I bought a brilliant Christmas recipe book by Josceline Dimbleby many years ago, long before Delia, Jamie or Nigella brought a seasonal one out, and I still turn to it every year. It’s battered, stained and well-thumbed and, although some recipes and tips are a little dated by today’s standards, most are still much-loved family favourites. This delicious gratin dish is perfect for turkey leftovers and I even make it with leftover chicken at other times during the year as we enjoy it so much. The recipe serves 4 but you can just scale it up or down according to how much leftover turkey or chicken you have spare.
- A large, shallow ovenproof gratin dish, lightly greased with butter
- 600g boneless turkey or chicken, cooked and chopped into large chunks
- 125g flaked or split whole almonds, cooked until golden in 20g butter
- 60g butter
- 2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 1/2 small glass of sherry or brandy
- 175g grated cheese (you can mix leftover cheddar, mature gouda, Parmesan)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- A tablespoon of grated Parmesan
- A tablespoon of finely chopped parsley (optional)
- 6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs – enough to cover the surface of your gratin dish. Either leftover white or brown bread or a mixture is fine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 170°C.
- Cut the turkey or chicken into chunks and arrange them evenly in your ovenproof dish.
- Melt 10g of the butter in a pan and toss the almonds in it for a few minutes until they are golden. Sprinkle them over the turkey pieces.
- To make the sauce, start by making a roux. Melt 50g of the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook it for a few minutes and then gradually stir in the milk until you have a lovely smooth, thick white sauce. Now whisk in the sherry or brandy, the garlic and then the cheese. Allow the cheese to melt and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the turkey/chicken and almonds.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the tbsp of Parmesan cheese (and parsley if using) and sprinkle over the turkey mixture.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 minutes until golden-brown and bubbling.
- Serve with a simple green salad or green vegetables.
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