The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

November 16, 2013

Cooking with Simon: Turkey traditions from across the pond

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Being from England and New Zealand, Thanksgiving is a tradition that I’ve only celebrated for a handful of years. So when I think about eating turkey it was always a Christmas turkey.

But like many Americans, I probably looked forward to the leftovers more than the grand meal. In England we celebrated Boxing Day. A tradition from the Victorian era, where the day after Christmas people who were service class had the day off and were given boxes of presents and food as a gift from their employers.

Typically, these were workers in the large estates or manors.

Regardless of what class you represented, over the years Boxing Day became a day when everyone celebrated the holiday season with friends who may not have been part of the family celebration on Christmas day.

For the Boxing Day dinner, mum would make turkey patties made out of all the Christmas leftovers that we called rissoles.

They contained chopped turkey, of course, but also roast potatoes, vegetables and stuffing. Each thing was chopped separately, then molded together into a patty and pan-fried.

Mum would have these ready after a great day out on the Boxing Day treasure hunt organized by the local tennis club. It was a great family tradition going from town to town looking for clues to the next destination and then ending up at home for dinner.

English Turkey Rissoles


4 cups turkey meat, brown and white

1 cup stuffing

2 cups other leftovers – potatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, corn or whatever else was served

2 eggs

Salt and pepper, to taste


In a food processor chop all ingredients, but chop separately. Place in mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add eggs. Fold together, and form into small cakes that are about 3 inches wide and 2 inches thick. Cook in fry pan with small amount of oil until brown on both sides. Serve with cranberry sauce, turkey gravy or on a bun. When using left over meats make sure they’re heated all the way through.