Christmas Leftovers

December 27, 2011 10:24:16 AM PST
The Christmas dinner you slaved over is finally over. But chances are your refrigerator is filled with lots of leftovers. Don't let them spoil. Chef Ryan of the NoMi Kitchen at the Park Hyatt Chicago is in our kitchen to show us some interesting and creative ways to reuse all that leftover food.
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Spiced Christmas Ham and Polenta Casserole

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 shredded ham
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 sliced mushrooms
  • 2 each eggs
  • 1 each diced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoon whole butter
  • 1 cup scallion

In a large sauce pot melt butter. Add onion and mushrooms. When soft and slightly caramelized, add garlic and cook until translucent. Add golden raisins and stir for a bit. Add cream and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add polenta and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Bring mixture down to a simmer and cook until smooth and tender (about 10 to 15 min) all while continuously stirring.

When polenta is cooked remove from heat and fold in the ham and 1 cup of gruyere and the scallion (Reserving 1\2 cup for later).

Mix the two eggs into the polenta and pour the mixture into a greased baking dish. Bake in the oven uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining gruyere cheese on top and continue to bake until golden brown delicious (About 7-10 minutes).

Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Roasted Turkey, Nueske's Bacon, Banyuls and Cranberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and blanched
  • 1/2 cup Nueske's bacon lardons
  • Fleur de sel salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup pickled pearl onions plus 2 tablespoons brine/pickling juice
  • Chopped turkey/chicken/game bird
  • 1 each farm egg
  • Soft herbs
  • Leftover pan gravy
  • Any kind of leftovers you can think of.

Cranberry Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup toasted nuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1T Agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil


Render the bacon in a large skillet until slightly brown. Remove and set aside. Place the sprouts in the bacon fat, half side facing down and cook until brown. Add the pickled onions and bacon until warm then add the juice. Fry the egg in a pan and set aside. At the end, mix all ingredients together and place in a serving vessel. Slide the egg on top and drizzle with the pan gravy. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Ginger Bread and Cream Cheese Bread Pudding

  • 8 whole eggs
  • 1.5 lb. cream cheese
  • 2c sugar
  • 1qt half and half
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Leftover croissants, bread or cake scraps*
  • Berries, apples, gingerbread or other fruit (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F

Warm the cream cheese slightly in the microwave.

Paddle it in a stand mixer with the sugar and salt until creamy.

Slowly add the eggs.

Drizzle in the half and half, mix until all are incorporated, scraping the bowl well. Place the bread scraps in an ovenproof casserole dish (if you are using fruit, add that now as well).

Pour the cream cheese mixture over it until the liquid reaches almost the top of the dish.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes so the bread can soak up the liquid (can be refrigerated overnight at this point).

Press down with the plastic wrap and top up with more liquid.

Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and fill halfway with warm water.

Place the casserole dish in the baking pan -- this will prevent the custard from curdling.

Bake until no liquid comes to the surface when you push down slightly on the bread.

Serve warm. *You can use just about any scrap you have lying around -- we have used croissants, brioche, baguettes, gingerbread, pound cake, chocolate cake, fruit and nut bread, etc. Roughly chop whatever scraps you are using. If you want a bread pudding with more texture, lightly toast the scraps in a 350 degrees F oven first. If you want a softer pudding, don't toast the scraps.

Turkey Noodle Soup

  • 8 cups turkey stock (or low sodium broth)
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup diced potato
  • 3 each chopped garlic clove
  • Soft herbs
  • Cooked Noodles
  • Salt and pepper


In a pan with a little vegetable oil, quickly sauté the diced vegetables to take away the crunchiness. Immediately place the vegetables in the refrigerator. Heat up the broth and place all ingredients in when ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper last minute.

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