Essential ingredients: Christmas leftovers


Photograph: Joe Woodhouse
No matter how many mouths there are to feed on Christmas Day, there always seems to be leftover turkey come Boxing Day. This year, forget about sandwiches: cook up our Head Chef Stewart Turner’s Thai green curry

Christmas is always going to be the season of overindulgence, and each year the Christmas Day leftovers always leave me wondering how so much food can go uneaten or I can overestimate how much turkey everyone will eat. Rehashing the festive lunch has become something of an obsession. This Thai green curry has been my go-to Boxing Day special for the past few years. Spicy and fragrant, it’s great for banishing the fog of the day before and setting us up for the traditional Boxing Day stroll. You can also add any leftover veggies that you like.

Thai green Turkey curryServes 8
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 onions – peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 to 5tbsp Thai green curry paste – see below or use a readymade one
  • Half a bunch coriander – roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 200g medium leaf spinach
  • 100 g baby sweetcorn – cut into chunks
  • 100g mangetout – halved
  • 100g sugar snap peas – halved
  • 100g shitake mushrooms – quartered
  • Leftover cooked turkey – cut into bite sized pieces
  • Thai fish sauce
  • 2 limes – quartered, to garnish
  • 50g toasted peanuts – chopped (optional)

Sweat the onions in a good glug of vegetable oil until softened but not coloured. Add 3tbsp of the curry paste and fry for three minutes to cook out. Mix in the coriander and cook for a further minute. Pour in a third of the coconut milk and boil until it splits, add the rest of the milk and chicken stock, bring to the boil and stir in the spinach. Once the spinach has wilted, remove from the heat. Blitz the sauce in a blender and pass though a sieve into a clean pan, then set aside.

Wok fry the shitake, baby corn and leftover turkey with the remaining curry paste over a medium heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mangetout and sugar snap peas. Cook for another minute, then pour in the sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes until the turkey is piping hot. Finish with a good glug of fish sauce.

Sprinkle with some coriander leaves and toasted peanuts, serve with cooked rice and the lime wedges for people to squeeze on if required. (NB If you’re not cooking today, the sauce can be made a few days in advance. Stir fry the vegetables with the leftover turkey and add to the sauce.)

Thai green curry paste

  • 4 to 6 medium green chillies – de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots – roughly chopped
  • 5cm or 2-inch piece of fresh ginger – peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves – crushed
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander – stalks and roots attached if possible
  • 2 lemongrass stalks – chopped (if unavailable, use 2tbsp dried)
  • 1 lime – grated zest and juice
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces (if unavailable, use the grated zest of 1 extra lime)
  • 2.5cm or 1-inch piece galangal – peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds – crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.

What to drink: It’s possible Boxing Day demands a day off, and we’d be tempted by a cold beer, but for wine, off-dry Riesling will work alongside the aromatic spice of this dish (our own-label Kabinett would be ideal).