Chef Tips To Preserve Your Pennies And Pull Off Christmas Like A Pro
14 Nov 2022
Whether you’re looking to reduce the cost of your Christmas spread, make those leftovers last an extra day or shake-up your festive dinners with secret ingredients, our chefs have got you covered.
Love Your Leftovers
Christian Onia, Head Chef at SUMI
For Christmas leftovers, most savoury items can be given a new lease of life, simply with a dash of olive oil, some garlic, and a pinch of paprika. As most leftovers are already seasoned, these three ingredients work to refresh and elevate the existing flavours of a dish – why not try this technique with roasted carrots or leftover Brussels sprouts for a smoky vegetable side dish to go with cold leftover cuts of meat.
Aman Lakhiani, Chef Patron at Junsei
During this busy holiday season there is always some sort of leftover food in my fridge/freezer, but the one constant is that there is always leftover rice. I look to the Japanese for inspiration and go with a warming Chazuke – it is a simple concoction of warm green tea or broth poured over the leftover rice, topped with any condiments you like from soy, sesame seeds, seaweed or even little bits of flaked fish. A beautiful comforting meal on a cold London morning.
Natalie Coleman, Head Chef at The Oyster Shed
For a perfect way to use leftover turkey (along with any remaining veg and seasoning) without too much effort, how about a hearty turkey chowder? Simply shred the leftover turkey and combine with some stock and double cream, along with thyme, bay leaves, potatoes, onion, leek, celery and carrots, plus some crispy bacon lardons for the ultimate Boxing Day meal. Best served with a warm, crusty bread roll – this is comfort food at its finest!
Oliver Marlowe, Owner Chef Director at Ganymede
More often than not, there’s always some Christmas pudding left over and the best way to use it up is to make ice cream! For best results, either make your own vanilla ice cream or use a really good shop bought one; let it defrost a little, then fold through chunks of Christmas pudding until evenly distributed. Pop the mix back in the freezer and leave to set again. Once set, top with clementine zest and a good measure of your favourite Christmas booze!
Vivek Singh, Executive Chef and CEO of The Cinnamon Collection
I think using up leftovers is important, and something every household could certainly do more of to reduce waste. At Christmas, I like to use left-over turkey in the ultimate Boxing Day stir fry curry with mustard seeds, onions, curry leaves, turmeric and a tin or two of coconut milk! Trust me, it’s the cheapest and quickest way to find yourself in Kerala on Boxing Day without having to take a flight!
Secret Recipes and Ingredients
Jonas Karlsson, Head Chef at Aquavit London
My secret ingredient, particularly during the festive season, is redcurrant jelly – whilst it makes for a delicious condiment, it also helps to elevate existing dishes in your festive feast. For example, throw a teaspoon or two into your gravy or braised red cabbage to really lift the best flavours from these dishes. At home, my family always makes large batches of red and blackcurrant jelly to last throughout the year and it always comes into good use around Christmas time.
Sameer Taneja, Executive Chef at Michelin-starred Benares
When cooking the Christmas turkey, I always make a spice rub with soft butter to add between the fillet and skin of the bird. Combining spices such as onion granules, mustard seeds and garlic (along with salt and pepper) in a rub and applying underneath the skin works much, much better than rubbing spices on the outside, as it helps the spices to seep into the meat and they are less likely to burn or become bitter during roasting.
Robert Pearce, Executive Chef at Bōkan
Roast potatoes are an integral part of Christmas dinner and I have the perfect tip to get them crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, which can be prepared ahead of time. Cut the potato into the desired shape, add to a pot with cold water, then bring to the boil and cook for 1-3 minutes, depending on the size. After that, cool the potatoes in ice-water until chilled, then strain and dry really well before part-cooking them in the oven a 130C for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and when cold, put them in a Tupperware and store in the freezer until you are ready to cook. When the 25th December arrives, remove them from the freezer and cook at 180C until browned, sprinkle some salt and enjoy!
Sofian Msetfi, Executive Chef at Ormer Mayfair by Sofian
It’s all about festive flavours over Christmas and clementine is an ingredient that enhances seasonal cooking. I recommend adding a handful of clementine skin into your turkey to infuse the meat with a touch of sweetness.
Callum Graham, Head Chef at Bohemia (The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey)
A good way to save energy when using your oven during your Christmas dinner prep is to cook several dishes at the same time. To save even more energy and make the most of your oven, you can turn it off for 10 minutes or so before your food is ready as it will continue to cook and do things like warm-up your plates and bread. Similarly, when heating up your oven, pop a bulb of garlic in foil in the oven and leave it for around 40 minutes. It will roast and soften the garlic so you can use the purée in your gravy, potatoes, sauces – anything you like really but it’s a nice way of eating garlic whilst being mindful of energy.