Christmas leftovers – turkey, ham, sprout and tarragon gratin with a chestnut and Cheddar crumb

Christmas leftovers – turkey, ham, sprout and tarragon gratin with a chestnut and Cheddar crumb

After a couple of days of turkey and ham post 25th December, we’re all a little bit tired of the same old food being passed around time and time again.

So I love transforming them into something quite different but equally delicious as their original incarnation.

This recipe is a great way to use up all the odds and sods leftover from the big day.  The finished dish is tasty and comforting, perfect for those days in-between Xmas and New Year with a nice glass of wine.  You can prepare most of the recipe ahead and simply whack it in the oven 40 minutes before you’re ready to serve.    Perfect with a nice salad, or some of that leftover red cabbage you need to finish off!

Feel free to change the ratios of meats and if you’ve got no sprouts left, you can leave them out or substitute with carrots or even parsnips if you have some leftover.  I always like to tear chunks of chicken or turkey into smaller pieces rather than cut into cubes, it tends to look much nicer on the plate, so I’d advise you do that here.

Serves 4-6

  • 250g cooked turkey
  • 250g cooked ham, roughly diced
  • 200g cooked Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 leek (about 200g), cleaned and sliced into 1cm thick rounds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 75g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground mace or nutmeg
  • 10 tbsp breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs can range in dryness so weights will vary, so best to measure in tablespoons)
  • Olive oil
  • 40g mature Cheddar, finely grated
  • 100g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp black pepper

Melt the butter in a large heavy based saucepan.  Add the leeks and bay leaves and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until the leeks have completely softened.

Add the flour to the leeks, incorporating the flour into the butter.  Allow to cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes.   Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the milk a little at a time, stirring with each addition.  Only add more milk once the last addition has been fully incorporated. Once all the milk has been added, return the pan to the heat, bring to a simmer and allow to cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.  This is your basic white sauce which you’re now going to flavour up.

Add the two varieties of mustard, tarragon, salt, black pepper and mace (or nutmeg).  Give everything a good stir and then add the cooked turkey, ham and sprouts.  Have a taste and add more seasoning if you feel it needs it.

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with a small drizzle of olive oil, mixing well to distribute the oil evenly amongst the crumbs.  Now add the cheese, chestnuts and parsley to the bowl along with some black pepper.  Give everything a good mix.

Pour the leek and cooked meat mixture into a baking dish (around 30cm x 20cm).  This can now be cooled and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve if you like.   If you do want to cook it later, be sure not to add the crumb until the final cook.

When you’re ready to finish the dish, preheat your oven to 170°C.  Sprinkle the Cheddar & chestnut crumb over the meat, leek and sprout mix and pop in the oven for 40 minutes until nicely browned on top.

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