Turkey lasagne and cranberry stuffing sausage rolls: What to do with Christmas leftovers

·6 min read
 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Christmas Day is a time for feasting, but when you’re cooking for large groups of people, it can be difficult to get the quantities right.

For peace of mind, most people tend to overestimate the amount of food their family will want, resulting in plenty of leftovers to last you several more days.

And while many of us savour a leftover sarnie – remember how much Ross Geller cherished his post-Thanksgiving ‘Moist Maker’ in Friends? – there are far more creative ways to use up any remaining food bits you have this season.

Why not turn your leftover sprouts into a nutritious pesto? Or give remaining potatoes a new lease by turning them into caramelised onion refried roasties?

Read on for tips from some of the UK’s leading chefs on how to reinvigorate your Christmas leftovers this year.


Turkey lasagne

Steve Groves, head chef, Roux at Parliament Square, London

Turkey (iStock)
Turkey (iStock)

“This is a slightly different use of leftover turkey. I actually love it any time of year – it can be made with fresh turkey or chicken too.”

Ingredients (white sauce)

  • 400ml Whole milk 1⁄2 Onion, peeled

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 cloves

  • 40g Unsalted butter 40g plain flour

Ingredients (pesto)

  • 50g Pine nuts

  • 1 Bunch basil

  • 40g Parmesan, finely grated

  • 1 Garlic clove

  • 140ml Light olive oil

Ingredients (lasagne)

  • 400g Cooked turkey, thinly sliced

  • 1 Packet lasagne sheets

  • 1 Mozzarella ball, torn into small pieces & dried on kitchen paper

  • 20g Parmesan, grated


  • Make a white sauce by heating the milk with the onion, bay leaf and cloves, allow to infuse for 30 mins. Meanwhile melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, pull away from the heat and add the flour until smooth. Return to the heat and cook out for another minute or so. Start adding the milk a ladle at a time bringing to the boil after each one and constantly stirring so that no lumps form. Once all the milk is incorporated, season with salt and cook out gently for 5 minutes. Cover with cling film and set aside.

  • For the pesto, toast the pine nuts in the oven until golden brown, allow to cool. Add all of the other ingredients and a pinch of salt to a food processor and blend until fairly smooth. Remove and set aside.

  • To construct the lasagne, lightly oil an oven proof dish then arrange 1/3 of the turkey followed buy 1/4 of the white sauce, and then a drizzle of pesto, and cover with a layer of pasta. Do two more layers like this then top with the remaining white sauce, the mozzarella and grated parmesan.

  • Place in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes or until the pasta is tender, finish with a drizzle of the pesto.

Turkey pie

Graham Long, head chef and co-owner, Gezellig, London

Turkey pie (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Turkey pie (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“You can make a gorgeous turkey pie with leftover turkey, I would include any chipolatas that you have too.

“For the actual pie filling, sautée some mushrooms and onions alongside chipolatas if using. Tear your turkey to give it a different texture and add everything into a dish. If there are some carrots left, chop these up and scatter them in too.

“To make the sauce, I would your take leftover gravy and thin this out with some water to make a velouté, which is like a béchamel, but replacing the milk for stock. You need equal parts butter and flour to cook your roux, then slowly add your stock. For a more indulgent sauce, you could whisk in some left over pâté for a richer flavour.

“Cover your pie filling with the delicious sauce and top this with some pre-rolled puff pastry and bake until golden. Serve with a creamy mashed potato and some peas with lots of black pepper.”


Stuffing (iStock)
Stuffing (iStock)

Cranberry stuffing sausage roll

Steve Groves, head chef, Roux at Parliament Square, London

“The stuffing is often my favourite part of Christmas lunch and I even love it cold the following days. If cold stuffing isn’t for you, however, here’s a great post-Christmas treat.”


  • 1 Onion(180g), finely diced

  • 1 tbsp Chopped thyme

  • 50g Butter

  • 140g Diced dried Cranberries 100ml Water

  • 500g Sausage meat

  • 65g Fresh breadcrumbs

  • 80g Cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped

  • 1 Egg

  • 5 Egg yolks or 2 whole eggs (Using just yolks will give a richer colour)

  • 1tsp Milk


  • Preheat oven to 180c with a heavy baking try or a cast iron flat skillet inside.

  • Sweat the onion and thyme in the butter until soft. Add the Cranberries and water and bring to a simmer – cook until all water has been absorbed. Allow to cool.

  • Mix the cranberry mix with the sausage meat, breadcrumbs, chestnuts and one egg. At this stage the stuffing could be used traditionally. Roll the stuffing up in cling film to form two cylinders around 5cm in diameter and 20cm long . Chill in the fridge to firm up.

  • Mix together the eggs and milk. Working on top of a piece of greaseproof or silicon paper, unwrap the stuffing and wrap in the puff pastry. Create a 1 cm seam along one edge, stick together with a little of the egg and milk, and crimp the edges. Brush all over with some more of the egg mixture, make a few slashes into the pastry across the top on an angle, then sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cut any excess greaseproof paper away leaving no more than a 1cm border (too much excess paper can be blown by a fan assisted oven onto the sausage roll causing it to colour unevenly). Place the sausage roll, still on the paper, directly onto the preheated tray and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and deep brown.

  • Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Brussels sprouts

Sprout and roastie hash

Sprouts (Getty)
Sprouts (Getty)

Simon Henbery, executive chef, Chucs Restaurants and Cafés, London

“Try blending your leftover brussels sprouts with some spiced potato, spring onions and herbs.

“Combine with a butter fried egg, chilli and sriracha sauce to finish.”

Brussels bubble and squeak

Ollie Dabbous, chef patron and co-owner, Hide, London

“Make a bubble and squeak by crushing some potatoes and mixing with them with your leftover sprouts, then add some crushed garlic and butter.

“Fry some butter in a pan, then add this and cook until golden on the bottom, then flip over and repeat on the other side.

“Serve with some crispy bacon, a poached egg and a dollop of mustard.”

Brussels pesto

Nitin Pawar, head chef at The Cavendish London

“Turn any unwanted Brussels sprouts into a meal to please the whole family with sprout pesto pasta.

“Simply whiz the leftover sprouts, some kale, toasted pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor, gradually drizzling in oil.

“Once smooth, add some lemon juice and a splash of water if the mixture is too thick. Toss the pesto through cooked spaghetti and serve with grated parmesan.”


Caramelised onion refried roasties

Potatoes (Getty Images)
Potatoes (Getty Images)

Nitin Pawar, head chef at The Cavendish London

“This is a unique alternative to the usual bubble and squeak. It’s as simple as frying pickled onions in oil for a few minutes until caramelised, then adding a few thyme sprigs, your leftover roasties and another tablespoon of oil.

“Use your spoon to squash the potatoes slightly, and leave to fry for a few minutes on each side until nice and crispy.”