If you want a tasty way of using up some of your leftover Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey then this turkey ragu is perfect. Serve it with pasta, potatoes or rice and you can even freeze it for when you want an easy meal next month!
As much as we look forward to eating the turkey on Christmas Day, I find that there's only so much turkey everyone wants to eat. Then I'm stuck between not wanting to waste food and wanting to serve food that makes everyone happy.
I know there are lots of ways of using up a turkey but I find giving everyone a break and then getting the turkey meals out again a few weeks later actually means we enjoy them more. So, you don't just need to eat this leftover turkey ragu in December, you can eat it at any time!
This turkey ragu is slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver's Winter Ragu. I made it with turkey but you could use any leftover Christmas meat and even a mixture of meats.
Of course, if you celebrate Thanksgiving then this turkey ragu would also be a great recipe to make with those turkey leftovers!
Ingredients for leftover turkey ragu
To make this ragu you'll need:
- Onion - Red or a brown onions are fine.
- Garlic - I love to use fresh garlic but you can use a garlic puree.
- Rosemary - I usually just add dried rosemary but if you have fresh herbs then use them!
- Red wine - If you don't have any and don't want to open a new bottle you can use stock instead.
- Tinned chopped tomatoes - If you don't have tinned tomatoes but have lots of fresh ones you can use them instead. I often then add little extra tomato puree.
- Tomato puree
- Bay leaf
- Leftover cooked turkey - Darker meat such as leg or thigh works best. You can also use another leftover cooked meat such a beef, pork or chicken.
How to make turkey ragu
To make this turkey ragu, start by finely dicing the onion, carrot and celery and cooking them down in a large saucepan until they are softened. Then add the garlic.
Pour in the wine and cook, stirring for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes, tomato puree and some extra water or stock. Add the rosemary and bay leaf at this point too as well as the diced turkey.
Then just leave it to simmer for an hour and a half. It couldn't be easier to make.
What to serve with turkey ragu?
This turkey ragu is delicious with pasta, rice or potatoes. Any kind of potatoes are fine - boiled, baked or mashed!
You could also serve some green veggies on the side. I love it with broccoli or green beans.
How to adapt this turkey ragu
This turkey ragu recipe makes enough to serve 6. If you are making it just after Christmas or Thanksgiving and have a lot of leftovers to use up then it's a good idea to double or even triple the quantities in order to use up more meat. I hate throwing food away and always find it difficult to get through the whole bird, even if we eat turkey for the next few days!
Although I made this recipe with turkey, you can adapt it to use any leftover meats. It's great with chicken, beef or pork. Or even a mixture.
As it's a ragu, it's the kind of recipe that is very forgiving and it's easy to add more or less of lots of the ingredients. As I said earlier, this version is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe and I did increase the quantities of the vegetables. As they are finely diced, they just cook down into the sauce.
I used dried herbs as I often don't have fresh ones just after Christmas but of course you could use fresh ones.
If you don't have red wine then just add a little stock instead.
How else can you serve this turkey ragu?
If you do like Jamie Oliver and want to get his Christmas Cookbook then this turkey ragu is also the perfect filling for his cannelloni, lasagna and baked buns! I would just love this turkey ragu inside a baked bun. It would be like a mini calzone pizza, just in a bun shape. Who wouldn't want one of those?
Storing the leftovers
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat throughly in a saucepan or the microwave before eating.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, freeze any leftovers in individual containers for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.
You don't have to freeze in individual containers but larger containers take a long time to defrost. Plus, if you freeze in individual portions it is easier to take out the amount of servings you need.
More of Jamie Oliver's Christmas Recipes
I borrowed Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook from the library as soon as it came out. As well as this recipe I've also made Jamie's apple carpaccio.
I was extremely tempted by the jerk ham, which would be perfect if you've got guests staying and want something that could easily feed a crowd. Jamie also has leftover recipes you can make with that too! I also loved the fresh vibrant looking salads and the homemade Christmas gifts.
More recipes you might like
I love to make soup with leftovers and if I've got enough leftover roasted vegetables then I love this leftover roast vegetable soup. It's another great choice to make with Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers. You might also like one of these Christmas recipes:
- Baked Christmas ham with mustard and maple syrup
- Leftover ham soup
- Honey mustard sprouts and butternut squash
There are also lots of leftover turkey recipe ideas in this post on Age Times.
Leftover Turkey Ragu
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 carrots finely diced
- 2 sticks of celery finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 200 ml red wine
- 800 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 400 ml water or stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 400 g leftover cooked turkey diced
- Put a little oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, celery and carrot gently until softened. Stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute and then pour in the wine.
- Bring it up to the boil and let it cook for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes. Half fill each empty tin with water or stock and swirl it around before pouring into the pan as well.
- Add the turkey, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 90 minutes.
- Serve with pasta, rice or potatoes.
Pin for later
Places I'm sharing this turkey ragu
Cook Once Eat Twice, as it is perfect for more than one meal.
Pasta is always a good way to use leftover turkey/chicken!
It certainly is!
Plus this is a healthy recipe to start the New Year with!
Indeed it is!
I say it's worth cooking up a whole turkey just for this! What a luscious ragu!
I have to agree! So pleased you like it.
Well, YUM....always looking for ways to repurpose leftovers. Thanks
Thanks Wendy - I agree you can never have more than enough ideas!
Thanks for sharing this. I'm afraid I'm rather pedestrian when it comes to using leftover turkey. I freeze the remainder and then a couple weeks later we have hot turkey sandwiches or Clubhouse sandwiches or Turkey Pot Pie, which is the same old, same old. I'm going to try this recipe, it sounds great. Thanks for linking it up to my First Monday Favorites.
Hot turkey sandwiches are always good! I love pies too. I hope you enjoy this and thanks for hosting First Monday favourites - It's great to have a way to keep in touch with some of the old SRC bloggers
Have Turkey coming out of my ears!Lovely recipe for an easy meal.Just what is required in the holidays!Thankyou for hosting and a Happy New Year!X
Thanks and happy new year to you too! x
This is an excellent way to use leftovers! Happy Christmas and Joy in your hearts!
Thank you Katrina! I wish you all the best for 2017!
That's a great idea for things to do with turkey. There is always so much leftover after Christmas. I tend to use up the meat in a stir fry with noodles or a curry. Shred the meat and keep it in the freezer for later.
I love using it in a curry too and stir fries are always a great way of using up leftovers as well!
You are very organised to be thinking of what to do with leftover turkey already! This recipe looks great, no fuss (which is ideal after all the Christmas cooking) and the leftover meat doesn't go to waste.
I was organised but then chaos took over - I had a couple more posts I was going to do but just didn't have time in the end!
Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie.com
YUM! What a fab thing to do with leftover turkey. I am currently working my way through photographing and writing my leftovers ideas...I have quite a few this year and two fab ones for turkey if you need some more inspiration - they'll be out next week. But I really do like your idea of making something like this that can be frozen and used at a later date as you are very right...you can get a bit sick of turkey after Christmas!! Eb x
Thanks Eb x
Sounds and look delicious what a great way of using up left over turkey.
Thank you Jacqui! And sorry I'm so late replying - hope you've had a fantastic Christmas and New Year!
I love a good leftovers dinner and this is one that my lot would love! x #CookOnceEatTwice
I'm so pleased they'd all enjoy it x
This sounds like a great way to use up left overs. I always add more vegetables, there can't be enough! We always make a curry, usually we have to eat it for a couple of days but then all the turkey is gone 🙂
I love homemade curries and that's definitely a good way to use it all up!
Sonali- The Foodie Physician
Sometimes I feel "crazy" and Christmas go hand and hand. Recipes like this can be a blessing. Quick, easy, delicious, and best of all it's "cook once, eat twice"!
Exactly! I love Christmas but I am constantly feeling like I am behind on everything at the moment.