6 Chef Recipes for Cooking Holiday Leftovers

More than eight in ten French people say they waste food during the end-of-year holidays, according to a study by the anti-food waste platform To Good to Go published in November. Whether out of fear of missing out or out of a desire to please, we buy too much and throw away too much. Bread comes in first position, followed by side dishes, appetizers, meat, etc. The main anti-waste solution of those surveyed is the freezer. But rather than storing your leftovers at the risk of forgetting them and having to throw them away later, why not cook them right away?

THE BREAD PUDDING by Hélène Darroze

The star chef with six Michelin stars knows how to make leftovers look good: “With shellfish from the day before, you can prepare stuffed cabbage. Rather than throwing away the shells of shrimp, langoustines and others, you can make a broth that can be eaten as is or with cream; the creamy sauce obtained is ideal on cabbage stuffed with seafood. With leftover poultry, you can make a shepherd’s pie; it can be twisted by using, for the mash, vegetables served at Christmas, such as parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes. » If you haven’t reached sugar saturation after the log, Hélène Darroze suggests transforming your leftover bread into dessert: “There is of course French toast, but that’s not all! On December 26, I always make a panettone bread pudding – it works with any bread. In a dish, place the dry bread with, if you wish, candied fruits and grapes macerated in rum. Pour over a mixture of milk, cream and vanilla egg with a little sugar, then put in the oven. »


The young cook fresh from the show “Top Chef” loves to prepare leftovers: “Everything is already cooked, half the work is done! In my family, we like to keep leftovers separate to use on their own or to put together different elements of meals, it avoids feeling like we’re eating the same thing again. For example, the cooking juices or sauce from the turkey are enough to transform a pasta dish. » To make your Christmas leftovers travel, Jean finds ramen, soup noodles of Japanese origin, unbeatably effective: “Preparation and washing up are kept to a minimum. In bowls, place a little noodles, thin slices of any already cooked meat – poultry, roast pork, beef or other -, a julienne of leek or your leftover vegetables and pour over the hot broth which will reheat all ingredients. Finally, season with a dash of soy sauce. If you want something light, just omit the noodles! »


Paying homage to his origins and his Korean wife, Pierre Sang Boyer has an idea that is as brilliant as it is healthy to fit all the party waste into a single dish. “I make it a bibim-bap: each element of the meal can be served on a bowl of rice, whether leftover vegetables, meat, salad, seafood… Optionally add a little kimchi to get the deep taste of fermentation. » As he opens his new restaurant in Courchevel, the chef adds: “The next day, if there is still rice from the day before in the pressure cooker, I can even cook the leftovers and make fried rice – semi-salted butter is better! I put the end of the vegetables and meat in it, and I serve it with a raw egg yolk marinated for twenty-four hours in soy sauce. This soy sauce can itself be recycled: mix it with a little mustard, hazelnut or walnut oil, and you will have a perfect sauce for an endive salad. »


Amandine Chaignot, chef of the Pouliche restaurant and Café de Luce in Paris, is inspired by leftover poultry. Start by collecting all the meat and setting it aside. “With the carcass, prepare a homemade broth; you can freeze it to have stock all year round. » Then shred the reserved flesh; it can be used to make a competition puff pastry, simple, quick and very delicious. “Mix the poultry meat, a little stuffing if there is any left, sautéed onions and mushrooms, cheese if you like, fresh herbs and an egg to bind everything together. Season well, and it’s up to you to play with the puff pastry! You can make a pie, turnovers or any shape that pleases you. Bake in the oven and serve with a small, well-dressed salad. »


Anti-waste champion, Manon Fleury never lets bread go to waste at Datil, her newly opened restaurant in Paris: “With leftovers, I like to make a sauce inspired by the cold soup called “ajo blanco” in Spain . It’s a mixture of almonds soaked overnight, rehydrated hard bread crumbs, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. Mix everything and serve with raw vegetables or your leftover warm vegetables, a bit like an aioli. » The chef also recommends using any leftover holiday side dishes to stuff vegetables: “It’s particularly easy with onions, each layer can be filled with stuffing made from chopped vegetables, cereals or bread crumbs, why no cheese… All that remains is to put it in the oven. If you still have family at home, it’s convivial without being too heavy, and you can serve your stuffing with the garlic and bread crumb sauce.

SEAFOOD REVENGE by Julia Sedefdjian

The chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant Baieta in Paris advises recooking the seafood served as a starter during the holidays: it has generally remained on the table for a while. “I especially love shrimp with mayonnaise; the next day, they are fried with a little garlic, parsley and lemon juice. My two brothers are more in the mood for pasta, so I make them little gnocchi with a smoked salmon sauce, herbs and crème fraîche that I have left over from yesterday’s toast. At the end of cooking, I can also add the fish eggs that are lying around, to reheat them without cooking them. » The chef from Nice also offers a pimped squash velouté that will make you salivate: “I add the chestnut pieces from the turkey and croutons made from yesterday’s bread rubbed with garlic and put in the oven. »

Bread: don’t throw it away!

Bread is the first food wasted during the holidays; we have few qualms about throwing it away because it doesn’t cost much and doesn’t require much effort. However, recalls Apollonia Poilâne, manager of the house of the same name, “bread is not just the work of the baker. It is that of the flour miller and the seed grower who has kept the grain healthy for a year, and it is three years in the field between the selection and multiplication of the seeds and the harvest. Also, dry bread is very useful. You can make breadcrumbs, croutons, French toast, soups… The word “simmer” comes from there: simmering a soup, historically, meant binding it to breadcrumbs. Finally, my family recipe: melt the leftover cheese platter in a pan, toast slices of dry bread, sprinkle them with a little cumin and place the melted cheese on the toasted bread. This is a great little appetizer – or an easy dinner with a salad. »

Similar Posts