THE closing of the year is almost upon us, and I do hope you all had a lovely Christmas break.
I imagine, because this happens every year, that the fridge in your house is full of clingfilm-covered bowls and plates of leftovers (although that pile of cold sausages is getting suspiciously small – women, please be aware that the men in your life do not ‘count’ cold sausages as food, more as something to nibble while choosing what to eat from the rest of what’s on offer!) and the shelves of the cupboards are still groaning with all the stuff we bought in ‘just to be sure’.
All this despite the supermarkets being open pretty much all the time, and us all complaining to each other that that’s what people do every single year! So, what to do with all that stuff?
Well, seriously, if you’re not going to eat it all, there are plenty of charities who would love any unopened cans or packets (I understand coffee is particularly under-donated and that they have plenty of baked beans already, thank you!) For example, try local charity Simon On The Streets (call 01132438550 or email email@example.com) who help homeless people nearby get a decent feed now and then.
Some supermarkets often have a can-drop bin too, which is a great way of giving a little help to those less fortunate. But this is sadly not of any use for our leftover turkey carcass, which always seems to have plenty of meat on it, no matter how much is prised from the bones in the days after the big feast.
The legs, that much-feared brown meat (what is it with some people?) are seemingly always the last to go.
Chefs are forever trying to think of new ways to use up the remains of Christmas lunch, and while I think my big Swedish fry-up (Pytt I Panna, which I shared with you last year) is one of the best, I thought that I’d try something new this year.
It’s certainly not original; many chefs have come up with similar recipes, but it’s incredibly delicious, offers a great textural change, and can be eaten as a snack or bulked out to make a fancy little supper.
This time, we’re gathering up all our lovely turkey leftovers into jumbo spring rolls.
Chopped turkey meat, sausage, stuffing and vegetables, enlivened with some fresh spring onions and crunchy carrot, wrapped in wonton pastry and deep-fried to a crispy crunch.
Perfect with a few bitter leaves as a snack or lunch, or perhaps pop a couple with a scoop of mashed potato or, better still, fork-crushed butternut squash and you’ve got a great supper.
Of course, my recipe gives only a basic guideline to leftover spring rolls. The filling will depend largely on what you have lying around in the fridge – it’s important to make a mixture that’s best for you. Adding the fresh crunch of carrots and the greenness of the parsley and spring onions really does enliven the finished dish, but everything else is up to you as you stand in front of the open fridge. Be brave. Experiment a bit.
The spring roll wrappers really do make a difference, having that unique chewy crunch that marries up well with the soft filling, but if you can’t find them locally (I found mine at the lovely little oriental supermarket, Dong Dong, just opposite the sports centre) then filo pastry will do fine.
You will be better off brushing the rolls with lots of butter and baking them instead of deep-frying if you go down the filo route, but the end result will be similar.
So, for the last time in 2011, aprons on! Happy New Year, everyone. Thank you all for joining me here each week. Here’s to a great 2012 for us all.
For the filling:
100g leftover roast turkey
100g leftover stuffing
100g leftover roast potatoes
100g leftover roast parsnips
50g diced chestnuts
A few leftover chipolata sausages
A few spoons of cranberry sauce
A handful fresh parsley
1 large carrot
4 large spring onions
A little Tabasco sauce (optional)
For the rolls:
1 packet 10-inch Spring Roll wrappers
3 egg yolks
A pinch of salt
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Deep fat fryer or suitable pan, pastry brush
First, let’s make the filling. Dice up the roast meat, stuffing and vegetables into rough cm cubes.
Do the same with the chestnuts and sausages. Cut the carrot into thin sticks about 5cm long. Chop the spring onions into fine slices. Chop the parsley roughly.
Mix all this together in a bowl with the eggs and enough cranberry sauce to bring the mixture together just a little. Add a shake of Tabasco if you like, and season well.
Beat the egg yolks with a little pinch of salt to make the glaze. To make the spring rolls, take a sheet of pastry and brush lightly with the beaten yolk.
Place another wrapper on top as neatly as possible and brush this with the egg. Now, turn the square so that it is a diamond shape in front of you.
Spoon a few tablespoons of turkey mixture across the middle of the pastry.
Fold the left and right corners into the centre, neatening the filling if needs be. Then fold the lower triangle up and over the filling, pressing the filling together lightly.
Then, it should be that all you need to do is roll the parcel upwards, allowing the final ‘corner’ to seal the roll. Brush all over with the egg glaze and chill until you’re ready to cook.
To heat the spring rolls, heat a few inches of vegetable oil in a suitable deep, heavy saucepan, until a cube of bread sizzles and browns within 10-15 seconds.
Deep fry the rolls in batches of one or two, and drain on kitchen paper, keeping them warm until you’ve finished them all. Serve hot and crispy (they will hold crisp in a warm oven) with your choice of accompaniment.