Saturday 17 March 2018

Top recipes to tackle your Christmas leftovers by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

River Cottage Love Your Leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
River Cottage Love Your Leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Christmas nut satay turkey
Stem soup
Sprout, ham and chestnut gratin

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tackles the unique leftover challenges presented by Christmas.


This is another great pairing of inevitable Christmas leftovers: leftover roasted salted peanuts - or cashews - made into a tangy satay sauce to serve with leftover roast turkey or chicken.

Christmas nut satay turkey
Christmas nut satay turkey

Serves 4-6

You will need

Up to 500g roast turkey, pork or chicken

Sunflowers oil, for frying

Sprout, ham and chestnut gratin
Sprout, ham and chestnut gratin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the satay sauce

About 100g salted roast peanuts, cashews, almonds or a mix

1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar

Good pinch of dried chilli flakes

1 garlic clove,

About 50ml coconut milk

About 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, plus a little grated zest,

About 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Dash or two of fish sauce or Worchestershire sauce

To finish (optional)

Grated carrot

Coriander leaves


First make the satay sauce. Pulse the nuts in a food processor with the honey or sugar, chilli flakes and garlic - you are aiming for a coarse, crumbly paste.

Mix together the coconut, citrus juice and zest, soy and fish or Worchester sauce. Add very gradually to the nut mixture, pulsing between each addition, until you get a nice creamy paste, with a bit of nubbly, nutty texture too (you might not need every drop).

Taste the sauce and adjust as necessary, adding more coconut milk or soy or chilli or lime and so on until you have exactly the balance you like. You can then store the sauce in a jar in the fridge until needed.

Tear the turkey or other meat into strips. Heat a thin film of oil in a pan over a fairly high heat. Add the strips of meat and fry hard, shaking or stirring occasionally, until sizzling hot and crisping nicely at the ends and edges.

In a small saucepan, warm the satay sauce over a low heat,stirring occasionally. If it looks too stiff and pasty, loosen with a little warm water, or coconut milk. It should be thick and creamy and almost, but not quite, pourable.

Place the fried meat on warmed plates and generously spoon over the hot satay sauce. Scatter over some freshly grated carrot and a few coriander leaves, if you like, and serve with plain boiled rice.



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Hugh's stem soup

When you’re slicing those tasty little florets from a head of cauliflower or broccoli, or shredding cabbage into the finest of strands, don’t throw the stems or outer leaves into the compost. Either alone or in combination, they make a surprisingly delicate and delicious soup.

Serves 4

You will need

20g butter, or 20ml rapeseed or sunflower oil

1 onion, diced

1 bay leaf

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

500–600g broccoli stems, cauliflower stems and outer leaves and/or cabbage stalks and outer leaves, roughly chopped

1.2 litres chicken or veg stock or water

50g crème fraîche, plus extra to serve (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper

Extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil, to finish



Melt the butter or heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat, then add the onion, bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onion is softened, but don’t let it take on any colour. This should take about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and stir for a minute. Add the stems and fry them gently for a few minutes, stirring to coat in the onion and garlic.

Tip the stock or water into the pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetable stems are very tender, 10–15 minutes depending on their size.

Cool slightly, then add the crème fraîche. Blitz the soup in a blender or using a stick blender until smooth.

Return to the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and heat through gently, being careful not to let it boil.

Serve the soup in warmed bowls, topped with a trickle of extra virgin oil and a little crème fraîche, if you like. Finish with a generous grinding of pepper.



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Sprout, ham, chestnut gratin

Lover of Brussels sprouts that I am, even in my house I confess there are often some of the little fellas left after Christmas dinner. Luckily, they team up exceptionally well with other festive leftovers, to make a delicious crisp-topped gratin.

Serves 2

You will need

Large knob of butter

About 250g cooked Brussels sprouts (but not over-cooked!)

Up to 100g cooked ham and/or bacon and/or chipolatas and/or stuffing

Up to 100g cooked chestnuts, roughly crumbled

Splash of chicken or veg stock (see page 28), white wine or water (about 50ml)

2–3 tablespoons crème fraîche or cream

About 30g well-flavoured hard cheese (or cheeses – including blue cheese), grated

About 30g fairly coarse bread crumbs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Thyme leaves, to finish (optional)


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Use some of the butter to grease a gratin dish.

Roughly chop or slice the cooked Brussels sprouts. Cut the meat and stuffing, if using, into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the sprouts, meat and stuffing, if using, and the chestnuts. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add the stock, wine or water, and the cream or crème fraîche and stir through.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and spread evenly.

Combine the cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the surface. Cut the remaining butter into slivers and dot over the topping.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the gratin is hot right through. If the cheesy topping is not golden brown, finish off under a hot grill.

Serve scattered with some thyme leaves, if you like, and grind over some pepper.

Extract taken from River Cottage Love Your Leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

(Bloomsbury, €27)

Photography © Simon Wheeler

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River Cottage Love Your Leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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