change from grey to pink (60-90 seconds), take care not to overcook them. I would recommend deliberately undercooking them here as they will finish cooking as you add the pasta.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and gently stir the sauce through the pasta and cook for 1 minute. Finish the dish by adding  juice of half a lemon and stir through to lift the sauce.

Serve immediately and garnish with a few torn basil leaves.

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Roasted Marinated Chicken with Tomato Curry and Toasted Almonds

Oven roasted Chicken on the bone marinated in yogurt, spices and garlic. Served with a delicious medium spicy tomato based curry sauce and garnished with toasted almonds.

I love it when you design a recipe and it tastes just as you had hoped, this is definingly one of those occasions. The roasted chicken on the bone marinated in yogurt, garlic, turmeric, chilli, fennel seeds and garam masala is wonderfully moist and flavoursome. The medium spicy curry sauce made from tomato, onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, mustard seeds, cardamom, cloves and some butter is the perfect accompaniment to the chicken. A garnish of coriander leaf and some toasted almonds complete this dish.

Serve with choice of rice or Indian breads.

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Serves Two

Preparation time 15 minutes (plus 2-3 hours for marinating chicken)

Cooking time 35 minutes

 

Ingredients and method

For the marinated chicken:

2 large chicken thighs, on the bone – remove skin and membrane

6-8 dessert spoons Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp salt

3 cloves garlic – thinly sliced

Method: Combine the yogurt, garlic, salt and spices in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and mix well until covered in the marinade, cover bowl and put in a fridge for at least two hours (overnight is even better).

To cook the chicken, remove the bowl from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature. Heat your oven to 200°c, place the marinated chicken in a roasting tin and cook for 35 minutes. Rest the chicken for 5 minutes before serving.

For the curry sauce:

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 large round tomatoes – quarter

5 cloves garlic – peel, crush

Root ginger (thumb sized) – peel and thinly slice

2 bay leaves

2 large red chillies – remove stalks and seeds

2 small red onions – peel, dice

2 medium white onions

5 cardamom pods

5 cloves

15-20g flaked almonds – for sauce, extra below for garnish

1 tbsp.  brown sugar

Water – see method below

20g unsalted butter –  cut into cubes

Salt – to taste

Handful of almond flakes –  toast in a dry hot frying pan until coloured on both sides

Handful of coriander leaf – roughly chop

Method: Start by heating the vegetable oil over a medium high heat, add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to pop (like pop corn). Add the onions and fry for 4-5 minutes until they soften and colour. Next add the bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, chilli, ginger, garlic, flaked almonds and tomatoes. stir well and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add water to the pan, enough to cover the mixture (around 200ml), bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 – 12 minutes.

Once the mixture has simmered remove the bay, cardamom and cloves.  Use a stick or standalone blender to blitz sauce until smooth. You may wish to add a little extra water depending upon how thick you like your curry sauce, take care not to add too much as it will dilute the flavour.

Bring the smooth sauce to a simmer then add 1 tbsp. sugar and season with salt to taste (I used 1 tsp salt), stir until dissolved into the sauce. Add the cubes of butter and stir as they melt into the sauce, they will bring the classic gleam to your sauce as well as adding flavour. Once the butter is melted into the sauce it is ready to serve.

To serve ladle the sauce into the serving plate, place chicken on top then garnish with toasted almonds and chopped coriander.

 

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Thai King Prawn Red curry

Delicious curry made with a fresh homemade curry paste, with King Prawns, green beans and Thai herbs.

Like all good Thai curries the secret is using a fresh homemade paste. Don’t use the ones in jars from the supermarket, they simply don’t have the flavour. This recipe gives enough paste for two meals, simply store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze it – it defrosts well and doesn’t loose its flavour. I will feature a number of other recipes using this paste in the coming weeks.

The dish itself is very quick and easy to cook and will bring back those memories of Bangkok or sitting on a perfect Thai beach. I wish I was there now!

Serves two people

Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time approx. 15 minutes

Ingredients and method

For the curry paste

8 cloves garlic – peeled

thumb of ginger – peeled and slice thinly

2 large red chillies – remove stalk, keep seeds

4 red bird eye chillies – remove stalk keep seeds

Zest and juice of 1 lime

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tsp tamarind paste

2 tsp shrimp paste

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. coriander stalks

4 dessert spoons brown sugar

3 dessert spoons desiccated coconut

6 black peppercorns

2 sticks lemongrass – bruise, remove outer husk, slice thinly

Handful of peanuts

8-10 Thai basil leafs – remove stalk

2 lime leafs

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

Method: Use a mini chopper, food processor or mortar and pestle to pound into a smooth paste. Slicing ginger and lemongrass beforehand makes it much easier to form a smooth paste. Once a smooth paste has been formed separate into two even portions. As mentioned above the spare portion can be frozen or stored in an airtight refrigerated container for up to 5 days.

For the main dish

2 portions of jasmine rice – cook as per packet instructions

200g raw King prawns –  shell and head removed

200ml coconut milk

150ml water

70g fine green beans – cut into 4-5cm batons

2 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf

4 spring onions (white part only) – slice diagonally into 4cm lengths

8-10 Thai basil leafs – remove stalk

1 lime – cut into wedges to garnish

Method: Start by frying the paste in a non stick pan, as there is oil in the paste there should be no need to add extra, if paste sticks to pan loosen with a little water rather than adding oil. As the rice takes a similar time start to cook it now as per packet instructions. Fry paste for 4-5 minutes until the paste moves round pan as a single mass, take care not to let paste stick to pan and burn. Add the coconut milk and the water and stir well until fully combined, bring to boil and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the green beans and the spring onion and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the raw king prawns to the sauce and poach them, bring back to a simmer and continue to cook until the prawns change from grey to pink. Remove from heat and serve immediately along with the cooked jasmine rice. Garnish the dish with the coriander, Thai basil and lime wedges.

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