The thing about Christmas day, as no one’s stomach needs reminding, is that there is always so much food. It is, however, a truth universally acknowledged that the whole point of cooking a great big bird – not to mention enough vegetables to feed twice as many people as are actually eating them – is to be able to enjoy the leftovers the day after. For all the ceremony, and the focus on the food served at the right time in the right place at the right temperature on Christmas Day, does anything, truly, beat the likes of a soft-bun sandwich filled with all the good bits? Gravy sauce for dipping into (and a sofa for sinking into) optional.
Boxing Day BLT (pictured above)
Bun + leftovers + turkey = the ultimate Boxing Day BLT. The idea is to make this without having to nip out to the shops, so use whatever bread, cheese, cooked vegetables and meat you have to hand. And everyone has a pack of sausages in the freezer, right, for at-the-ready pork sausagemeat? If you have any leftover gravy, use that, rather than starting from scratch.
Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
4 brioche burger buns (or any other bun or bread)
2 tbsp yellow mustard (or any other mustard), plus extra for serving
320g cooked turkey (or chicken or lamb) leftovers, cut into ½-1cm-thick slices
8 slices provolone (100g), or any other smooth cheese such as cheddar
40g unsalted butter
For the paté
20g unsalted butter
200g raw pork sausagemeat
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped (150g)
Salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp thyme leaves, picked and roughly chopped
370g mixed cooked Christmas vegetables – carrots, brussels, potatoes, parsnips or whatever you have
For the gravy (if you don’t have any left over)
30g unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced (150g net weight)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1½ tbsp plain flour
500ml chicken stock
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and black pepper
Make the gravy first, if need be. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat, then saute the onion, stirring occasionally, for eight minutes, until softened and deeply browned. Stir in the thyme and flour, to coat, then add the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Season with three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of black pepper, bring up to a simmer, turn down the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, until thickened slightly. Keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
Meanwhile, make the paté. Put a large saute pan on a medium-high heat and, once hot, add the butter and sausage, and fry for about three minutes, breaking apart the meat until it’s all finely crumbled and no longer pink. Add the onion and half a teaspoon of salt, and saute for another 10 minutes, until everything is nicely caramelised. Add the garlic, cook for two minutes more, until fragrant, then tip into a food processor and wipe out the pan (you’ll be using it again later). Add the picked thyme, nutmeg and cooked vegetables to the food processor bowl, then pulse a few times, until you have a rough but spreadable mash. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Assemble the sandwiches by cutting open the buns and spreading the bottom halves with mustard. Follow with a good smear of the paté – about 120g – then slices of turkey and cheese. Top with the other half of the buns.
Melt 20g of butter in the wiped-out saute pan on a medium heat. Once hot, lay in two of the sandwiches top side down, and cook for three to four minutes, until the bread is golden and toasted. Flip and repeat on the other side, until that, too, is toasted and the cheese melted. Transfer to a low oven and repeat with the remaining butter and sandwiches.
Cut all the sandwiches in half and divide them between four plates. Divide the gravy between four little bowls and serve alongside for dipping, with some extra mustard, too, if desired.
Leftover veg samosas with cranberry dipping sauce
This is a brilliant way to use up any leftover Christmas roast vegetables – you’ll need just under 500g in total. If, however, you’re having to make them from scratch, follow the method below.
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 35 min
For the filling
2 large carrots (250g), peeled and cut into 3cm chunks (210g net weight)
2 large parsnips (350g), peeled and cut into 3cm chunks (270g)
2 large potatoes (430g), peeled and cut into 3cm chunks (365g)
175ml olive oil (or more if needed)
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced (180g)
60g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (50g)
2 red chillies, seeds and pith removed, flesh finely chopped
25g fresh coriander, stems finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
1 tbsp garam masala
2 limes – zest of 1 finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and both juiced, to get 25ml
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
4 sheets 45cm x 25cm filo pastry
1 tsp nigella seeds, for sprinkling
For the cranberry dipping sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
200g cranberry sauce (homemade or shop-bought)
1 tsp maple syrup
Put all the vegetables on a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper, add two tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until cooked and golden brown, then remove and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, heat three tablespoons of oil in a medium saute pan on a medium-high heat, then add the black mustard seeds and let them sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes, until cooked and nicely caramelised. Add 40g of grated ginger, half the red chilli, all of the coriander stalks and the spices, cook, stirring, for a minute longer, then take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
For the dipping sauce, put a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the remaining red chilli and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds, then tip into a small bowl and stir in the cranberry sauce, maple syrup, two teaspoons of the lime juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Set aside while you assemble the samosas.
Chop about half of the roasted vegetables into ½cm dice and roughly mash the rest with a fork (you want to keep some texture here, so don’t overdo it). Add all the vegetables to the pan, then stir in the lime zest, a tablespoon of lime juice, the spring onion, coriander leaves, a tablespoon of olive oil and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt.
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7, and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
On a clean work surface, stack the filo sheets on top of each other, with the short end nearest you, and cut into three 8-9cm-wide strips. Cover with a damp tea-towel. Take one strip of filo and brush with oil. Take about 50g of the filling, gently compress it in the palm of your hand, and place it in the centre of the bottom end of the strip. Fold a corner of the pastry over the filling, to make a triangle, then fold again in the opposite direction. Continue folding in alternate directions all along the strip, until all the pastry is used up and you are left with a triangular parcel. Place seam side down on the lined baking tray, then repeat with the remaining pastry strips and filling, until both are used up.
Brush the tops of the samosas with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with nigella seeds and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the tray once halfway through, until golden brown. Remove, leave to cool for five minutes and serve with the cranberry sauce alongside.
Christmas pudding eccles cakes with marzipan
If the Christmas pudding defeated everyone yesterday, chances are this will be the way to restore appetites.
Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr
1 x 320g sheet ready-rolled, all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
60g demerara sugar, for sprinkling
Custard or brandy butter, to serve
For the filling
275g leftover Christmas pudding, roughly crumbled
1 clementine, zest grated, to get 1½ tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp
2 tbsp Pedro Ximénez (or your Christmas tipple of choice)
25g unsalted butter, melted
100g marzipan, cut into 1cm cubes
1 pinch salt
Lay the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface and give it a couple of rolls with a rolling pin to thin it out a little.
Using a 10cm round cutter, stamp out as many pastry circles as you can (you should get around seven), and put them on the lined tray. Gather up the pastry scraps, and roll and cut again, until you have 10 pastry circles in all. Put the tray in the fridge to keep the puff pastry cool while you make the filling.
Place all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl, add a good pinch of salt and mix to combine.
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take the pastry out of the fridge and place 45g of filling in the centre of each circle. Take a filled circle in the palm of your hand and, using your thumb and forefinger, stretch the edges of the pastry over the filling and into the middle, using your other thumb to keep it in place and overlapping as you go, until all folds meet in the middle, then pinch together to seal. Put the pastry parcel seam side down on the tray, and repeat with the other nine filled pastry circles.
Press down gently but firmly on each pastry parcel, to flatten it into a thick disc, then brush the tops and sides with beaten egg and dip the parcel in the demerara sugar.
Use a small, sharp knife to cut three 1½cm-long slits in the top of each eccles cake, then bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the tray once halfway, until evenly browned. Leave to cool for five minutes, then serve with leftover custard or brandy butter.