Even top chefs love leftovers. For Aria’s Matt Moran it’s the favourite time of all because it means he can live on turkey sandwiches and fried ham and eggs between Christmas and New Year.

Rockpool’s Neil Perry loves to make a hash with a couple of eggs to pull everything together. “My father used to make the best bubble and squeak, so I have loved eggs with anything ever since, ” he says. “Serve with bruschetta and a tomato salad washed down by a Bloody Mary.”

Minimal cooking is the aim. Restaurant Amuse’s Hadleigh and Carolynne Troy visit family and and try to stay out of the kitchen.

“Like most people, Christmas Day is usually pretty hectic for us as we attempt to catch up with all the family that we don’t get to see through the year, ” Mrs Troy says.

“Cooking wise, we try to leave it to someone else. Two whole days without any cooking is usually Hadleigh’s aim for the festive season.”

Chris Taylor, from Fraser’s, couldn’t escape the pans on Christmas Day. (however-
To make easy work of leftovers, he suggests arranging shaved meats on a big wooden board in the middle of the table and dressing it up with a burrata — fresh mozzarella with cream in the middle — for a special touch.

“It has a week’s shelf life, so you can buy it and put it aside, ” Mr Taylor says. “The texture is sublime and the good thing is that it’s finished; simply take it out of the brine and serve with a drizzle of WA olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bocconcini, buffalo mozzarella, or labneh are great substitutes.

“You can even form leftover stuffing into a sausage shape and thinly slice. Complete it all with a grilled peach — freestone work best. I have used a white peach, which is my favourite, drizzled with olive oil and either chargrilled or flat grilled. The great thing is that it can be served either hot or cold.

“Add some crisp rocket and any leftover cranberry sauce, because you won’t use it for another year.

“All you need to finish it off is some good bread — I love Loafers organic — and a glass of rosé. Perfect.”

Butcher Vince Garreffa says any leftovers after three days should be reheated and refreshed. He suggests perking up turkey and ham by basting with a honey glaze that has a bit of lemongrass, rosemary or basil for flavour.

“If you left your meats out too long on Christmas Day before putting them in the fridge, the only saving grace may be to make a curry or a pie, but the rule is if in doubt, throw it out, ” he says.

“Most people over-cater to death this time of year and don’t realise that turkey, beef and pork should be refrigerated in a cotton cloth bag dipped in a vinegar (10 per cent) and water (90 per cent) solution — not wrapped in plastic or alfoil — so they breathe. Everyone knows to do that for ham, but not other meats.” Done properly, he says — and that means they should have been put in the fridge within 20 minutes of serving on Christmas Day — they will keep for seven to 10 days.

“Otherwise, if you have a lot of leftovers, freeze them and remember that anything out of the freezer must be recooked thoroughly and served with a sauce so it’s not dry, ” he says.

“My favourite is some balsamic with extra virgin olive oil, a clove of finely diced garlic, a sprinkle of oregano and a teaspoon or tablespoon of mustard, depending on how much sauce you’re making. It will revitalise your meat.”

Of course, chop suey — it means mixed bits — is the quintessential leftover dish popularised in New York’s Chinatown in the 1880s.

Originally a stir-fry made with offal, dried seafood, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and vegetables, it was Americanised with mainstream meats to become a cross-cultural classic. Make your own with leftover turkey, pork, ham, prawns, shredded omelette, red and green capsicum, onion, snow peas and celery with a soy-based sauce. Anything goes.

Remember to add a dash of sesame oil for flavour and serve with steamed rice.


© The West Australian

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