Get potting that leftover turkey or ham!


Potted turkey or ham (it looks the same!)

If you’ve still got turkey or ham in the fridge and can’t bear the thought of another ham sandwich or turkey curry, why not pot it? This blog has been here before but the post is way back in the archives.

Christmas food is lovely but it’s what to do with the leftovers which is the biggest problem. Since we also had a home-baked ham we had double the amount of food – and surplus – to find a use for. I did it with one day to spare before the end of the year and we’ve only had turkey leg curry once!

I gave some of the meat (it was a 14lb bird) to family and some of the ham but that still left a lot. The carcase was easy. I made a stock. And that helped to produce a turkey and leek soup, with the rest in the freezer. The essence from the dripping has gone on my breakfast toast (what I don’t eat will be the basis of even more soup) and I am still working out what to do with the fat left on top.

We’ve had ham sandwiches for lunch all week. There was more than enough turkey and ham to make fillings for future pies, the meat in a white sauce enriched with the double cream bought for the Christmas pudding. That went in the freezer. But there was still more. So I made potted ham and potted turkey. It’s easy. Here’s the technique. It’s not so much a recipe as a procedure.

Chop up about 8oz of meat and put in a processor. Whizz. Meanwhile gently heat half that quantity of butter to clarify. Add what spices you want to the blender with a tablespoon of wine or cider vinegar and pour in two-thirds of the melted butter, making sure not to add the solids. If you do it’s no big problem. Whizz again to the required consistency.

If you don’t want the bother of a blender and are adept with a sharp cook’s knife then the meat can be easily minced using that. I’ve just done it this year (2017) with 3oz of roast beef, mixed with half that amount of melted butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg (or mage), paprika, finely chopped cornichons and mustard, although to be honest I forgot the mustard!

Pack into small ramekins (you will need to press down with your fingers to exclude air spaces) and pour over the rest of the butter to seal. When set keep in the fridge for a week or double wrap and freeze for up to three months.

For the ham I used Dijon mustard and a pinch of ground cloves as well as salt and pepper. With the turkey I replaced the cloves with ground mace. If you haven’t got that, try its cousin nutmeg. I got two ramekins of each.

That still left me with acres of cooked turkey skin. I heated a frying pan and cut the skin into two inch squares and cooked until crisp, about three hours on the lowest light. Dried on kitchen paper and salted, it made some lovely scratchings.

I have also got the fat from the scratchings . . . Naturally I’ve saved it for the next time I have to fry.



2 thoughts on “Get potting that leftover turkey or ham!

  1. I’ve heard the term “potted meat” on TV, but wasn’t sure how it was made. Thanks for the explanation, I do have a good deal of turkey left over! To be clear, do you spread the meat straight from the ramekin onto bread and eat cold?


  2. It is spreadable and eaten cold but do make sure it is at room temperature. With all that butter it will be pretty solid. In fact, you can profitably cut down on the amount of butter in the recipe. This is an old working class dish, still seen at ‘funeral teas’ for the elderly, along with the pork pies and fishpaste sandwiches. Something very like this took the first English settlers to America. In fact, you can pot most things, from shrimps to kippers, chicken to cheese in a very similar way. It’s a way of being thrifty. Thank you for reading the blog and a very happy new year to you. I’m still making your banana teabread!


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