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Dublin: 16°C Friday 19 August 2022

Christmas Fare: Leftovers need TLC? Shane Rigney's got a recipe for hash topped with poachers

Shane Rigney of Riggers D8 says you’re not allowed throw out yesterday’s leftovers, time to get creative instead.

Shane Rigney

IT’S A STEPHEN’S Day tradition really that every house in the country should have about 14 pots of crusting, overcooked vegetables littered haphazardly around the kitchen topped merrily with various coverings of unsuitable sizes on Christmas Day.

Lurking behind that will probably be half a leftover ham similarly adorned with cack-handed tin foil.

And with the best of intentions of refrigeration, all that lovingly prepared, slaved-over and costly fare invariably go down the drain with the dregs of the flat prosecco and nana’s curdling trifle.

This is often the time when one member of the family can be heard saying, from the sofa, ‘that won’t all fit in the fridge’, ‘I never want to see that turkey again’ or ‘there’s too much food at Christmas, just too much food’.

By the time someone has given in to the many ‘gentle’ nudges and headed in to tackle the pots (you know who you are, you haven’t lifted a finger all day and are miraculously unshiny from ovens and central heating), the consensus is often to chuck the sad leftovers out altogether.

No waste, no way

If like me, you are the elected caterer you will understand the Christmas nightmare of watching the fruits of your body weight in blood, sweat and Gin & Tonic sitting at the top of the compost.

So about five years ago I started what is now a Stephen’s Day tradition around ours which almost always goes down better than the main event. My leftover hash topped with poachers is an absolute winner.

And the kicker? The contents of all the pots get swiftly scraped into one big Tupperware ready to be fried together ‘bubble and squeak’-style for Boxing Day Brunch, so even less stress with the cleanup.

For that cleanup, simply select that one ingrate (there’s always the one who barely looks up to acknowledge your exertions) to arise from their food coma and spend 30 seconds clearing pots while you enjoy a well-earned glass of vino and a nice sit-down.

So, many of you might be waking up today feeling tired, overfed and vowing never to eat turkey and ham again, but this recipe should change all that for you.

Enjoy, this is a savoury umami dish that’s sure to satisfy on all levels with a lovely subtle sweetness from the cranberry jelly, so doesn’t go filling the freezer with more food than you need!

Leftover hash topped with poachers

shutterstock_1329534710 Source: Shutterstock/Elena Veselova


Yield will depend on how much leftovers you have and how many you are feeding! Aim for equal parts of each veggie. These are rough guide amounts, the idea is to use whatever you have left from your feast:

  1. 200g or so of mashed potato or roast potatoes

  2. 200g of cooked Brussel Sprouts

  3. 200g carrots, parsnips or both

  4. 200/300g of ham (you can use turkey too but ham is best) shredded or roughly chopped

  5. Any fresh herbs roughly chopped that you may have left

  6. 1 large onion finely sliced into strips

  7. A couple of tablespoons of cranberry jelly (optional & adjust to taste)

  8. Butter and olive or rapeseed oil for frying

  9. 2 free-range eggs per person

  10. Leftover gravy or any condiment or sauce you have knocking about in the fridge


  • On Christmas Day, make sure that all of the leftover spuds and veggies are quickly decanted to a large Tupperware after dinner with an airtight lid or foil. Use a few smaller ones or whatever you have

  • On St. Stephens Day, when ready for brunch or late lunch, heat a generous knob of butter with some oil and fry the onions until starting to brown in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add a little salt to get them going quicker

  • Throw in your ham, spuds, sprouts, herbs and leftover veggies and slightly mash and break up with a wooden spoon

  • Allow everything to slightly crisp on the bottom and then move around and repeat until you have a hot slightly crispy ‘hash’, you don’t want everything to turn to mush but no big lumps either. Stir in cranberry sauce and add a little more oil if needed when frying

  • Meanwhile, bring 500ml of kettle hot water to the boil and add a dash of white wine vinegar, swirling around with a whisk to make a hollow in the centre

  • Carefully crack and drop your eggs into the centre and poach for 3 minutes for soft and runny or to your desired cooking

  • Heap the hash in even portions onto warmed plates creating lovely crispy, plump mounds in the centre of the plates

  • Carefully arrange your poachers on top and pour over a couple of tbsp. Of warmed leftover gravy.

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Enjoy & Merry Christmas!

Shane Rigney is a chef and owner of Riggers D8 in Inchicore. Find out more on Riggers online, Instagram and Facebook. 

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