Saturday 28 December 2013

Post-Christmas leftover yummies

Some of you may recall that our household doesn't do roast turkey at Christmas, so we don't always have a lot of leftovers, but this year my parents were unable to fly south to warmer climes for the winter, so they came to join us on Christmas day. This made us 5 adults and 3 kids of varying ages, all of whom like their roast dinners.
It is quite hard to find a chicken that will feed that many, and particularly if you are looking at free range or organic. For that reason, I bought 2 chickens, and roasted them together, using some tandoori paste butter on one to baste the breast under the skin. Of course I wanted to get similar sized birds, so they would cook evenly, but this did mean we had a proper amount of meat left over. We decided to cut ourselves some slack and we bought in a lot of the accompaniments, such as the red cabbage, bread sauce, and yes, the gravy. (Don't judge!!) It was all really tasty, (thank you Sainsbury's, much tastier than Waitrose or M&S last year!) and it meant we had all the delicious pan juices to use another day. These were poured into a pyrex jug and put in the fridge to separate.
So 2 days after Christmas, I scooped the fat from the jug into a container, and melted some with some olive oil in my lidded sauté pan. I fried some chopped onion and garlic until soft and added some frozen veg. A sprinkle of marigold powder went in of course, and then some of the rich jelly stock from underneath the fat in the jug. Once that had melted, I sloshed in a little white wine, reduced it down slightly and then stirred in the chopped up leftover chicken as required. This then simmered to absorb the flavours for a few minutes, with the lid on. Right before serving, I swirled in a little soured cream. Yoghurt, cream, creme fraiche or plain cream cheese would do if those are what you have to hand, just a couple of teaspoons.
I then served this with rice and buttered greens.
Complete hit!!! Almost a free meal!
Oh and in case you are wondering, the full Christmas meal I did, including all the preprepared items costed out to £6.55 per head. Not bad for the fact of splashing out for the special day!!

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Gobble gobble turkey

I've been buying turkey meat recently and really enjoying it. It is cheap and tasty, especially if you go for the dark, leg meat.
I had used a lot of turkey as a student, but mainly white breast meat, and I really went off it. We never have turkey at Christmas, I find the roast bird dry and gamey, and not to my taste. But the dark meat is lean and succulent and cooks up very similar to goat or spring lamb.

Three recent dishes have been great successes; all very different, and none left ius feeling we were about to turn into a turkey...
I first made turkey mince keema a few months ago, the recipe is given in a previous post, but recently I used turkey leg mince to make a simple ragu for pasta. It was very tasty, with my usual addition ofaniseed flavour, in this case, a piece of cinnamon, and a drop of marmite.
The following weekend, I pressure cooked a turkey leg. I had to trim the bony bit to get it to fit well so I could brown it a little, then I added quartered onions, chunks of celery, lots of chunks of carrot, a bag of organic spuds from Abel and Cole, chopped up, a little wine, some stock. Really really basic and simple. But oh so delicious! The meat was so tender, just falling off the "dinosaur" bone. Littl'Un had a blast fishing out the bone and gnawing on it.
Today's turkey meal was made from a pack of pre-cubed leg meat. I know prediced meat costs more, but most weekdays, I save so much TIME with these, time I just don't have what with listening to Littl'Un read her reading book, and making sure Tiny doesn't get left out, and waiting to see if Big'Un needs picking up after school, especially when she's got rugby after school...So i choose to save money elsewhere, and on the days when I am not time-poor.
So I made a middle Eastern inspired stew type thing, using  chopped onions, ground cumin and cinnamon, tinned tomatoes, frozen griddled aubergine slices which I snipped up with scissors. Then I chucked in a tin of chickpeas and let it simmer while I toasted some couscous in butter, then cooked it in stock. By "cooked" I mean stir stock powder through and then add boiling water, simmer for 10 seconds and then switch off and steam for a few minutes. This whole meal was luscious and enjoyed by all. The meat was tender and soft and the aubergines were melty and a delicious extra dimension.
If you haven't tried turkey except at Christmas, give it a go! It's cheap, tasty and pretty healthy too!