It's 'Betwixtmas' folks! That odd, no-mans land period between Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Where a large proportion of us will be staggering back to work. Or ruminating indoors, in dressing gown and slippers. Or getting things totally mixed up and doing both. Yes, Betwixtmas is a time of confusion and if you have no clue as to what day it is, or even what time it is; don't worry, you are not alone.
Another perplexing problem at this time of year is, of course, wondering what to do with all the food that is sitting there in your fridge. Leftovers go hand in hand with the festivities after all. However, no doubt many of you are now thoroughly fed up with your gammon sandwich. Cold stuffing tends to lose its allure after a while. And the goose fat that you've been saving? The pints and pints of goose fat that oozed out of your splendid Somerset bird a couple of days ago? Have you even thought about what you are going to do with it yet?
Luckily for you, we have a solution that comes in the shape of Richard H. Turner's method for potted meat. Even better than that, we have a recipe for using up all that gloriously rich, melting meat. A 'Cowboy Cassoulet' that will make most French people spit blood and scream 'Mon dieu!' But you can rest easy with this simple trick of using up all the bits and bobs you may have lurking around in the house. Sorry, fridge. I have tested this recipe three times now. And I have to say, I am sort of thinking about continuing to make leftovers up, just to continue making this dish.
Which doesn't really make sense. But like I said, this is a confusing time of year.
Danny Kingston - Content Editor
The Potted Meat
Before we continue, you may have noticed that we haven't included any ingredients in the right hand column, as Richard's method - which first appeared in Foodism - plays fast and loose with whatever meats you have got leftover. Essentially, the meats covered here are goose and gammon but this would work with turkey, beef or lamb.
So, first you need to strip the carcass of your bird and place the meat into a casserole dish or roasting tray. Then chop up any leftover gammon, sausages, stuffing that you have left and mix that in too. Cover with a generous amount of goose or duck fat and leave in the oven at 120°c overnight. You can also use a slow cooker if you so wish.
In the morning, mix the meats some more to redistribute and check for seasoning. Then take some clean kilner jars (or jam jars) and pack them with the meat and fat mix, making sure that a generous amount of fat covers the meat. Leave in the fridge for a couple of days to mature. If you want to keep for longer, sterilise the sealed jar in a large pan of boiling water or steamer.
Now, here comes the good part.
To make your Cowboy Cassoulet, first heat your oven to 180°C and take two jars of your potted meats - approximately 350g - and place into a saucepan, with a tin of your finest (or not so finest) baked beans. Gently warm on the hob, so that the fat begins to melt and fold in. Next grate in three cloves of garlic and a good amount of black pepper and again, fold in. Try and keep things gentle here as the meat will fall apart.
Then transfer the cassoulet to a cast iron pot or pie dish.
(If you take your potted meats out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, you can bypass this stage and pour and fold straight into the iron pot.)
Blitz some stale sourdough bread - about 200g - in a processor, along with some parsley and another clove of garlic and a spoonful of goose fat. You don't want to make fine breadcrumbs here. Keep them fairly chunky.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the baked bean and potted meats and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the crumbs are crisp and golden. With the sauce bubbling through underneath.
Eat. And then think about taking another jar of potted meat back out of the fridge.