Turkey leftovers

I’ve eaten more roast turkey these past few days than I did over the whole holiday period.  I just find that there are so many more delicious things to eat with the turkey than the turkey itself:

  • Proper roast potatoes, par boiled and roasted in goose fat
  • Oven roast carrots, parsnips and sweet potato glazed with maple syrup, butter and honey
  • Brussels sprouts and chestnuts tossed in butter and marsala 
  • Gorgeous gravy made with proper stock, the giblets and further flavour enhancement
  • & stuffings and sauces made specially for the occasion.

That even with a high end turkey flown over* especially for Christmas Day, a spa brine-bath that kept the turkey delectably moist and a herb butter massaged under its skin for further basting and flavour, there was still loads of turkey leftover (not a single potato) but loads of turkey.

*We did debate whether it would be better to book it a seat on the flight rather than stash it in the hold.

Everyone has their traditions for their leftovers:

  • cold cuts for dinner/lunch for the next several occasions
  • turkey croquettas

After making a battalion of croquettas there was still a mountain of turkey meat left!

This year, we froze the leftover turkey meat and the turkey carcass which provided 2 great winter meals when the cold closed in:

Turkey Soup

Turkey Soup

I’ve been meaning to make Jamie Oliver’s leftover turkey chowder for ages but didn’t have most of the ingredients (!) so made a simple turkey soup with vermicelli pasta instead:


Turkey carcass (skin & all, preferably with some turkey still on it!)

1 Large onion cut into large chunks

1 Large carrot / 2 medium sized carrots cut into large batons

2 Celery sticks (stringy bits removed and cut into similar size to the carrot)

3 Bay leaves

Salt & pepper 

Vermicelli pasta

2 Litres of water


1st: Add the frozen turkey carcass, the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaves to a large pot and cover with 2 litres of water (this will depend on your pot) and season well. 

2nd: Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours.

3rd: Strain the soup into a colander – returning the broth back to the pot.  Add the vermicelli pasta to the pot and cover with a lid.  Set aside.

4th: Whilst the vermicelli pasta cook in the residual heat, strip the meat off the turkey carcass.  Add the carrots, celery, onion and turkey meat to the pot.

5th: Once the vermicelli is cooked, test for consistency and seasoning.  Add water from a recently boiled kettle to achieve the consistency you desire.

6th: Serve piping hot with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Turkey and Leek Pie

Chicken and leek pie is delicious and I would imagine that turkey and leek pie would be the same.  If you’ve got any leftover stuffing you don’t know what to do with either you can add it here as well! You can follow any chicken and leek pie recipe you may use regularly replacing the chicken for leek, or follow the one below:


3 Large leeks with the green tops (washed and sliced)

500g Turkey meat (white/dark meat)

2 Rashers smoked bacon

Handful of chopped parsley

1 Heaped tbsp flour

200ml Cream / Milk


Olive oil

Puff pastry (I use pre made puff pastry but feel free to make your own!)


1st: Fry the bacon in a little olive oil.  Once the bacon has rendered out some of its fat, add the washed leeks to the pan with some butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  Once all the leeks have been slicked in the salty-bacony-buttery-mixture, clamp a lid on for a few mins.

2nd: Once the leeks have softened, add the leftover turkey meat, flour and cream/milk.  You may need to alter your flour/cream ratio depending on your quantities of leek and/or turkey.  

3rd: Add the chopped parsley and allow to cook for a few mins in the pot whilst all the flavours get to know one another.  After 5mins take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

4th: Pour through a colander to remove any excess gravy and allow to sit (you don’t want to make the pie filling too wet) whilst you preheat the oven to 200ºC.

5th: Pour the pie filling into a pie dish smoothing it down.  Cover with you puff pastry.  Wash with beaten egg, score lines across the pastry with the back of a knife and make a few steam holes with the tip of the knife.  Then scatter some salt flakes over the pastry. 

6th: Bake in a 200ºC oven for approx 20mins or until the pastry is brown all over.

7th: Serve hot with any leftover gravy and winter greens.

Using the same logic and wisdom, some of you may also have some turkey meat lurking in your deep freeze, or a carcass if you’re lucky. Don’t leave it there until you clear out your freezer at some point. Use it before the end of January in soups/chowders and pies.

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