Ideas for Festive Leftovers
For me, the joy of a Christmas dinner – or indeed any roast – are the leftover roots and greens, that can be fried up until deeply golden and crisp, then served topped with a fried egg and a spoonful of a punchy chutney. I love a Christmas-dinner sandwich, too: stuffing, greens, roasted squash and a slick of cranberry sauce between two slices of bread. It’s a once-a-year thing, taking stodginess to the next level, but it’s a mark of the season, and I always eat one or two with glee.
These recipes are slightly different ways to make the most of the Christmas leftover glut – some festive breakfasts and fritters that come together nice and quickly, and a crumble-topped pie that can be adapted to suit whatever you have.
This is the kind of hearty dinner that befits a winter evening, but instead of a heavy butter laden pastry top I’ve opted for a savoury crumble topping. It’s much lighter and super easy to put together. This pie is hearty, creamy and tasty but won’t leave you unable to get up from the sofa as it’s veg-packed and topped with seeds and wholegrains.
They work with pretty much any greens or cheese that’s left on your cheeseboard so feel free to have a play. I partner them with a shock of lemon zest mustardy salad leaves for lunch or dinner. If you don’t have dill other soft herbs like basil, parsley or tarragon would all work well.
Back in India it was originally a vegetarian dish of lentils and rice; the smoked fish and eggs were only added to suit British tastes. I like the mix of smoke with the spice, so I roast celeriac with smoked salt and stir it through; I use Anglesey’s Halen Môn smoked salt, but if you can’t find it, normal salt will do. I keep my eggs pretty runny, but if you like them firm, boil them for another minute or two.
If your house is anything like mine, the fruit bowl heaves with clementines. I can’t get enough of them. This quick compote is a good way to use any lingerers. I add a pinch of saffron for its sunshine colour and warming flavour, but a couple of cardamom pods or a pinch of cinnamon would work as well. This is half compote, half marmalade and is wonderful served alongside some roughly chopped nuts – or even chestnuts, if you have any left – atop the golden ricotta pancakes.