Christmas Leftovers – part 1. Soup, a Turkey & Cranberry Toast Topper, a Cheesy Tart

Dec 28, 2020 | 5 comments


Christmas Leftovers – part 1. Soup, a Turkey & Cranberry Toast Topper, a Cheesy Tart


So there you are, a few days after Christmas Day. Don’t know about you, but I’m drawing breath right about now and sticking my head in the fridge wondering what I’m going to make with all those wonderful Christmas Leftovers

a few turkey bones

Last year, I had a little potter in the kitchen and came up with this. I’d already used the turkey carcass to make turkey stock and a soup that became a stew. There were some leg bones in the fridge, and they had already been made into stock. This morning a whip round the fridge produced half a tin of baked beans, a tbslp of curried hummous, 3 carrots that needed using, some of the cooked apples that I keep in the fridge for using with yogurt, an onion,  a couple of handfuls of a bag of salad (one of the most wasted food items)  and a small potato. I picked all the meat off the bones, got a nice amount, chopped anything that needed it and put everything in the stock, plus a generous mug of split peas.

That all got simmered until the split peas were cooked, then I added the shredded heart of a savoy cabbage, and on a whim, poured in about a third of a bag of fresh cranberries, a small tea cup of grated parmesan rind from the freezer, then simmered again until the cabbage and cranberries were soft, seasoned, and ooh yum – several portions of delicious home made soup. Sour pops from the cranberries and an underlying sweetness from the apple, all shot through with the wonderful brothy hum of a good stock.

Turkey and cranberry soup

a turkey & cranberry toast topper

While the soup was simmering, I thought I’d have a go at a toast and lunchtime paste, like the chicken, beef, cheese and fish ones that I’d explored previously. So using the same proportions, I got some turkey out of the freezer, this is what I ended up using.

150g cooked turkey
50g butter, 90p/250g, 18p
50g fresh cranberries
about an apples worth of cooked slices from the fridge, and some of the juice
2 tsp honey
tsp mustard
a piece of preserved lemon

Put everything in a jug and blitz it until smooth with a handheld blender. Taste and season with salt and pepper

I wanted a little sweetness in there, so added some of the cooked apples that are in the fridge to have at breakfast with yogurt, plus some of the juice as the paste needed some liquid in order to be blended. After I’d added the cranberries, there was a little too much tartness, so I added the honey. I have been given several lovely honeys, so thought I’d use some here. That made the balance just right.

This was going to be the one that I said carried on the lovely Christmas flavours, but strangely, it doesn’t taste of Christmas at all. Perhaps it might with the addition of a little cooked stuffing, or sage leaves, and maybe some cooked onion.

Other things that I would add to a turkey paste, especially with an eye on any leftovers, include a drizzle of cream; 2 or 3 chopped dried apricots; a bit of leftover sausage meat stuffing, or a couple of pigs in blankets; a bit of cooked ham; 2 or 3 prunes; a spoon or two of bread sauce or cranberry sauce; some celery, probably sautéd until soft first; any type of mustard; some tomato purée, not too much, or sun dried ones

I love turkey and have lots of ideas on what to do with leftover turkey

what to do with a leftover cheese board?

It’s extremely easy to buy much more cheese than gets eaten for a Christmas cheeseboard and cheese is high on the Christmas Leftovers list. So now you might have left, wedges of Stilton, Brie, cheddar and a goats cheese, with just small amounts eaten from them.

The very first paste I experimented with was a cheese one, I took some plain cheese and added butter and flavourings to make a versatile paste that can be used on toast, in a sandwich,  toasted under the grill, or inside a cheese toastie. That post has a great many variations to flavour your paste.

Put all the cheese in the freezer, well wrapped, and we’ll use it up as we go along. Stilton would make a fabulous paste for lunchtime sandwiches.

Or how about a cheesey tart for lunch or dinner. Rollout some puff pastry and cut a small dinner plate/large tea plate sized shape for each person, or put the rolled out sheet straight on a baking tray. Now spread over a very thin layer of mild mustard and top with some of your Christmas cheese, just a sprinkle, not too much. I tried it with Roquefort, a strong blue one, and it cooked to beautiful unctuousness that was much milder than its uncooked state. One of these with some dressed leaves or some other salad, makes a very satisfying meal and is super simple to make as well. If you have littlies, they can help with this and would probably love cutting out little shapes. So they could have star shaped, top of a glass shaped, or any biscuit cutter shaped cheese tartlets

I’m freezing most things until I can use them, and that might be all you need to do.  More ideas to come tomorrow. What are you doing with yours?

Faggots & Gravy



  1. Lesley

    Sounds gorgeous !

  2. Annie

    My mum used to make a cheese spread with leftover cheese called “mock goose” it’s fried onions in oil till soft and golden, add chopped tomatoes till soft, some salt and pepper and then grated cheese and an egg scrambled into it till cooked . Pop into a dish to cool and set to spreadable texture . It’s lovely on crackers , bread and toast.

  3. L0ra

    Hi Lesley, really enjoying your blog and your ideas for recipes. I haven’t had any leftovers yet, we’ve been at family for Christmas but I’m having them back at New Year so will have some then, hopefully..I enjoy leftovers lol

  4. Lesley

    That’s the problem with being creative with bits and pieces isn’t it. You can never get it exactly the same again.
    It’s no wonder that first Scrap Soup was so wonderful, all those gorgeous things that went into it! Your husband is a lucky man to have someone who can cook that lot

  5. Lola Davis

    As an early married I cooked a lot,proudly serving up traditional English and lots of new classical French and Italian dishes faithfully following cook-book recipes. I always told my husband the name so he could ask for them again. The first Xmas I made up a leftover soup: turkey stock and meat,a variety of vegetables,including cauliflower in bechamel sauce, two stuffings (ham and mushroom and sausage meat,onion and celery),bread sauce,gravy,cranberry sauce etc. Everything but the cranberry sauce was home-cooked,of course. The soup was absolutely delicious and my husband asked: “What’s this called? Can we have it again soon?” I remember then christening it “Scrap Soup” – not such a grand name as coq au vin,or boeuf bourguignon – but saying regretfully that he’d have to wait a long time to have it again. I still make “Scrap Soup” every year but it never tastes quite as superlative. Perhaps it’s because I never get exactly the same mix and proportion of ingredients,or perhaps it’s the halo effect of the very first “Scrap Soup” I made and the glowing compliments I received.I am starting on this year’s today.Make yours soon and enjoy.But a note of what went into it won’t go amiss, in case you want to repeat your triumph.

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