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How to turn your Christmas leftovers into incredible toasties

How to turn your Christmas leftovers into incredible toasties

by Ella Timney 22 December 2016

Use up your Christmas leftovers in style with our fantastic toasties.

Though many spend weeks sweating over the main event that is Christmas dinner, we'd like to take a little time to consider the beauty of Christmas leftovers. Piling stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, bits of Yorkshire pudding and cabbage into a bap may well be one of the most delicious things on earth in itself, but how about taking things to the next level with some seriously gooey, cheesy toastie action?

It's not only Christmas dinner itself that needs using up, after all. Heaving cheeseboards and meat platters, sweet festive breads and that half-used jar of mincemeat all need to go somewhere.

If you don't fancy cracking open yet another packet of crackers to pop your cheese on, the solution, as with many things in life, is to make a toastie. Here are some creations concocted by Great British Chefs staff to inspire you to liven up your leftovers. We have even invented a sweet toastie, in case you've still got room for pudding.

The Panettoastie

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Yes, although we originally invented this toastie because the pun was just too damn good to miss out on, the panettoastie is one of our proudest creations. Sweet, fruity bread packed with slices of tangy mature cheddar cheese. But as we're using the legendary Italian panettone to encase these goodies, we thought we'd throw in some slices of Parma ham for good measure – the delicate fat in Parma ham melting beautifully into the sandwich, leaving you with a sweet and savoury cheesy delight.

Method

Cut two even circular slices of panettone. Add slices of Cheddar cheese to one slice, followed by plenty of ribbons of Parma ham. Add a knob of butter to a pan over a low-medium heat and allow to melt and bubble. Add the panettoastie and cook until golden on the underside, pressing lightly with a spatula and checking regularly, as the high sugar content in the bread means it can easily burn. Very carefully flip the toastie over and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden (you may want to finish it off in the oven to assist if needed). Serve hot with more ribbons of ham, if desired.

The Reuben

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Leftover roast beef is, of course, great in a sandwich with plenty of horseradish, but we thought we'd take things up a notch with a re-imagining of this classic New York sandwich. We created a take on an adhoc Russian dressing to go with it – this is a truly cheesy, delicious creation.

Method

To make the Russian dressing, make a quick mayonnaise (or use shop-bought if preferred) and season with salt, a dash of vinegar and mustard. Stir through some chopped gherkins, onion and finely chopped parsley, adjusting to taste.

Take two thin slices of rye bread and add a layer of sauerkraut to one of them. Top with slices of leftover roast beef, then top with a good spoonful of the Russian dressing (you want it in the centre to give good oozing properties). Add slices of Provolone cheese and whatever else you have to use up – we stuck with Red Leicester. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Close the sandwich, butter the outsides and toast in an ovenproof pan over a medium heat. Once nicely toasted on both sides, place in the oven and cook until the cheese is oozing and everything is warmed through. Serve with cornichons and a little more sauerkraut on the side.

Mincemeat brioche toastie with Lancashire cheese

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Now, not everyone can get to grips with the northern habit of eating sweet fruitcake with cheese, but we personally think it's a winning combination. Our joy in the creation of this toastie, however, was in finding that we had managed to make a legitimately delicious quick dessert of sorts. Lovely caramelised brioche and a thin layer of potent mincemeat is all you need.

If the Lancashire cheese is not to your taste, it's also great with a dollop (or quenelle, depending on how fancy you're feeling) of brandy butter on top. This is one to try – a true revelation.

Method

Cut thin slices of brioche from a thick loaf, or use pre-sliced if you prefer. Spread mincemeat onto one slice and top with the other.

Place a frying pan over a low-medium heat, add a knob of butter and add the sandwich once melted. Cook until golden, again taking care to check regularly as the sugar content makes the bread burn easily.

Once toasted on both sides, transfer to a plate and either serve with a wedge of Lancashire cheese, or a dollop of brandy butter.

Cheeseboard toastie

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A cheeseboard toastie does what it says on the tin, so is a bit of a no-brainer, to be honest. However, to get our super-gooey finish, we used slices of classic melting cheese Reblochon for extra goo. Just make sure you get a variety of cheeses in it – chuck in that Stilton that has got to be polished off, some nice Cheddar – whatever you have. Serve with some tangy piccalilli on the side.

Method

Assemble your leftover cheeses and cut into slices. If using some Reblochon, cut lengthways into thin slices.

Layer the cheeses on a slice of white bread, laying the slices of Reblochon in the middle of the other cheeses horizontally along the bread. Add a dash of oil and a knob of butter to a hot pan, add the sandwich and cook until golden. Flip and cook until everything is melted and oozing.

Cut the sandwich diagonally to reveal the bands of oozing Reblochon and serve.

Yorkshire calzone

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It's possible that we may have got a bit carried away with this one – after all, who has a whole leftover Yorkshire pudding laying about, generally speaking? Saying that, we couldn't resist giving this toastie-calzone amalgamation a try.

It went very well indeed. A whole large Yorkshire pudding cooked in a cake tin (these produce the best Yorkshires generally, but this benefited greatly from it) until huge and puffy, removed from the oven, cooled and packed with all kinds of leftover goodness. We had some ham, cranberry sauce and a variety of cheeses. The results were magnificent, despite some early scepticism. This is well worth the effort of making a Yorkshire for.

Method

Preheat your oven to high, making sure your oven racks are adjusted to leave a lot of room for growth at the top (removing the top rack might be a good idea). Place a cake tin (sandwich tins are really good for this) in the oven with a good coating of vegetable oil at the bottom to get really hot.

Make the Yorkshire pudding batter. When the oil is smoking hot, pour into the tin, shut the door and do not open it until you have a wonderfully risen Yorkshire, this could take 30–40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool – it will deflate a little.

Transfer to a large chopping board and gently flatten out into a circle. Layer all of your chosen ingredients over one half of the Yorkshire – don't forget a good dollop of cranberry sauce. You could stuff all sorts into here, including stuffing, sausage, anything you wish. Fold over to enclose the fillings and create a semi-circle.

Place a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and add the 'calzone'. Fry briefly to ensure the bottom is nicely golden, then flip and do the same to the other side. Finish in the oven until warmed through then serve on a large chopping board for everyone to dig into. Delicious.

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