The best way to wind down from the main event of Christmas Day (and the massive dinner) is to create a big sandwich with your best leftovers on the 26th.
Each family and person has their own unique ideas for what goes in a Boxing Day sandwich, with controversial additions and exclusions creating heated debate.
With a potential hangover from a bit too much Christmas cheer, and after trying to catch on sleep after an early wake-up on the holiday itself, you probably don’t have much bandwidth for culinary mastery.
However, we’ve compiled some tips from chefs and food experts so you can easily upgrade your leftovers into a stunning sandwich to get you through movie marathons and family boardgames.
The meat (or meat substitutes)
Gemma Simmonite, chef and co-owner of Gastrono-me, in Bury St Edmunds tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Choose a couple of meats, to keep your taste buds guessing, this ain’t no service station turkey and stuffing sarnie, I like turkey, ham and bacon, even a bit of pastrami!’
Laura Edmunds, who runs Hello Neighbour/Artusi By Night, says she prefers leg ham, ‘because you’re over turkey, so you bring in a salty ham to spice things up.’
If you’re using leftover turkey, or a substitute like nut roast, beware that these are both quite dry fillings. That’s not a problem as such, but it means you’ll want to compensate for it when it comes to sauces, bread type, and extras.
Gemma is a big fan of gravy, saying: ‘Do spread on cold gravy, despite it feeling strange. Then spike it with something hot – creamed horseradish, English mustard are my favourites, a little cranberry is also nice as a sweet contrast.’
Her technique of choice is to, ‘smear one side of the bread with some of the cold gravy, smear the other side equally with mustard and horseradish.’
Victor Garvey, chef-patron of SOLA in Soho has a luxurious take on your standard sauces, saying: ‘In my family we have caviar on Christmas Eve and chateaubriand with horseradish for Christmas Day.
‘So my perfect Boxing Day sandwich is toasted white bread, spread with crème fraiche that’s been whipped with any leftover caviar and horseradish cream, with thinly sliced leftover rare beef. Delicious!’
Granted, we might not all have some leftover caviar, but you can buy lumpfish roe fairly inexpensively from larger supermarkets, which will give you the same salty tang.
All in all, you want to compliment your fillings so you’re not simply eating cold meat on bread.
If you go for the ham option, Laura says: ‘whole grain mustard is like ham’s best friend.’
Think about your leftovers from Christmas dinner, but also give some consideration to those pantry items (perhaps from hampers or bought in haste running round the supermarket a few days earlier).
‘Get some crunch in there – ‘slaw is super, and I also love a couple of sliced up pickled onions, or pickled walnuts. The brilliant thing is most of these will be in Christmas pantry anyway.’ says Gemma.
She adds that it’s all about texture, and ‘a bit of stodge,’ continuing, ‘stodge is good here, so include leftover stuffing, mushed up roasters, soggy Yorkshires, bread sauce.
‘These additions will be what lines your stomach and makes it possible to indulge in maximum Christmas tippling.’
Laura also suggests a pickle in her Christmas Reuben-style creation, saying, ‘you get sweet salty and peppery all wrapped up.’
St Pierre breads recommends lettuce, and while the crunch is undoubtedly necessary, it’s a divisive choice.
A spokesperson for St Pierre breads says: ‘The perfect solution is to use brioche. The sweetness will help to settle any sore heads after celebrating the big day!’
Gemma’s pick is lightly toasted Deli Rye bread, which she says will allow you to layer your fillings.
She says: ‘You can’t layer this bad boy in a flaccid white homogenised loaf – this is a pap free zone. Choose something like a sourdough, or a rye that is going to stand up to the challenge.’
If your fillings are squishy – with roasties and lashings of bread sauce and gravy – then choose your bread to go with that. For those that are less full and more sturdy filling-wise, you can choose a soft bread to envelop the deliciousness.
Laura says that this should be ‘definitely tiger bread with thicccc butter.’
One final tip from Gemma is: ‘Most of all, and I do demand this – is cram, cram, and cram some more in order to make this Christmas sandwich the ultimate.
‘You should now be looking at the most splendid creation – less a sandwich, more a veritable feast between bread.
‘Eat undisturbed, partly as this will get messy, and partly so you don’t have to share.
‘May I also remind you not leave this sandwich unattended in the fridge – people WILL steal “my sandwich, MY saaaaaannnndddwich!!!”’
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