Food & Drink

James St Recipes: Get creative with your Christmas dinner leftovers - turkey soup with noodles and ham hock carbonara

Niall McKenna's ham hock carbonara
Niall McKenna's ham hock carbonara Niall McKenna's ham hock carbonara

WHO doesn't love the Christmas dinner leftovers? From festive toasties and topped fries to soups, pastas and curries - the possibilities are endless.

In my house, we have so many different dishes which my family love. My kids, especially, love getting creative with the leftover meat. Although simple, one of my favourites is enjoying turkey and ham sandwiches on Christmas night, with all the trimmings.

This year, with the remainder of the leftover food, I plan to batch cook some turkey noodle soup and my daughter's favourite, ham hock carbonara.

As the Christmas holidays are a busy time of year, especially when entertaining guests, spending time with family and working in the restaurant, I love having one-pot meals on hand for quick, convenient dinners.

This week's recipes will hopefully inspire you to use up and get creative with your Christmas dinner leftovers.

From my family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

:: For more recipes and cooking tips, follow me on Instagram @niallmckenna and feel free to reach out with any questions you have when it comes to cooking Christmas dinner.


(Serves 6)

30g unsalted butter

2 celery sticks, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

3cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 star anise

1.8 litres fresh chicken stock

150g fine egg noodles

600g leftover turkey, shredded

1 lemon, juiced

1 bunch of chopped parsley to garnish


To begin, melt the butter in a large pan, adding in the celery, carrots, onion and garlic and steam for around three minutes. Do not let the veg go soft.

Next, add in the ginger, star anise and cook for another three minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer, letting the vegetables cook for a further 30 minutes. Once cooked, taste the broth and if you can taste the ginger and star anise, season with salt and pepper.

Add in the shredded turkey and lemon juice and leave on a low heat for five minutes. In a separate pot, boil some clean, salted water and add in the noodles, cooking until al dente. Drain and add to the turkey broth.

Garnish with chopped parsley, and your dish is ready to serve.


Serves 2 – main course

1tsp olive oil

200g cooked ham hock, diced

150g soft cream cheese

150ml single cream

50g Parmesan, grated

500g spaghetti


To begin, using a warm, dry pan, crisp the ham hock. Then, dry off any excess fat and leave to the side.

In a separate bowl, whisk the cream cheese, cream and Parmesan until thoroughly combined

Cook the pasta in boiled, salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta from the water and toss the creamy liquid mix into the pasta until the pasta is fully covered in the sauce.

Add in the ham hock, and if needed, add a spoonful of pasta water.

To serve, garnish with more Parmesan. I like to add some chopped rocket for adults and a handful of cooked peas for kids.