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How to use the turkey? let us count the ways
Come Friday, the turkey will have been gobbled. The pots, pans and dishes will have been washed. It’s all over but the leftovers.
For many of us, that’s the best part of all the fussing over the Thanksgiving feast. Some even buy a bigger bird than they need, just to assure they will have extra meat. There are plenty of ways to recycle your leftovers into some unique and tasty dishes.
Before we delve into some great ways to use leftover turkey, here are some tips for storing it, from the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, so you won’t have a run-in with food poisoning.
• Slice or strip the meat from the carcass and remove the stuffing within two hours of cooking.
• Refrigerate leftover turkey and stuffing separately in shallow containers with tight-fitting lids to keep the turkey moist. After the meat and stuffing have been removed, the carcass can be wrapped and refrigerated to be used for making stock.
• Leftover turkey should be used within four days or frozen in moisture-proof freezer paper or foil and used within six months. Use the refrigerated stuffing and gravy within two days.
• Reheat leftover turkey thoroughly to an internal temperature of 164 degrees or until hot and steaming throughout.
Now that you’ve got your treasured “planned-overs” properly stored, here are some ideas for making use of them — starting with the turkey carcass in this recipe from smoker-cooking.com.
Place the carcass in a baking pan and bake in a 350-degree oven until lightly browned. Remove and cool. Break up the carcass and place in a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover the bones. Slowly bring the mixture to a simmer. Watch for scum buildup and skim off as it forms. Simmer for about 2 hours.
On a square of doubled cheesecloth, place 1/4 teaspoon each dried tarragon, dried oregano and dried rosemary; 1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns; 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley; and 1 large bay leaf. Bring the corners of the cloth together at the top and tie. Toss the seasoning pouch into the stock pot.
Chop 1 medium onion, 1/2 cup each celery and carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic and toss them into the pot. Simmer for another hour.
Remove the stock pot from the heat and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Slowly pour the liquid through a strainer to separate it from the solids. Try to keep most of the solids in the stock pot as you pour. Dispose of the solids. Use stock in recipes or store in zippered freezer bags.
COOK LIKE A CHEF
Greg Soukup, chef and owner of Blue Sage Café and Catering, roasts dozens of turkey this time of year. His go-to recipe for using the leftover meat is Bombay Turkey Salad. You can serve it as a salad or sandwich filling. It’s tasty and elegant either way.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 pound bite-size pieces of turkey dark meat with 1/2 cup each diced celery and sweet red onion, 1 cubed Granny Smith apple and 1/4 cup Craisins. Add 1/2 cup each plain yogurt and mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder, 1 tablespoon each minced Italian parsley and lemon juice, 2 tablespoons mango chutney, and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Stir well to combine mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over fresh spinach or baby greens and garnish with candied walnuts, cranberry sauce and additional sliced apples.
“For best results, let the salad set (in the refrigerator) for at least two hours so the flavors combine,” he said. “If you want the salad to be a little spicier, add fresh jalapeño or serrano peppers.”
For Brother Luck, executive chef at the Craftwood Inn, leftovers get the creative juices flowing.
“There are so many possibilities of using leftover turkey after the holiday,” he said. “As a chef, I always look forward to a classic turkey sandwich, but sometimes I crave a little more wow factor. The first things that come to mind are enchiladas, shepherd’s pie or stew.”
Luck gave us a fun recipe for an Oven Roasted Turkey Flatbread with roasted butternut squash, bleu cheese crumbles and balsamic syrup.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread about 2 tablespoons cream cheese over 2 flatbreads. Sprinkle 1/4 cup roasted and diced butternut squash (recipe follows), 1/4 cup chopped leftover turkey, and 1 tablespoon bleu cheese crumbles over each flatbread. Place in the oven and warm for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Toss 1/4 cup arugula leaves with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons balsamic syrup.
To prepare roasted butternut squash, peel a small squash and cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with spoon and dice squash into medium pieces. Combine in a medium baking pan with 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground cinnamon and Kosher salt. Add 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons canola oil and a pinch of red chile flakes. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes until the squash is tender.
Tired of turkey? Freeze the meat for up to six months. It will make a delicious addition to your favorite soup when the December chill arrives. Or, make this Turkey, Spinach and Cranberry Wreath for a festive, elegant-looking entrée. We got the idea from the “Pampered Chef All the Best From Our Kitchen to Yours” cookbook and tweaked the recipe a bit. See a step-by-step video at gazette.com/food.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 (10-ounce) package thawed and drained spinach, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/4 cup each Craisins and toasted almond slivers, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 chopped garlic clove, and 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
Unroll 2 (8-ounce) cans of crescent rolls onto a work surface and separate the dough into 16 triangles. On a large, flat cookie sheet, arrange eight triangles in a circle with the large ends slightly overlapping in the center and pointed ends extending outward. Match the large ends of the other eight triangles to the triangles on the cookie sheet. The pointed ends will extend into the center of the circle. Press the ends of the large triangles together, creating a smooth surface for filling.
Using an ice cream scoop, place mounds of spinach filling over the dough in a continuous circle. Beginning with the last triangle placed in the center of the pan, bring the point of the triangle straight across the filling. Next, bring the point of the opposite outside triangle diagonally across the point of the previous triangle. The filling will show. Repeat, overlapping points of inside and outside triangles to form a wreath. Tuck the last end under the first.
Brush the top of the wreath with 1 egg white that has been beaten lightly. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Bombay Turkey Salad
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound turkey, pulled into
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced sweet red onion
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cut
into large dice
1/4 cup Craisins, currants or raisins
1 teaspoon Madras-style curry
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
2 tablespoons mango chutney
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1 fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper
Combine spices, herb, juice, mayo and yogurt for dressing.
Combine dry ingredients, add to dressing, mix well and refrigerate. For best results, let salad set for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to combine.
Serve over fresh spinach or baby greens, and garnish with candied walnuts, cranberry sauce and sliced apples, or serve as a sandwich on warmed croissant with a side salad.
Source: Greg Soukup, chef and owner of Blue Sage Cafe and Catering
Yield: 8 servings
2 packages of refrigerated
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach,
thawed and drained
1/2 cup dried Craisins
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In medium bowl, mix turkey, spinach, Craisins, cheeses, almonds, mayonnaise and black pepper. Set aside.
Separate crescent roll dough into 16 triangles. Arrange 8 triangles in a circle with wide ends of triangles toward the center on a large, flat cookie sheet. The corners of wide ends should overlap and points will extend 1 inch beyond baking sheet. Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center, matching the wide ends together. Press the wide-end seams together. The points will overlap; do not seal them together.
Scoop filling in the flat area of the crescent rolls. Lift the inner dough triangles across the filling and tuck under other side of filling. Continue with the outer triangles, lifting them over the filling and at the opposite diagonal direction from the inner triangles. Brush top of ring with egg white and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and serve.
Adapted from: “Pampered Chef All The Best From our Kitchen to Yours.”
Oven Roasted Turkey Flatbread sandwich
Yield: 2 servings
2 flatbreads or Naan
1/4 cup leftover turkey
1/4 cup roasted butternut
squash, diced (see
1 tablespoon bleu cheese
1/4 cup arugula leaves
2 tablespoons whipped cream
2 teaspoons balsamic syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread cream cheese over flatbreads. Sprinkle butternut squash, turkey and bleu cheese crumbles over flatbreads.
Place in oven and warm for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Toss arugula in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic.
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