Creamy Turkey, Green Pepper and Jalapeno Tacos

As we were considering what to do with our turkey leftovers, we took a mental world tour, thinking about some of our favourite foods. I haven’t got round to these, but maybe next year….

  • Pastilla – mmm those Moroccan spices and a crispy filo pastry
  • Danish Open Sandwich on rye bread with cranberry sauce, crispy fried onions and pickles
  • Spanish Croquetas, as delectable tapas… a good one for me to try in the air fryer
  • Italian Pasta Carbonara, using leftover ham too
  • Indian Curry, and then Samosas with the leftovers of that….
  • Cajun style Jambalaya
  • American Meatloaf
  • Lebanese Salad
  • Spicy Greek Turkey Pie

Oh, I am so ready to start all over!

But for now, there is just enough left for our Hot and Sour Thai style Soup tonight.

Last night, we ticked off the Mexican influence and I made a creamy green pepper, jalapeño and turkey filling for us to have with tacos (and the leftover rice from the Thai Green Turkey Curry). Of course it would work just as well with cooked chicken.

I had lots of cream left and most of a green pepper, to which I added a chopped dried chilli, some of my home made quick pickled jalapeño rings, a small onion and some garlic. I chopped up about 100g of light and dark turkey meat. Once the vegetables were softened in some olive oil, I added the turkey to heat through, then the cream, and sprinkled with chopped parsley and lime zest.

I usually have some tacos in the store cupboard, they are a favourite standby for using up leftover chilli con carne.

Accompaniments are shredded lettuce, finely chopped red onion, guacamole (a good way to use the slightly less than perfect avocado from the bottom of the fridge, together with some coriander leaf, garlic and lime juice), some cream soured with lime juice and some grated Red Leicester (which I keep in the freezer and grate as needed).

Served with the leftover rice from the night before, reheated with a bit more water.

The tacos only take a couple of minutes to heat through in the oven. I would probably load it up higher than this, but I was worried about it falling over before I took the photo! Two of these are enough for me.

Thai Green Curry Turkey

It finally got to be time to deal with the turkey carcass and remove all the remaining meat. I was amazed at how much was still left, enough for several meals still! The carcass itself was made into stock, which provided the basis for a fantastic Turkey and Leek Risotto (with loads of Parmesan crisps). The rest of the stock will be used for a Hot and Sour Thai style soup on our first 5:2 fast day of 2021. Thinking about Thai flavours made me realise that I had an interesting set of ingredients for a Green Curry. I grew my own bean shoots, starting them a few days before Christmas, and then storing them in a box in the fridge once they had got to a decent size (best rinsed every day). I also have some lovely fresh coriander growing in pots in the polytunnel, it does really well over winter. Plus some beautiful young pak choi leaves, again, growing in pots (I do have some in the garden, but they were a magnet for wildlife of all sorts, so they are now recovering under a cloche…). Lime leaves from the freezer, green beans from the freezer, coconut milk and Thai Green curry paste from the store cupboard, and green pepper, celery and mushrooms from the bottom of the fridge. A quick and easy meal. Served with steamed brown rice, some chilli dipping sauce, and a ready made Spring Roll, plus a few prawn crackers on the side. Almost as good as going out to a restaurant!

This would work equally well with tofu, or other meat or fish (cooked or raw). Use spinach or broccoli instead of the pan choi, etc. I find the combination of coconut and green curry paste is an accommodating basis for lots of different interpretations, which is why I always have some in the cupboard. I happened to have some from the UK, but actually can get it in my local supermarket now, under the Ayam brand.

Turkey Club Sandwich

This is the hand’s down leftovers winner for us, using cold sliced turkey (and ham). This has been lunch every day between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. We make our own wholewheat (T110) bread in the bread maker, so don’t have to go shopping at all.

So starting with two slices of buttered toast, I like to add

  • mayonnaise
  • turkey
  • ham
  • stuffing
  • cranberry sauce
  • bread sauce
  • salad leaves, sliced red onion, tomato etc
  • mustard (optional)

It looks a little untidy whilst under construction!

Serve with a side salad – I have been enjoying creating bowls of red and green, bejewelled with pomegranate seeds, and including some of my home-grown alfalfa sprouts.

Turkey, Leek and Mushroom Pie

This is one of my favourite things to do with cooked turkey, and so it is my first choice of using up a mix of light and dark meat. Enrobed with a rich creamy sauce of leeks, mushrooms and bacon, enlivened with Armagnac and encased in a buttery flaky pastry. Yummy. Originated from Delia Smith’s classic book Christmas

The recipe makes enough to feed 6, but I chose to only put enough for 4 in this pie, and have enough filling and pastry remaining to make 2 smaller turnovers, which I will freeze for another time.

First make the pastry:

  • 225g wholemeal plain flour (semi-complet T80)
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • pinch sea salt
  • water

Since I had tendonitis earlier this year, using my fingers to rub butter into flour is not a comfortable thing to do, so I just chop the butter into cubes and add to the flour, then let the K-Mix do the work, which is ideal as you really want to handle it as little as possible, and keep the ingredients cold. Add enough cold water to just bring the dough together, then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge while you make the filling.

Next make the sauce. If I had a lot of gammon, I would use that, but this year we had a tiny joint and there wasn’t much left, so I opted for some lean lardons instead. If you use lardons or bacon, start with them, otherwise add cooked gammon or ham once the onion and leek is softened. You can use all onion, or all leek, but I had half an onion left and one leek. I always buy mushrooms on my last shop before Christmas, but you could soak dried ones, or use them from the freezer if you don’t have any fresh. I haven’t yet made turkey stock, but I always make a huge quantity of gravy to go with our turkey, and this is a great way to use it up. I like to keep the ingredients simple, to appreciate the flavour of the turkey, but of course you could use other veg like celery, or add leftover cooked peas, carrots or parsnips to the cooked sauce.

  • 150g bacon lardons (or chopped cooked gammon or ham)
  • 15g butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed, halved lengthwise and then sliced
  • 125g mushrooms, quartered or cut into chunks
  • heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml leftover gravy or turkey stock
  • 100ml cream, of any sort
  • 2 tbsp Armagnac or brandy
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 300g cooked turkey meat, a mix of dark and light, roughly chopped

In a large frying pan, sauté the lardons over medium heat until just starting to turn brown around the edges. Add the onion and leeks, and cook gently until soften, stirring often. Then add the mushrooms and cook for another couple of minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well to gather up all the lovely flavours in the pan. Slowly add the gravy or stock, stirring well after each addition to keep it smooth and free from lumps. Then add the cream and armagnac, and turn off the heat. Check the seasoning, add the chopped parsley and then leave to cool while you roll out the pastry. Preheat the oven to 200c (fan).

Roll out the dough large enough to make a 30cm square, but not too thick, about 3mm. There should be plenty of pastry left over. Cut the pastry and lay it onto a lined baking sheet. Heap the filling in the centre, into a diamond shape, allowing for the fact that the corners are going to be brought together to make a parcel. Brush all round the edges with beaten egg, then bring the corners up and crimp together. Brush all over with beaten egg, and add decorative trimmings if you like, brushing them with egg also. Remaining filling and pastry can be wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge for a day or so. You could use ready-made puff (feuilleté) pastry instead, in which case, if it is in a circle, make a pasty shape instead.

Bake in the oven at 200c for about 25 minutes, until beautifully golden.

Serves 4. I served it with air-fryed roasted potatoes and sprouts, cranberry sauce and a crisp mixed red and green salad.

Turkey, Leek and Mushroom Pie

This is one of my favourite things to do with cooked turkey, and so it is my first choice of using up a mix of light and dark meat. Enrobed with a rich creamy sauce of leeks, mushrooms and bacon, enlivened with Armagnac and encased in a buttery flaky pastry. Yummy. Originated from Delia Smith’s Christmas
Course Main Course
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 546kcal

Ingredients

for the pastry

  • 225 g wholemeal plain flour (semi complet T80)
  • 175 g unsalted butter well chilled
  • 1 pinch salt
  • water as needed
  • 1 egg beaten (for sealing and glazing)

for the sauce

  • 100 g lardons or lean bacon, or cooked gammon or ham
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 leek trimmed, halved lengthwise and chopped
  • 125 g mushrooms quarted or cut in chunks
  • 1 tbsp plain flour heaped
  • 300 ml gravy or turkey stock
  • 100 ml cream any sort
  • 2 tbsp armagnac or brandy
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped
  • 300 g cooked turkey light and dark, roughly chopped

Instructions

to make the pastry

  • Add salt to the flour.
  • Chop the butter into cubes and add to the flour if using a mixer, or grate the butter into the flour if doing it by hand.
  • When the butter is well mixed in to the flour, add enough water to just bring the dough together.
  • Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge.

to make the filling

  • In a large frying pan, sauté the lardons over medium heat until just starting to turn brown around the edges.
  • Add the butter and olive oil, then the onion and leeks, and cook gently until softened, stirring often.
  • Then add the mushrooms and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and mix well to gather up all the lovely flavours in the pan.
  • Slowly add the gravy or stock, stirring well after each addition to keep it smooth and free from lumps, until you have a nice thick sauce.
  • Then add the cream and armagnac, and turn off the heat.
  • Check the seasoning, add the chopped parsley and then leave to cool while you roll out the pastry.
  • Preheat the oven to 200c (fan).

To make the pie

  • Roll out the dough large enough to make a 30cm square, but not too thick, about 3mm (there should be plenty of pastry left over).
  • Cut the pastry into a 30cm square and lay it onto a lined baking sheet.
  • Heap the filling in the centre, into a diamond shape, allowing for the fact that the corners are going to be brought together to make a parcel ( you may not want to use all the filling, I only used 2/3).
  • Brush all round the edges with beaten egg, then bring the corners up and crimp together.
  • Brush all over with beaten egg, and add decorative trimmings if you like, brushing them with egg also.
  • Bake in the oven at 200c for about 25 minutes, until beautifully golden.

Notes

Remaining filling and pastry can be wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge for a day or so. I will make two individual patties with them.
Serve with a crisp side salad, and maybe some sautéed potatoes and sprouts with a dollop of mayonnaise. Use up any remaining cranberry sauce too.
If I had a lot of gammon, I would use that, but this year we had a tiny joint and there wasn’t much left, so I opted for some lean lardons instead. If you use lardons or bacon, start with them, otherwise add cooked gammon or ham once the onion and leek is softened. You can use all onion, or all leek, but I had half an onion left and one leek. I always buy mushrooms on my last shop before Christmas, but you could soak dried ones, or use them from the freezer if you don’t have any fresh. I haven’t yet made turkey stock, but I always make a huge quantity of gravy to go with our turkey, and this is a great way to use it upI like to keep the ingredients simple, to appreciate the flavour of the turkey, but of course you could use other veg like celery, or add leftover cooked peas, carrots or parsnips to the cooked sauce.

Shredded Sprout Salad

DSCF3448Continuing with my theme of leftovers. In order to have a few cooked sprouts with our Christmas Dinner, I had to buy a much bigger pack than we needed, so lots of raw sprouts left to use up.

 I thought I would try a variation on an Ottolenghi recipe that was in the Guardian recently. Necessity forces me to come up with modifications…  This was really nice and crunchy, didn’t really taste like Brussels sprouts at all, and went very well with cold turkey and ham for our lunch today.  Pomegranate seeds are so lovely to add to a salad, they give a lovely jewelled look, as well as having an interesting texture and flavour.

Shredded Sprouts Salad

A fresh and crunchy side dish that goes really well with cold turkey or ham
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 170kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 whole red onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 15 ml lime juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 100 grams brussels sprouts finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped
  • 15 grams Tamari-roasted almonds roughly chopped (leave a few whole)
  • 25 grams pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion for a few minutes and the add the garlic. 
  • Cook for another minute or so and then add the mustard seed.
  • Mix this in a bowl with the lime juice, maple syrup and a little salt, then add the sprouts and herbs.
  • Drizzle the pomegranate molasses over the top.

Instead of roasted salted almonds, I made Tamari-roasted almonds. Heat a small frying pan over low heat. Add shelled almonds, and shake the pan occasionally to ensure even colouring. After a few minutes they should be lightly toasted. Add a teaspoonful of Tamari soya sauce, and toss the almonds in it as it bubbles and dries out. Tip the almonds onto a baking sheet to cool and dry. Lovely with a glass of sherry too.

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Apple and Quince Feuilletés

Apple and Quince FeuilletéHere’s a fab thing to do with all that Quince Jelly you have made! Or you might find it as Pate de Coing (French) or Membrillo (Spanish). It goes really well with apples, but if you have some left over, try having it with some strong hard sheep cheese, like Manchego. This recipe uses filo pastry, so it is light on calories but great on texture.

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Buckwheat Burgers – only 92 calories each

IMG_0333I was surprised to realise that I hadn’t written up this recipe before now! Buckwheat is a fantastic whole food, a seed rather than a grain, and good for people who are trying to avoid gluten. As well as being rich in complex carbohydrates, it is also a useful protein source, and as we are trying to encourage each other to include more plant-based protein in our diet, this is a great food to discover, if you aren’t already familiar with it.

Buckwheat burgers are simple to make, cheap and delicious to eat. They make a great vegan fast day meal. They are splendid stuffed into a piece of pita bread, with or without salad, tomato sauce or whatever other dressings you may fancy. They help to keep you warm all day in winter if you have one for breakfast. Try one with a fried egg, mushrooms and toast! Or have one or two for an evening meal with rice and vegetables.

Mostly, buckwheat gets used as a flour here in France, to make galettes de Sarrasin. You may also come across it as soba noodles. Although it is also called blé noir (black wheat) it is not related to wheat at all.

But I am not going to use flour, I am going to start with whole buckwheat groats.

Buckwheat Groats

These ones are already roasted (kasha grillé), but if yours are not, they can be easily toasted in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Keep shaking the pan so that the groats move around and get evenly heated and just start to turn a little darker. This improves the flavour.

Then they need to be roughly ground. The easiest way to do this is in a food processer, blender or grinder, but I guess you could do them in a pestle and mortar for you arm exercises…. You want to have some texture, not create a fine flour. A few pulses in a good blender will suffice.

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Next, put into a bowl and add boiling water and mix with a fork, until the mixture holds together. If it is too dry, it will be crumbly.

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Cover and leave this to rest for a few minutes, to cool and absorb the moisture. Then form into a smooth ball, adding a little more water if necessary.

Put onto a floured board (using some buckwheat or wholewheat flour) and roll into a fat sausage shape.

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Slice into 8 rounds, about 1cm thick, dusting with flour as you make them.

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These are then fried in a little oil until nicely browned on both sides. Then pour some tamari soy sauce into the pan and let them sizzle, flipping them over and adding a little more tamari if needed. This gives the crust a lovely savoury flavour.

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A super vegan low calorie meal, suitable for a 5:2 fast day: 2 burgers and a heap of stir fried veggies will be less than 300 calories. Include some chopped nuts, sunflower or sesame seeds or a tahini dressing to increase the protein content.

You can freeze them uncooked – open freeze and then wrap individually. Defrost before cooking.

Really, very little effort and it is hard to figure out why they aren’t better known! I think this way of making them is much more successful and tasty than boiling the grains, or pre-soaking them. 

Buckwheat Burgers

  • 1 cup / 170 grams buckwheat groats – 567 kcals
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil – 120 kcals
  • 1 tbsp tamari – 15 kcals
  • 10g buckwheat flour – 33 kcals

Makes 8 burgers
Per burger: 92 kcals
Carbs 16g Protein 3g Fat 3g

Lattice-topped tart

Lattice-topped tartI made a batch of Vegetarian Mincemeat before Christmas, and although it will keep well enough to make more mince pies next year, it is a lovely, rich filling for a dessert tart.  

I didn’t want to make the mincemeat filling too deep – just enough to cover the base of the tart, so then I topped it with a couple of apples, quartered, cored and finely sliced.

Lattice-topped tart

I have inherited a little wooden pastry wheel (you can buy them incredibly cheaply, made from box wood), so rather than making a completely open tart, which tends to overcook the filling, I enjoyed making these wavy edged strips to create a lattice topping. Lighter than a pie, but rather elegant!

Lattice-topped tartYou may have a lattice tool that you can use, but otherwise, just cut strips with an ordinary knife.

Lattice-topped tartI like to roll my pastry out really thin, so there was enough left over to make a dozen mince pies as well! 

This was lovely served with some custard. Tomorrow I will serve it with either vanilla ice cream or Greek style yogurt.

Lattice-topped tartSeeing as we are doing a dry January, I don’t feel even remotely guilty about having a dessert like this – no more calories than a couple of glasses of wine, I’m sure – and all good home made food from organic ingredients.

Lattice-topped tart

I made the pastry from 250g of Bio Type 65 flour and 125g unsalted butter and a pinch of salt. My flan dish is 25mm diameter. I used a little more than one jar of mincemeat for the tart and the small pies. My mincemeat was based on a Delia Smith recipe. Ok, I’ll work out the calorie counts later!

Celery and Stilton Soup – and Easy Garlic Breadsticks

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We love a bit of Stilton cheese with a glass of port over Christmas, but now it is dry January and the remains of the cheese need using up. Of course, you can use another blue cheese or strongly flavoured cheese for this.

To go with this I have baked some Easy Garlic Breadsticks. Yes, breadsticks means breadsticks 😉 (if you didn’t see this epsiode of HIGNFY, go to about 19:50 and see Maureen Lipman doing a Mrs May..) It is rare for us to eat white bread, but this is such a great way of making croutons! A half sized, ready to bake baguette makes 6 sticks and they keep quite well wrapped in foil, or leftovers can be broken up for use as a croutons for soups or salads. I first made them during one of our photography courses, and they were a great hit (you’ll find them in my Focus on Flavour book). Conversation stoppers though, as you can’t hear anything over the crunch…  I like them with a Caesar salad too.

I’ve included some golden paste in the recipe – you really don’t notice the flavour of turmeric, but it adds a lovely golden colour. I like to include it as often as I can in cooking, especially if I haven’t had it in yogurt for breakfast.

A bowl of this soup (145 kcals)  with one or two breadsticks (91 each) makes a lovely lunch or can be part of a fast day meal.

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Golden tangle pie

Golden Tangle PieContinuing with my theme of using turmeric in more dishes and making delicious, healthy, well balanced meals…

When you are cutting back on starchy carbs, but not cutting them out altogether, a little filo pastry can provide a fantastic (and also quick and easy) topping for a pie. 

Here I have layered some softened leeks and mushrooms, followed by chopped cooked turkey, and pieces of cooked ham, topped with a creamy sauce with added golden paste. Then taking one sheet of filo per person, I cut each sheet into small squares and scrunched these up to cover the top of the dish. Sprayed or brushed very lightly with olive oil, then baked in a hot oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Tangle Pie

This would work equally well with fish or lentils, in fact there are probably hundreds of different possibilities! This is one of my favourite things to do with the Christmas leftovers – I put up a picture last year, but here is the recipe, complete with calorie counts.

Tangle Pie

My luxury version comes out at
Per serving:
490 kcals 25g Fat, 28g Carbs, 38g Protein
You could reduce this by 100 kcal per portion by using all semi-skim milk and swapping the cheese for a tsp of tamari soy sauce. So a delicious fast day main dish at only 390 kcals! Counts would be similar if you used about 100g of white fish or cooked lentils per person, instead of the meat. Calorie counts in brackets.

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