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New Year’s Eve Turkey Curry

from Christmas at River Cottage by Lucy Brazier

with notes and recipes from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (Bloomsbury) Photography Charlotte Bland

A New Year’s Eve curry is a fitting use of the last of the turkey. This recipe is by my husband Steve, a natural cook, who can make something (absolutely delicious) out of very little at all, although he does use every pan to do so. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients – you should have many of them in the store cupboard already – and adjust the chilli according to taste. Make it the day before you plan to eat it to allow the flavours to mingle and deepen before gently reheating. Serve with very cold fizz.

Serves 6–8


For the dry-roast spice mix:

2 heaped tsp cumin seeds

2 heaped tsp coriander seeds

1 heaped tsp fennel seeds

2 tsp fenugreek seeds

For the wet spice mix:

25g root ginger, grated

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 dried red chillies

1 tsp salt

10 black peppercorns

1 tsp black mustard seeds

2 tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

5 tbsp rapeseed oil

For the curry:

40g butter

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 medium onions, chopped

750g turkey, roughly torn or chopped

2 x 400g tins whole tomatoes

A generous handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped


Heat the oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3. For the dry-roast spice mix, toast all the spice seeds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until they release their aroma. Take off the heat and grind to a powder, using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Tip into a small bowl and put to one side.

For the wet spice mix, using a pestle and mortar, pound the ginger, garlic, chillies, salt and peppercorns to a fragrant mush. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the mustard seeds, tomato paste, cinnamon, sugar and 5 tbsp rapeseed oil. Add the dry-roast spice mix and stir to create a well combined paste.

In a large flameproof casserole over a low heat, melt the butter with 2 tbsp rapeseed oil. Add the onions and cook gently for 15 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the leftover turkey, tinned tomatoes and 125ml water. Stir well, put the lid on and bring to a low simmer. Transfer to the oven for 1 hour, stirring halfway through cooking. Serve with a good scattering of fresh coriander.

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