How to use Turkey Leftovers

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Tips to use up leftover turkey.

Take the turkey off the bone as soon as possible, leave to cool completely, seal in freezer bags and store in the fridge for soups, toasted sandwiches and salads; or double-bag, label, date and freeze the turkey for use later – it will last up to a month in the freezer without losing flavour or texture.


Turkey and Sweetcorn Soup: Add leftover turkey to a tin of cream of chicken soup, add a few spoons of sweetcorn, chopped fresh herbs and a sprinkle of smoked or sweet paprika.

Curried Turkey Soup: Add a spoon of your favourite Indian or Thai curry paste and a spoon of yogurt to tinned chicken soup, thin it out with any turkey gravy that you have leftover (or use water), add the cooked turkey and heat through.

Make a turkey bone-broth: Take all the meat off the bones, break up the carcass and put it in a large pot covered in water. Add a peeled halved onion, a carrot and a stick of celery. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half until the bones have given up their flavour. Reduce the liquid further if it is not strongly-flavoured. Strain. Add any leftover turkey, heat through and eat.


Quick Turkey Caeser Salad
Mix mayonnaise with a minced clove of garlic, grated Parmesan and season with freshly ground black pepper. Toss salad leaves with the dressing. Add cooked shredded turkey and croutons (rub the bread with a cut clove of garlic before you fry it.) Sprinkle lots more freshly grated Parmesan on top. You can add an anchovy to the mayonnaise for a more authentic Caeser Salad.

Make Chilli Turkey Pittas
Pitta breads are great to have in your store cupboard for those days when you run out of bread. Toast the pittas, trim the tops, add the cooked turkey and a spoon of chilli tomato chutney or jelly; top with grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream and fresh iceberg lettuce. Better still, put everything in bowls on the table and everyone can help themselves so it saves you cooking.

Turkey and Cheese Quesadillas: Take two tortillas, spread grated cheese on one, add sliced tomatoes and a few dashes of chilli jam. Add shredded leftover turkey. Place the second tortilla on top and fry in a non-stick oil frying pan until both sides are golden and the turkey in the middle is hot.  Cut into triangles and serve with sour cream and guacamole or hummous.

Cajun Turkey Tortillas: Heat leftover cooked turkey strips in a spoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan or wok, add a few spoons of Cajun sauce or a teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, toss and heat through. Smear a warm tortilla with garlic mayonnaise; add rocket leaves, sliced red onion and strips of ripe tomatoes. Fold and wrap in tin foil. Cut through the middle and serve. (To make garlic mayonnaise at home, stir a teaspoon of minced garlic into 250ml of mayonnaise.)


Turkey Fricassée: Make up a white sauce (find the recipe for bechamel sauce here), add leftover turkey pieces and frozen peas and heat through. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with rice. This is a really simple, plain delicious meal, good for someone who cannot digest heavy food. You can also add diced cooked ham and use it as a filling for a pot pie (place the Turkey Fricassée in small oven-proof bowls, top with puff pastry and bake as per the pack instructions on the pastry packet).

Stir-fry: Make a turkey stir-fry with rice: cook the rice and leave to go cold. Heat sunflower oil in a hot wok. Add a lightly beaten egg and leave to cook – remove and cut into strips. Add more oil and heat. Fry some chopped onion until it takes on colour. Add the cooked rice, turning constantly and add frozen peas, diced ham, shredded cooked turkey, mange toute and carrot batons. Add a little soy sauce if you wish. Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper, constantly turning the rice so it doesn’t stick. Just before serving add the egg, turn a few times to heat it and serve.

Turkey and Pasta: Heat the turkey with any leftover jelly and/or a few tablespoons of turkey gravy or stock. Add frozen peas. When the turkey is hot and the sauce reduced, toss with your favourite cooked pasta. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with grated Parmesan on top. If you have a drop of white wine left over add it to the turkey and make sure to cook it out.


– Always make sure that if you are using cooked turkey leftovers in a dish that is heated that it is heated all the way through before serving.

– Always keep leftover turkey in the fridge, covered, and never put it in the fridge until it is completely cold.

Serve leftover shredded turkey on top of Irish Boxty Potato Pancakes or add cooked turkey to our Lentil, Feta and Mint Salad with Beetroot Purée. Make our Thai Red Beef Curry or Thai Green chicken curry using cooked leftover turkey instead.


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