11.27.2006

Reinventing Turkey

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I got really stuffed at dinner hosted by members of the extended family. After hearing stories of how back in the day things were tough in Russia, and then many humorous yet heartbreaking stories of poverty and survival during the Great Depression, I am very grateful for the relatively comfortable life I have today. It's hard to get back to school, but at least I have a good education, and it won't be long before the next big holiday.

It must be tough to deal with lots of leftover turkey. I've got a huge hunk of it sitting in my fridge. The day after Thanksgiving, my parents decided to cook up a turkey. It was delicious, but having had lots of turkey on Thanksgiving already, I really couldn't eat much more. So, my parents had me take a hunk of it when I left. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with it. Trouble is, I also cooked toward the end of the week, so now I've got plenty of cooked food in my fridge. When I didn't have time to cook, I had nothing, but now suddenly the fridge is packed. Still, I'm very thankful for a full fridge.

I've got a lot of ideas of what to do with that turkey so that nothing is wasted--some traditional, some not. Whether I have time to use all those ideas is a different story:

1) turkey sandwich--really obvious, but there are some non-obvious ways to make them better. My brother used to love to shred up the meat, add lots of black pepper, then melt some cheese on it. It's much better than having a dry slice of turkey on sliced bread.

2) turkey soup--I love making chicken tortilla soup, and I suppose turkey tortilla is just as good. All you need is a can of diced tomatoes w/chili, slice up a jalapeno pepper, mince some garlic, chop up some onions, green onions, and cilantro, drop in some corn tortillas, and of course the turkey, and you've got a quick and easy soup. Of course there's also the traditional turkey noodle, turkey vegetable, or turkey with rice.

3) turkey pot pie--chicken pot pie is actually pretty easy to make from scratch. I used to make it for potlucks all the time. Make the pie dough the night before (it's easy to find a recipe online). Cut up some carrots, potatoes, celery, and onions, sautee them until the carrots and potatoes are somewhat cooked through in order to cut down on baking time. Mix in the turkey bits. Add in some milk, flour, and a can of chicken broth to make a creamy mixture. Flavor with pepper or other herbs to your fancy. Roll out 2 pieces of dough, line the pan, pour in the filling, slap on the top crust, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes or so.

4) turkey pasta--make a cream or pesto sauce for it. I think anything tomato-based will ruin it.

5) turkey salad--the possibilities are endless. You can turn turkey into a meat-heavy salad, or have turkey pieces over a bed of greens. The latter, of course, is a lot more nutritious.

6) turkey porridge--my mom gets credit for this one. The leftover shell of the turkey that no one can or wants to eat is still flavorful, and this is one way to really milk the turkey for all it's worth. We didn't hunt the turkey, but we waste nothing, just like the hunters of yore. Making a rice porridge is simple--boil water, add a few scoops of already cooked rice (should be about a 1/2 to 1/3 ratio of rice to water), and boil until the rice is quite broken up. Add in the turkey carcass and anything else to flavor as necessary. Peanuts (without the shells, of course) make a good addition as well.

If you can't deal with having turkey all week, cut it up and freeze it. Deal with it a bit at a time.

8 comments:

S. said...

The turkey porriage sounds so Chinese. Like congee. Have you ever had it? Wait, are you Chinese?

LeighAnn said...

I wish I had leftovers. I'm starving!!

Sales Rack Raider said...

S.--I suppose that porridge is congee, and congee is porridge. I've always called it porridge because I never really understood how the term congee came about. Doesn't sound remotely like the monosyllabic term for it in Chinese.

Poor LeighAnn...I'm sure that your friends and family will have plenty of leftover turkey, and they'll be happy that someone is willing to help them finish it.

SDMC said...

My children love a simple turkey wrap. I take flour tortillas and wrap turkey and shredded cheese up. Stick a toothpick in to hold it closed and microwave it for about 30 seconds or so.

I'm with Leighann though - -we didn't do turkey because hubby was sick...but we'll probably have one this weekend.

Sales Rack Raider said...

Mmm...turkey wrap sounds delish! Thanks for the idea!

S. said...

In my family we called it shee fan (okay,that's phonetic). Which translates to thin rice, you get the idea. I only learned the word congee from Chinese restaurants around here, must be some kinda Cantonese thing but I know the word in cantonese doesn't sound like congee either.

Anyways, I love the restaurant kind (cheap and yummy)but not mine or my mom's made from leftovers kind.

Stacie said...

Tonight my mom made turkey and dumplings. That was good! This weekend I was making turkey sandwiches. I take some good bread and spread it with mayonaise and left over cranberry sauce, put on turkey, stuffing, and some cheddar cheese. That is pretty darn tasty! It would also be good to use a forman grill to make a paninni style sandwich with turkey, melted cheese, and apple slices, don't you think?
I have been sick with a cold ever since Thanksgiving, but I am starting to get better. The day after I couldn't taste anything, but luckily that only lasted for one day. It would have been a bummer not to be able to taste that delicious sandwich! I have been busy doing craft sales every weekend. This one was two days and it was a doozy! I hope you had a nice thanksgiving! And good job with all the timely tips!

Sales Rack Raider said...

Mmmm...the description of "Stacie's Special Sandwich" makes me hungry already. That's the ultimate Thanksgiving sandwich! The panini idea is soooo enticing as well. I love the idea of melted cheese and apples with the meat.