A magnificent roast turkey is usually the centrepiece of a festive table but what do you do when there’s only four of you at that table? Since my family is in Greece and my husband’s family far, far away in Canada you would think we would downsize somewhat and serve a roast chicken instead. But, no, nothing doing, it HAS to be roast turkey and even a small one results in absolutely tons of leftovers.
I personally love leftover turkey, warmed up with a little gravy and used as sandwich filling (don’t forget a little cranberry sauce as well) but there’s only so many turkey sandwiches one can eat. If you have lots of leftovers you would be better off making pot pies or a casserole which is were this recipe comes in. I came across something similar when I was researching ideas for a book I was working on – it is a very retro kind of a dish of the type that involves cream of mushroom soup. I have given it a thorough spruce however, no tinned soup in sight.
This is best eaten soon as it cools down enough to serve. It’s very filling so all you need is some green salad or a few green beans to round off the meal. And since it contains stale bread and leftovers this ticks all the thrifty recipe boxes. Leave out the chestnuts if you prefer – I will add chestnuts to pretty much anything (see this one-pot chicken dish) given half a chance. Needless to say this recipe works equally well with leftover roast chicken.
Leftover Turkey Casserole
About 600g | 1 1/3 pounds turkey meat – preferably breast meat – sliced
8-10 slices dense wholegrain bread (stale is best)
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 slices of pancetta, finely chopped
250g | 9oz mushrooms, sliced
200g | 7.5oz cooked and peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
4 tbsp butter plus more to grease baking dish
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp plain flour
430ml | 1 3/4 cups hot chicken stock
180ml | 3/4 cup whole milk
3 tbsp sherry or Marsala wine (optional)
1 tsp mustard powder
1 bay leaf
60g | 2oz Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a medium ovenproof dish with a little butter.
- Cut the crusts off the bread and reserve. Slice the bread into triangles and line the baking dish, overlapping the slices slightly.
- Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and fry the onion, bay leaf and leek with a pinch of salt over medium-low heat until softened – about 5 minutes.
- Add the pancetta, chestnuts and mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf and set aside.
- Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a roux.
- Switch to a hand whisk and gradually add the milk, sherry, mustard powder and stock mixing continuously until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer over low heat until it thickens slightly (watch it doesn’t boil over).
- Add the vegetables to the sauce and stir to mix together. Check the seasoning.
- Spoon a layer of vegetables and sauce over the bread slices. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan.
- Arrange turkey slices over the vegetables to cover the entire dish.
- Spoon the rest of the vegetables and sauce over the turkey.
- Blitz the bread crusts in a food processor until you have small crumbs and mix with the parsley and rest of the Parmesan. Sprinkle over the dish and season with pepper.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling – covering with foil if it is colouring too much. Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving.
This recipe was created for Sainsbury’s Live Well for Less.