As much as I love Christmas Day, it’s Boxing Day that I really look forward to. It always seems that you have to get through Christmas before the holiday actually starts.
After all the hype and madness in the lead-up to the big day, Boxing Day is the first time you really get to relax, eat leftovers and hang out. And around our place everyone is so exhausted that we exist for several days in a general state of collapse. No-one really wants to cook and we happily eat various iterations of leftovers.
I’m usually the first one up on Boxing Day morning, delving into the fridge for a spot of grazing – a fix of leftover turkey and stuffing, and then another peek for some roasted veg and maybe some berries. All the good things from the day before are there awaiting either immediate consumption or some kind of simple transformation.
A big platter of freshly made sandwiches using leftover turkey, beef or ham usually does the trick for lunch or supper. If you don’t have any fresh bread, angle-slice a leftover loaf and grill the slices to give them a smoky flavour. Try my Turkey and Brie Boxing Day Sandwiches (top) or my Beef and Rocket Sandwiches (above left).
With some interesting dressings up your sleeve, leftover chicken, turkey and duck make an easy transformation into a myriad of fabulous salads. After the more traditional European flavours of a classic Christmas dinner, it’s great to wake the tastebuds with a few Asian sauces and spices, such as a dash of curry or a splash of thai sweet chilli sauce.
One of my favourite ways to use cold turkey (or chicken or duck for that matter) is in a Coronation Turkey Salad (right). The dressing in this classic salad is a lot more than your average curry mayonnaise, but worth every bit of effort. It’s one of those recipes that’s proof that good flavours never go out of date.
Another simple idea for cold turkey is to toss it through some crunchy snow peas and mango slices with a simple Asian dressing to make a Turkey and Mango Salad (below left). Or for another Asian taste sensation try my Vietnamese Turkey Salad. Duck or chicken are equally good in these salads.
Everyone always goes crazy about a Thai Style Beef Salad (below centre) and it’s such a simple assembly – thinly slice leftover cold rare beef, toss with cucumber, tomato, onions and dress with a spicy mixture made with thai sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce and some lime or lemon juice.
And once I feel rested and reinvigorated and ready to get back into baking mode, I’ll be rustling up a few batches of Cheese and Ham Twists (below right) to use up some of that leftover ham. The smell of the yeast rising puts everyone in the holiday mood and they’re perfect for picnic lunches at the beach, grazing snacks for ravenous children and teens, or an impromptu brunch with unexpected visitors.
For more Boxing Day inspiration check out these recipes.