AS families eye up a show-stopping turkey for Christmas day, a chef has revealed exactly how many meals you can make from one bird – and how it can feed your family well into the new year.
While Brits might be enjoying a smaller Christmas than usual this year due to coronavirus, Leon Rothera, owner of Honest Foods London, says you should still go big on your bird.
Even after you’ve gone back for second helpings of your festive lunch, Leon says you can shred the meat and make stock to feed a family-of-four for ten days.
He told Fabulous: “There's nothing more satisfying than feeding the family all the way into the new year.
“Whatever size your turkey is, the meat is so versatile, it can be used in a variety of dishes for the days to follow and taste different each time.
“Utilising the bones for broth is another great way to make the most of your turkey carcass.
"The meals that can be made are endless and bulking out with vegetables or stock can make it last even longer.”
It always pays off to buy big, as you can make the most meals out of a single bird – with Leon sharing the recipes to make your turkey last the longest.
And with Aldi selling birds for £2.95 per kg this year, the festive feast doesn't have to cost a fortune.
He advised a small bird, up to 5kg (£14,75), will feed a family of four for a week, a 6kg turkey (£17.70) should stretch to eight days, while a big 7kg fowl (£20.65) should last 10 days.
Everyone knows December 25th is all about a show-stopping dinner with all the trimmings, but Boxing Day is when you need to start planning ahead.
After you’ve eaten your leftovers, Leon says: “Now comes a bit of butchering and stock making to get the most out of your bird, and so that you can store it safely.
Ten-day meal planner for a large turkey
- December 25 – Christmas dinner
- Boxing Day: Leftovers
- December 27: Turkey tacos
- December 28: Turkey club sandwiches
- December 29: Asian turkey noodles
- December 30: Indian turkey flatbreads
- New Year's Eve: Winter stew with a slice of bread
- New Year's Day: Turkey pasta
- January 2: Turkey and vegetable stew
- January 3: Leftover turkey stew
“Remove all the breast meat and place into a Tupperware. The legs go into a separate one. Freeze whatever you aren't going to eat within two days.
“Place the carcass into the biggest pot you have, breaking it down if you must.
“Cover with cold water and put on a very slow simmer for 3hrs, along with an onion split in two, a stick of celery, a whole carrot, a whole bulb of garlic split in two, with a big sprig of thyme. Drain your stock, allow to cool, and freeze in half litre tubs.”
On the 27th, you’re probably a bit sick of a traditional roast, so Leon advises mixing it up.
He said: “Shred up some of the leftover meat which you've put aside in a tupperware and make some turkey tacos.
There's nothing more satisfying than feeding the family all the way into the new year
“A simple, easy to make recipe which can be loaded with stuffing and cranberry and is a slightly different take on a turkey sandwich.”
On the 28th, you should still have turkey meat left over, and you need to use it up today.
Leon recommended whipping up some turkey club sandwiches on a few slices of toasted bread.
Leon advised: “Finely shred some iceberg lettuce, combine this with a spoonful of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Cover the bottom piece of bread with lettuce mix.
“Next goes on a sliced boiled egg, then your finely sliced turkey breast and finally some char-grilled streaky bacon. Best Turkey club you'll ever eat!”
On the 30th, ditch the takeaway and make a fakeaway instead, defrosting some stock to use for dinner.
“All you need to do is put a couple of litres of stock on a low heat and infuse with a few key ingredients,” he explained.
Leon advised flavouring the broth with onion, ginger and coriander – and some hearty noodles for an Asian-insired dish.
If you bought a massive turkey chances are everyone has gone for the breast meat, meaning you should have some legs in the freezer.
After defrosting them, Leon suggests taking inspiration from another takeaway classic for your next meal on the 29th – Indian.
If you have time, whip up a marinade using yoghurt and spices, as Leon continued: “Score the leg with some deep cuts and cover with the marinade in a roasting tray."
He said: “Turkey legs are huge, so I'll use the first one in a tandoori style marinade. It's already been cooked once so I want to keep it as juicy as possible.
“Cover with foil and cook until the meat is hot all the way through. This is great picked down and wrapped up in a flat bread with herbs and salad for a delicious lunch.”
Ideal turkey sizes
- 4-5kg (£11.80-£14.75) – 7 days for a family of 4
- 5-6kg (up to £17.70) – 8 days for a family of 4
- 6-7kg (up to £20.65) – 10 days for a family of 4
On New Year's Eve, it’s time to snuggle up on the sofa with a winter stew, which Leon advises to serve with a slice of bread.
You’ll need to defrost the other turkey leg if you have it, or some leftover breast meat.
You can bulk it out with cheap lentils to make the dish really stretch, and you can finish off the rest of the loaf of bread to make it really filling.
Leon said: “This is a self-stocking dish so will be full of deep meaty flavours. Start by browning your turkey leg in a thick bottomed casserole pan until golden and crispy.
“The next bit is super easy, throw in sliced onions, carrots, leeks, crushed garlic, bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, a tin of good quality chopped tomatoes and a block of your frozen stock.”
Bulking out with vegetables or stock can make it last even longer
For New Year’s Day, it’s time for a family favourite – pasta – which should be an all-round crowd pleaser.
You’ll need to defrost some more meat ahead of making the recipe, but Leon assured it is “really easy” to make.
He explained: “Melt a litre of your stock in a pan, season with soy sauce, add in some pasta that you have cooked separately and finish with loads of chopped coriander, spring onions and some of your sliced turkey breast.”
You should be down to your last bits of meat in the freezer, and Leon said it’s now time to bulk out the rest of the meat with some vegetables, and make a warming stew.
Defrost what you have left, with Leon saying: “To make the turkey last another couple of days, it's worth bulking it out with vegetables to make stews.
“Use hearty vegetables such as butternut squash and cook with rice to help spread the meal over two days.”
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