How to turn Christmas leftovers into soups and stews | Waste not

Surplus festive food makes a brilliant meal that will last you another five days. Experiment - you really can’t go wrong

Christmas is a time for feasting, but there are only so many mince pies a person can eat. If you have a glut of different foodstuffs right now, this week is the time to plan how to prevent them going off. A soup or stew is the best and most forgiving way to turn a surfeit of ingredients and leftovers into a brilliant meal with five more days’ shelf life.

Stock makes any soup or stew even more delicious, so make sure you keep any leftover roast bones, and that you pick off and save all the meat first. Simmer the bones for one to three hours with any veg trimmings, then strain and keep in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze.

Leftovers stew

The world is your oyster here, and you really can’t go wrong. Inventing a stew from leftovers is a fun way to experiment and create your own zero-waste recipes, upcycling otherwise unwanted odds and ends into a delicious meal that will last for days in the fridge.

1 small handful alliums (onion, leek, garlic), peeled and chopped, per person
1 tbsp chopped celery per person
1 small handful mixed leftover cooked and raw vegetables per person
Stock
, to cover (or water)
Leftover meat (optional)
Optional serving suggestions: torn stale bread, chopped nuts, short-life yoghurt or milk, cooked beans and pulses, finely chopped herb stalks and leaves – just remember not to confuse the taste by adding too many different ingredients: two or three main flavours are plenty to make something taste good

Start by sweating down a base of whatever alliums you have with some chopped celery. Once it’s all cooked through, add any other cooked or raw vegetables such as roast parsnips, boiled brussels sprouts or glazed carrots, all diced into large or small chunks, depending on how you are feeling. Cover the lot with stock (or water) and bring to a boil, then season and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in any saved meat pickings to warm through, then season to taste and serve.

Contributor

Tom Hunt

The GuardianTramp

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