Every Christmas, it is the same story. Despite the fact the whole family has eaten enough to be in semi-permanent food comas, there is always a mountain of leftovers.
But before you shudder at the thought of the sheer volume of dry turkey and ham sandwiches which pave the road to your future, celebrity chef Miguel Maestre has a few tips to keep the magic of Christmas food lasting beyond December 25.
1. Store correctly
That’s right – before you settle in for a few more Christmas drinks and a cheeky nap, you need to start your leftover prep. (There’s no time like the present, right?)
And no it’s not because we want to be the nagging aunt who is obsessed with cleanliness.
There’s actually a good reason for this.
“Usually people are not aware how quickly we need to pack the food away,” Maestre said.
“Once you’ve finished your big meal, do it then.
“Usually we leave it out for two or three hours and the life of the ingredients gets much shorter.
“And pack them away properly – in air-tight containers.”
2. Be creative
Now that you’re leftovers are going to go the distance, it’s time to get your chef’s hat on.
“You can do a million things,” Maestre said.
“With the turkey I’ll do some funky little recipes like san choy bow or fried rice.
“You can just add some crispy rice with the turkey and some mushrooms for the fried rice and for the san choy baw you chop the turkey and the ham really little and cook it all with a little ginger and herbs and put it in the lettuce cups with some Asian sauce.
“Or you can do some really mad tacos as well.”
See? Leftovers are not just for sandwiches.
Read more: The secret ingredient for Christmas dinner
Yes, we know – you’ve already cooked the turkey once; why do you need to do it again?
For the simple fact that it will taste better.
Maestre said the trick to picking the perfect leftover recipe, is to find something you can assemble.
“You want things that you can recook and make them crispy again,” he said.
“Get creative – always get two or three ingredients to mix in there and freshen it up.
“Get some colour in there and bring it back to life.”
4. Don’t waste anything
The one thing which Maestre is mindful of more than anything else, it’s wastage. Everything has a delicious use.
“I’ve never in my life wasted one bit,” he said.
“I use the bones to make a soup; I use the off-cuts to make things like carbonara; I use the turkey bits and pieces to make things like the tacos. I never waste anything.
“It’s funny – turkey and ham are some of the most wasted foods in Australia.
“If you have a look at how much food wastage we do, it’s quite scary.
“Every Australian family will waste over $1000 of food every year in just groceries we don’t use.
“It’s scary numbers when you think that there are people who have nothing to eat.”