Sauce Loves… Chef Christmas Leftover Tips

Sauce Loves Leftovers tips Francesco Mazzei

The festive period usually means that there is an abundance of food around and what better way to save some pennies than to make use of all leftovers. To help you keep creative we have put together a round-up of some top chef leftover tips for you this Christmas…

Tom Aikens, founder at Tom’s Kitchen

Tom Aikens

“For me, seeing so many vegetables go to waste each day is criminal, just because a few outer leaves are bruised or the stalks are soft, it does not mean they are destined for the bin. My favourite use of old tired looking vegetables is a good old British vegetable curry, which can of course get funked up as much as you like.  Cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut, fennel, carrot, courgette, cabbage – anything goes! Made with a meat or veg stock, coconut milk, natural yogurt whatever takes your fancy. But then all the spices you can use is endless, cumin, caraway, turmeric, coriander, mace, fenugreek, mustard seeds, add some toasted seeds from nigella, sesame, pumpkin, sprouted grains…. Add some red lentils or old fruit like banana apple or mango…, it all works and because you are cooking with vegetables it doesn’t require a lengthy time of cooking…” 

Jason Atherton, The Social Company

Jason Atherton

“I would take all of the leftover vegetables (apart from the Brussels as it never works with those), grate all of them, mix with flour and egg and a little smoked paprika, slice the potatoes and then layer the whole thing up in a non-stick frying pan. Then add the egg mixture and bake in the oven till golden. Slice into 8 and serve with a mixed salad with Dijon dressing” 

Massimo Bottura – taken from his new book, Bread is Gold (Phaidon)

Massimo Bottura

“Turkey broth is fantastic as a stock to add to risottos, thicken soups and as a base for delicious passatelli (clear soup with pasta). I roast the turkey bones on a large baking sheet with onions (skin and all), green carrot tops and parsley for about 45 mins on 180oC, checking them every 10 minutes or so to make sure they don’t burn. I turn them over half way through to ensure an even roasting. When roasted I put the bones into a pot and cover with cold water. I add fresh onions (no peel this time!), more carrots and celery and if I have a spare parmigiana reggiano rind lying around – add that in too! That simmers on a medium low heat for 40 minutes, the bones and veg taken out, then it’s ready to be used or frozen for later use.”

Theo Randall, Theo Randall at the InterContinental

Theo Randall

“One of my favourite ways to use up Christmas left overs is making a good stock from the bones and carcass of the Turkey, Goose or Duck and then using that to make a risotto. If you have some chestnuts, chop them finely and add to the risotto with some butter and Parmesan. Make a little extra risotto and roll the left overs into balls, cover them in some flour, beaten egg then roll in breadcrumbs and shallow fry to make arancini. Serve these with a glass of prosecco with a slice of orange peel for a delicious after Christmas treat. “

James Durrant – Executive Chef at The Game Bird, The Stafford London

James Durrant

“Save all the leftovers from your roast meat, vegetables, the lot! Chop it all up on a board then into a hot frying pan. Fry it for 5 -6 minutes, stirring all the time then add a splash of gravy. Reduce, then serve into bowls topped with a fried egg or gratinate with cheese for the best bubble and squeak ever. This is a boxing day treat in our house!”

Richard Bertinet, founder of Bertinet Kitchen

Richard Bertinet

“I always teach my students to use every last crumb of their bread. Stale bread is great for toast but on the rare occasions that we have any bread left over, we blitz it into breadcrumbs which can be used in so many dishes but at Christmas are essential for making good stuffing for leftover turkey sandwiches.”

Francesco Mazzei – Chef Patron at newly opened Fiume, also Radici and Sartoria

Paul HoodFrancesco Mazzei

“For something really easy, make a salad with green leaves and watercress adding leftover turkey flesh, all dressed with oil, lemon juice, honey and mustard, then serve with a soft-boiled egg. Or go for a turkey kebab, mince the turkey leftovers and add avocado, mozzarella, mayo, salt & pepper and chilli. Heat a soft, thin flatbread (like a tortilla) in the oven until warm and then place the mixture in the centre of the flatbread. Roll and enjoy.”

Paul Hood, Chef Patron at The Social Company’s Social Eating House


“To use up left over Brussel sprouts and chestnuts, I like to make a delicious risotto. To do this I blanch 500g Carnaroli risotto rice for 7 mins in well-seasoned water flavoured with garlic, thyme and bay leaves and then chill on tray in the fridge until needed. I then finely slice the 500g brussels sprouts and sweat them down in butter until soft – the same applies if you’re using already cooked sprouts from Christmas Day itself. Roast 250g chestnuts, then de-shell and roughly chop. In a saucepan place the rice, add a little chicken stock and cook, continuing to add more stock until cooked and a little chestnut puree to thicken. When the rice is almost cooked, add mascarpone cheese, grated parmesan and a little butter all to taste and finish with the sautéed Brussels and roasted chestnuts. In another pan, sauté 250g wild mushrooms with some diced shallots and garlic and a couple of handfuls of blanched brussels sprout leaves – serve on top of the risotto.”

Billy and Jack, MasterChef runners up

Billy and Jack

“We love Christmas left overs as much as Christmas lunch itself. We can’t wait to dig into all the lovely bits and pieces to make bubble and squeak, hash or truly decadent cheesy roast potatoes!”

Tom Duffill, Exec Chef at Rocket Food

Tom Duffill

“The leftovers are almost the best part of Christmas! Leftover turkey and vegetables are perfect for a showpiece pithivier which is delicious with a garden vegetable salad and agridolce dressing. In our house, it’s a bit of a tradition to cook our leftover honey glazed gammon in cider or alternatively serve it with spiced oranges and a lovely bitter leaf salad. Or what we call a Bird’s Nest Potato, baked potato hollowed out, cheese and butter, put back into the case, crack an egg and back in the oven. Delicious with shavings of English truffle if you want a little more lux”

A note on wine from Victoria Moore – extracted from The Wine Dine Dictionary, published by Granta Books

Victoria Moore The Wine Dine Dictionary

“Now is the time to pull out the aromatic pinot gris that goes so well with turkey and trimmings, but that you didn’t feel like drinking on Christmas Day itself. Suddenly, the day after the excess, a gently perfumed, chilled white, perhaps off-dry (yes – sugar is always a welcome hangover aid), is much more appealing. Of course, if you’ve got Christmas dinner wines as well as food to spare they will taste great all over again. Otherwise, bright, young, refreshing reds are good with the firmer consistency of cold meat – think cheap young claret, dolcetto or Beaujolais Villages. In our family, with Christmas Eve turkey sandwiches and Boxing Day leftovers, we like to drink white wines from the Rhone (Cotes du Rhone or white Chateauneuf). These are wintry whites with a hint of warmth, and a subtle taste of ripe pears, white peaches, sushi ginger and heavy blossom, that have a celebratory feel and go well with all the pork products (spicy sausageballs, sausagemeat and chestnut stuffing, chipolatas wraped in bacon) that we have on our plates alongside the turkey and creamy, clove-scented bread sauce. Failing all those, pull out the prosecco. Its gentle bubbles and slight sweetness are a real perk-up.”