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!

 

 

 

Blue Swimming Crab with Spiced Paella Rice

Spiced tomato based Paella rice dish with chunks of blue swimming crab

This recipe, like many good recipes came from me experimenting with store cupboard ingredients and some leftover fresh ingredients. I wished to make a rice dish which was distinctly different from classic rice dishes such as risotto, paella and jambalaya. I am so happy with the results I have decided to share this recipe with you, in the hope you will give it a try.

The flavour base of the dish comes from a fried mixture of chilli, bell pepper, garlic, celery and red onion. This is softened then rice is added along with a spice mixture, this is fried and gently stirred until each grain is coated. White win is then added and cooked off followed by diced tomato flesh, stock, a little water herbs and seasoning. The rice is simmered until it has softened and the juices have almost been cooked off. For the last few minutes chunks of blue swimming crab are carefully placed on top, the steam and residual heat gently warms the crab through. Just before serving the crab is gently stirred through the rice using the back of a wooden spoon, to ensure the chunks don’t break up and get lost in the rice.

I think this dish is a real winner, its simple to cook with a simply fantastic flavour.

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Serves two people

preparation 15 minutes, cooking time 35-40 minutes

Ingredients and method

150-170g Blue swimming crab chunks (from tin)  – drain before adding to rice

2 large red chillies – remove stalk/seeds, finely dice

1 yellow bell pepper – finely diced

4 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

2 sticks celery – finely diced

2 red onions – finely diced

150g Paella rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

75ml dry white wine

6 round tomatoes – remove skin and seeds, then dice

500ml chicken stock

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1.5 tsp smoked sweet paprika

Pinch saffron

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

150-200ml water

2 tsp brown sugar

Generous handful coriander leaf – roughly chop, half for dish, half for garnish

Lime wedges – for garnish

Sea salt and black pepper – for grinding

 

Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep flat frying pan then add then chopped chilli, garlic, celery, red onion and yellow bell pepper. Fry over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.

Add the rice then add the spice mixture – 1 tsp cumin, coriander, chilli and 1.5tsp smoked paprika. Stir well until the rice, spices and fried mixture is combined and each grain of rice is coated. Fry and gently stir for 1-2 minutes until all liquid in the pan is absorbed by the rice then pour in the white wine and stir gently until it is cooked off.

Once the wine is cooked off add the diced tomato flesh, 500ml chicken stock and a generous pinch of saffron. Next add 1 tsp dried oregano, basil and parsley, 2 tsp brown sugar, 150ml water , half the chopped coriander and sprinkle of salt (not too much as there is salt in the stock) and a generous amount of ground black pepper. Gently stir, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the liquid is nearly cooked off and the rice is plump and tender. If the rice is not ready simply add an extra 50ml water, stir through and give it an extra 5-10 minutes.

Once the liquid is nearly cooked off add the crab chunks along with a little more chopped coriander, place across the surface of the rice as it simmers away allowing the steam to warm the crab through. Once the liquid has been fully cooked off use the back of a wooden spoon and very gently fold the crab through the dish. Serve with a garnish of coriander leaf and lime wedges.

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Spiced Chicken and Rice

Chicken on the bone, with paella rice, vegetables, herbs, spices and garlic mayonnaise. A true one pot wonder.

It was a little hard to name this dish and really “spiced chicken and rice” doesn’t really do it any justice. This really is absolutely delicious, if I don’t say so myself! I wanted to make a dish like paella but with a very different flavour. I am very happy with the results and cant wait to cook this again, I hope you like it too!

The dish uses chicken wings with the skin removed, cooked on the bone this gives the chicken flavour and keeps the meat moist as the dish cooks. You could substitute wings for thighs or legs, but I think wings work best.

The wings are browned in a pan before adding a mixture of onion, garlic, red pepper, celery and red chilli. This is fried until the vegetables start to soften then a little sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin and chilli powder is added then stirred through the vegetables. Paella rice is added and stirred through the mixture to coat every grain in the flavour base. A glass of white wine is added then cooked off, followed by some tomato paste, chicken stock and a little water. The heat is turned down and the dish is left to simmer until the rice is cooked. The dish is garnished with some freshly chopped coriander, lime wedges and a generous drizzle of garlic mayonnaise.

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 Serves two

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients and method

500g chicken wings – skin and connective tissue removed

4 cloves garlic – peeled, crushed and finely chopped

2 medium sized red onions – finely diced

1 red pepper – finely diced

150g Paella rice

125ml dry white wine

1 tsp Smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp. olive oil

500ml chicken stock – keep hot to add to rice

175ml water – add extra if liquid cooks off before rice is ready

2 tsp tomato paste

Black pepper – to taste

Salt – to taste

3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf –  add to dish and for garnish

4 lime wedges – garnish

Garlic mayonnaise – in squeeze bottle to drizzle over dish

Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide deep frying pan, then add the chicken wings and brown over a medium high heat. Once chicken is browned add the celery, garlic, onion, chilli and red pepper, stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chilli powder, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tsp of brown sugar and stir through the vegetables. Next add the paella rice and stir well until each grain is coated in the spice mixture, then add a glass of wine and stir until it is cooked off. Add 2 tsp of tomato paste and stir through the rice then add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander, 500ml chicken stock and 175ml water. Gently stir through the rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave uncovered for around 25-30 minutes until the rice is cooked. If required you can add a little extra water and cook for longer if rice is not ready, the chicken will only get more tender and fall off the bone delicious. Before serving check the rice for seasoning then add salt and pepper to taste. Complete the dish by adding lime wedges, sprinkling coriander, then drizzling a generous amount of garlic mayonnaise over the dish.

 

Turmeric, Chilli and Lime Salmon with Lentil Dahl curry and Pilau rice

Salmon fillets, marinated in lime and turmeric then pan-fried. Served with a Dahl style lentil curry and pilau rice. Garnished with some sliced tomato, red onion and coriander.

This dish may look a little yellow, but don’t let that fool you – this is one of best curries I have designed in a while.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 50-60 minutes

Ingredients

For the salmon:

2 skinless salmon fillets

Juice of two limes

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 red bird eye chilli – thinly sliced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil – to fry salmon

Method: In a bowl mix the turmeric, sliced chilli and lime juice. Put salmon in bowl and give a god coating on all sides. Put in a fridge for at least an hour before cooking (best 2-3 hours) and remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature. The marinade will change the salmon from pink to yellow and infuse it with a wonderful flavour. To cook, heat two tablespoons of oil in a wide frying pan over a medium high heat. Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes on each side then remove and place on absorbent paper to drain before serving.

For Dahl curry

125g red lentils – washed thoroughly

2 -3 round tomatoes – remove skin and seeds

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large white onion

3-4 cloves garlic

1 green chilli – thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon ground asafoetida

1 teaspoon salt – extra to taste

water

8-10 curry leafs

Garnish – 1 sliced tomato, 1 sliced red onion and chopped coriander

Method: Start by heating the oil in a deep pan over a medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry until the begin to start to pop then add the onion, chilli, tomato and the garlic. Fry for 3-4 minutes then add the turmeric, stir well and fry for an additional minute then add the washed lentils and stir well. Add enough water to completely cover the lentils and bring to a simmer. Add the curry leafs , a  teaspoon of salt and the asafoetida , stir well,  and reduce heat to a simmer for 50 minutes, checking each 10 minutes and adding extra water as the lentils thicken and water cooks off. The dish is ready when the lentils break down and the sauce is at your chosen consistency. Before serving taste for seasoning and add additional salt to your taste. Add some sliced tomato, red onion and coriander as a garnish to the dish when served.

Pilau rice

150 basmati or long grain rice – rinsed thoroughly
1 white onion – diced
2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
15g butter
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
Bay leaf
Pinch saffron
Chicken stock – twice the volume of the rinsed rice

You require a medium to large pan with a tight-fitting lid (glass is best)
Method: melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat then add the onion, garlic and all the spices. Stir and fry for around 4 minutes until the onion softens and the spices become aromatic. Add the rice and stir through until the rice is fully coated and the mixed through the spiced onion mixture. Add twice the volume of stock to the volume of rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and leave on a low heat. Let the rice drink the stock as it cooks, it should take around 10 minutes for the rice to fully absorb the stock. Once stock is fully absorbed carefully remove pan lid and fluff rice with a fork before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Nasi Goreng

Indonesian fried rice dish with King Prawns, vegetables and a fried egg.

I visited Bali in 2014 as part of my honeymoon and had this dish several times as I liked it so much. The best version I had was at “Breeze” the excellent beach side restaurant at The Samaya hotel in Seminyak, on which I base this recipe.

The flavour in this dish comes from a wonderful curry paste like so many South East Asian dishes. This is fried in hot oil before adding some sliced carrot, chillies and red onion. Pre cooked jasmine rice is added next, which is best cooked in advance and kept in fridge for 1-2 hours – it just tastes better. Cooked prawns are then added with light soy, ketchup manis, tomato paste, peanuts and onion flakes which are stirred through the rice. Chopped coriander leaf, fresh tomato and cucumber slices are added and stirred through the rice. The dish is then served with the essential fried egg on top.

The recipe for the paste below gives two portions, the leftover half can either be frozen or stored in fridge in an airtight jar for up to seven days. You can use this same recipe to make the noodle version Mee Goreng or use the paste as a base for a curry then add coconut milk to make a sauce.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients

For Nasi Goreng paste:

1 tsp black peppercorns

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Handful peanuts

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp turmeric

2 white onions – peeled

Thumb of root ginger – peeled, roughly chop 

2 stalks lemon grass – discard outer husks, thinly slice 

6 cloves garlic – peel

2 large red chillies

1 tsp shrimp paste

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

1 Tbsp Ketchup manis

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Method: Use a min blender to blitz into a smooth paste. Chopping the tough ingredients before blending helps make a smooth paste. Only use half for this recipe, the remainder can be frozen or stored in the fridge (see notes above).

For the dish:

2 portions of pre cooked Jasmine rice – best stored in fridge for 1-2 hours

Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp for dish plus extra to shallow fry prawns and fry egg

12-18 raw King prawns – devein and butterfly 

1 carrot – cut into thin batons

4 birds eye chilies – keep whole

1 red onion – cut into thin strips

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. ketchup manis

1 tbsp. light soy sauce

2-3 tbsp. peanuts

2-3 tbsp. onion flakes

5cm cucumber – slice and quarter

2 round tomatoes – cut into eighths 

Handful coriander leaf – roughly chopped

2 eggs – fried sunny side up

Method: Start by cooking the Prawns by shallow frying in very hot oil, this method is quick and helps to seal in the juices, as soon as they start to turn from grey to pink remove them from the oil and drain on absorbent paper. Next heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or deep-frying pan until smoking hot, add the curry paste and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrot, onion and birds eye chillies and fry for a further minute then add the rice. Stir fry the rice until it fully breaks up and combines with the paste then add the pre cooked prawns. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, ketchup manis and light soy sauce and stir into the rice until combined then add the onion flakes and peanuts. Stir fry for a further minute until dish is heated through. Add the coriander, tomatoes and cucumber, stir through the dish then turn off the heat. In a separate pan add a little oil and quickly fry 2 eggs sunny side up. Serve immediately with the fried egg on top of the rice.

 

 

 

 

Thai Pork Schnitzel with red curry sauce

A breaded pork schnitzel fried in lemongrass flavoured oil, served on a bed of jasmine rice and covered in a red curry sauce.

Delicious crispy on the outside and juicy inside pork goes so well with a flavoursome red curry sauce. The curry sauce is a well balanced mixture of 22 ingredients!

A fusion of Austrian and Thai cuisine. My photos really don’t do this fantastic dish any justice – it was truly delicious. Please give it a try and you will see!

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Serves two people

preparation time 20 minutes, cooking 20 minutes

 

Ingredients

approx 390g Pork fillet – see instructions below

2 portions of rice – I used Jasmin but basmati or long grain also works

2 lime wedges – to serve

1 egg – lightly beaten in a bowl

flour – in a bowl to coat pork

Panko breadcrumbs – in a bowl to coat pork

2-3 sticks lemon grass – bruise with rolling pin

vegetable oil to shallow fry – 3-4cm depth in frying pan

Salt and pepper – to lightly season flour

For the pork – Cut in half, fold each half in parchment paper then using a rolling pin beat the pork fillet until it is flat and tender, so it is around 2cm thick. Give it a good beating as this will also tenderise the meat. Once flat coat each piece in flour, then dip in the egg then into the breadcrumbs making sue all sides are coated in breadcrumbs. Then dip back into the egg then back into the breadcrumbs, double dipping helps ensure a nice coating. Cover and set aside ready for cooking.

For the curry sauce:

100ml coconut cream – do not add this to the paste

2 sticks lemon grass – bruise, inner part only

Thumb ginger – peel, chop to make forming paste easier

Bulb garlic

3 large red chillies

1 medium red onion

3 Tbsp cashew nuts

3 lime leafs

1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

3 green cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 tsp crushed chillies

2 dessert spoon brown sugar

1 desert chilli paste

3 dessert spoons desiccated coconut

2 Tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp shrimp paste

4 black peppercorns

3 dessert spoons vegetable oil

Method: Use a mini blender (or mortar and pestle) to form a smooth curry paste from the ingredients – do not add the coconut cream to the paste.

 

Cooking instructions

  1.  Start by making the curry sauce as this can be heat through just before serving. In a wok  and fry the curry paste over a high heat for 7-8 minutes, until it is aromatic and moves round an as a single mass. Many Thai chefs will fry the curry paste until it starts to split from the oil.
  2. Add the coconut cream, saving a small amount to drizzle over the final dish. Stir well then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Cook rice as per packet instructions.
  4. Heat oil (approx 3cm deep) in a large flat frying pan. Place the lemon grass sticks in the oil as it heats so it flavours the oil. Heat over a high heat until the oil is sizzling hot and keep hob on high throughout the cooking.
  5. Add the pork schnitzle to the oil (lay it away from you to avoid oil splashes) and fry on each side for approx 3 minutes until the panko is golden brown and crispy. Remove the pork from the oil and drain on absorbent paper.
  6. Heat the curry sauce through. Place a bed of rice on the plate, the schnitzle on top then pour some sauce over the top. Serve with a wedge of lime and enjoy!