Heather’s Christmas leftovers (Recipes)


Most of us stock up a little too much at Christmas – and if there’s one thing I hate it’s waste. So keep these recipes handy, and in those hazy post-Christmas days when the fridge is still groaning and you need to use up the odds and ends but can’t be bothered to actually cook, I’ll suddenly be your new best friend. Heather x

PS – you can see all of my previous BV Christmas baking and side dish recipes here, including my foolproof Christmas Cake recipe (which reliably gives that delicious deep Christmassy flavour whether you make it two months or just two days before Christmas).
There are also make-ahead Christmas Day side dishes, my homemade mincemeat, the easiest sausage rolls to impress and the super-Christmassy star-topped jammy biscuits.

The ultimate Boxing Day toasted sandwich

all images © Heather Brown

This is a perfect Boxing Day treat. The sandwich takes some of the key components of the Christmas dinner and adds a little bit of extra Christmas decadence – brie! I’ve given rough guidelines on the amount of ingredients here, but be led by what you have left over, what flavours you love most … and just measure with your heart!


  • Thick cut granary bread
  • 2tbsp butter
  • Slices of turkey
  • 2tbsp cranberry sauce
  • Stuffing
  • Slow cooked red cabbage*
  • Brie
Heather Brown is a special officer for the Guild of Food Writers, and has worked in the food industry for 20 years. She is a food writer and photographer, offering one-to-one help to local businesses for content and websites.


  1. I have used a toasted sandwich maker/press but you can also make this sandwich in a frying pan.
  2. Butter your bread evenly on both sides of the bread.
  3. Layer the sandwich: turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, brie, red cabbage and then the bread. Trust me on the order – this combination ensures that the ingredients will not move around between layers
  4. Place in the sandwich press, or on a hot dry frying pan. Cook until the outside is lovely and crispy and the brie has melted in the middle. If using a pan, cook on one side until the bottom has started to become crispy and then gently turn over. Press down with a spatula to make sure the heat reaches the centre.
  5. Use a long, sharp knife to cut in half.
  6. Play with your fillings according to what you have – I also enjoy a simpler version with just turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing. This sandwich always works really well with some coleslaw on the side!

Left-over turkey, pigs in blankets and leek pie

all images © Heather Brown

This is a wonderfully quick and easy way to use up some of the inevitable left-over turkey. For an easy life I use ready made and rolled puff pastry – also, although I have used ham stock, you can use chicken or vegetable stock too. The biggest issue with this delicious pie is whether there will actually be any pigs in blankets left over after Christmas Day!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 large leek, sliced thinly
  • 350g left-over turkey
  • 12 pigs in blankets
  • 3 level tbs plain flour
  • Black pepper
  • 500ml stock
  • Packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • Egg for egg washing


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 5/180º fan.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter with a little oil (to stop the butter from burning). Add the leek to the melted butter and cook on a medium heat until the leeks begin to soften.
  3. Add in the turkey by roughly breaking/shredding it into the pan.
  4. Cut the pigs in blankets into pieces and add them to the mixture too. Make sure the meats are heated through thoroughly.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the pan and season with black pepper. Then give the mixture a really good stir so that the flour coats the mixture really well and begins to cook.
  6. Pour in the stock and gently stir until it has all mixed together thoroughly. Bring this all back to a boil, and keep gently stirring as the mixture thickens. If you have some odd left-over pot ends of cream you can also add some at this point if you wish.
  7. Once the mixture has thickened, take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture into an ovenproof pie dish.
  8. Take the pastry out of the packet and lay it over the top of the pie dish. Brush the pastry with some of the beaten egg, and stab some small holes to give the steam somewhere to go.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Left-over ham and parmesan risotto

all images © Heather Brown

Of all the festive meat left-overs, the one I always end up with is ham. This recipe makes the ham the star of the dish and if you’ve chosen a honey roast ham or one cooked in cola, then that sweetness will work really nicely here. Risottos are a little demanding to cook because they need constant stirring for 20 minutes, but the creamy savoury deliciousness makes a lovely cosy left-overs supper.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 75-100g of arborio/risotto rice per person.
  • 250g of ham (or however much you have left!)
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large glass of white wine
  • Black pepper
  • 1litre hot stock (I used ham stock, but vegetable is fine)
  • 100g parmesan cheese
  • A couple of rashers of streaky bacon or some bacon lardons.


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and soften gently. Add the ham pieces and mix, then add the rice and stir thoroughly, letting the rice soak up any butter.
  3. Pour in the white wine and season with black pepper, mixing well. It should sizzle loudly in the pan as the white wine soaks into the rice.
  4. Once the white wine has been absorbed, begin adding the stock, a ladle or cup at a time. Each time you add stock, give the mixture a really vigorous stir, and then keep stirring gently as it cooks, so that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom. Keep on adding stock until the rice is cooked (it takes about 20 minutes). If you run out of stock, use boiling water.
  5. To test if the rice is cooked, taste some and see if the texture is soft all the way through.
  6. Once the rice is cooked, grate in the parmesan and stir until the mixture becomes creamy.
  7. Remove from the heat, dot an extra teaspoon of butter on the top and leave to stand for 10 minutes. While you wait, cook the streaky bacon or lardons in a small frying pan until they are crispy, breaking any bacon rashers into pieces.
  8. After 10 minutes, give the risotto a really good stir. You will notice that anything stuck to the bottom of the pan will have loosened and the mixture will come together nicely, ready to serve. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the bowls to finish.


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