When you finish with your Thanksgiving dinner, you have remaining one of the best parts of Thanksgiving — the left-overs. There are so many ways to enjoy the dinner left-overs if you are lucky enough to have them. Of course, be sure to practice the rules of food safety and get any of the potentially hazardous foods refrigerated within 2 hours of completing the cooking. With all the concerns of the coronavirus, you don’t want to be concerned about experiencing a case of a food-borne illness. Trim all the meat from the turkey carcass and refrigerate the meat and carcass separately. The carcass will cook up to make a flavorful soup and you can also add some left-over stuffing to that soup as well. How about making a turkey pot pie using some of the left-over turkey and gravy along with the left-over vegetables? Sandwiches are always special, as well as salads and casseroles. Try some of the following recipes to get more creative with the remaining bounty from your special meal.
For a complete change from the usual ways you might use your left-over turkey, try making this popular Cajun dish. This one-pot meal is called a “brown” jambalaya since it does not include tomatoes. The recipe was contributed to the Billings Symphony Associates cookbook, “Start Composing,” by Dan Skeie, owner of Company D in Billings, and I have made a couple of changes to it. Make it as spicy as your taste buds like using the Cajun spice. If you don’t have the spice, I have included the recipe to make your own.
Turkey, Andouille, and Ham Jambalaya
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
3½ cups shredded or cut-up cooked turkey
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch rounds
¼ pound ham, cut into ½-inch dice
2 cups chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ bunch green onions, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
½ tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Cajun Magic seasoning (to taste)
1 cup converted or long grain rice, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
In Dutch oven, over medium heat, gently fry andouille and ham until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside with the turkey. Add onion and celery to pan and fry over medium heat until deep brown, about 20 minutes. Add soy sauce and cook another minute. Add green onions, bell pepper, and garlic and fry for 5 minutes. Add Cajun spice; add stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Add rice; reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook about 20 minutes. Stir in turkey and reserved meats. Cook until all liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked, about 10 more minutes. If needed, add more broth. Taste for seasonings. Serve and enjoy. Cajun seasoning: Combine together: 1 Tbl. paprika, 1 Tbl. garlic powder, 1 Tbl. oregano, ½ Tbl. kosher salt, ½ Tbl. onion powder, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tsp. cayenne.
A pot of turkey soup is always welcome, and this recipe makes a large quantity so you can have extras that can be frozen to enjoy at a future date. If you cook up the turkey carcass, the broth from that can be used in place of the purchased broth. Also, if you have left-over sweet potatoes, those can be used in the soup. If you prefer the flavor of fresh sage and have some of that, it can be substituted for the dill.
Turkey Dill Soup
(Makes 16 cups)
2½ - 3 cups shredded or diced cooked turkey
3 (32 oz.) cartons low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup uncooked brown rice
3 cups chopped peeled sweet potatoes
1½ cups thinly sliced carrots
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 cup chopped green onions
1½ tablespoons dried dill weed
Salt-free seasoning, pepper and salt
In a stockpot bring chicken broth to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat; simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add turkey, carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans. Simmer, covered 15 minutes. Add green onions and dill weed. Simmer 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt-free seasoning, salt, and pepper. Source: “ Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication, Soups and Stews,” 2016.
This turkey salad recipe is adapted from one that is served at the Appalachian Harvest in North Carolina. The blue cheese and pickle relish may not be the typical ingredients you think of adding, but along with the cranberries and pecans, it makes for an interesting tasting salad.
Kimberly’s Turkey Salad
(Servings: 6 – 7)
2½ cups diced cooked turkey
1½ cups chopped pecans
½ (12 oz.) bag dried sweetened cranberries
1¼ cups mayonnaise
¾ cups blue cheese crumbles
½ cup dill pickle relish
½ tablespoon coarse- ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
In a large bowl, combine chicken, pecans, cranberries, mayonnaise, blue cheese, relish, pepper, and salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors. Serve on a bed of spinach or other greens, or serve on wheat bread. Source: “Paula Deen’s Holiday Baking”.
It is hard to beat a good turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich, and this one also incorporates stuffing as well. Don’t let it stop you if you don’t have a Panini grill since you can always adapt using a skillet.
Leftover Turkey and Stuffing Panini
2 tablespoons turkey gravy
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 slices rustic white bread
3 ounces leftover roasted turkey, sliced
¼ cup prepared stuffing
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Heat panini grill. Mix gravy and mayo; spread onto bread slices. Fill with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Spread outside of bread slices with butter. Grill 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. *Tip: If you do not have a panini grill, heat a skillet on medium heat. Cook sandwich 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown, pressing down with a spatula as it cooks. Source: “Kraft Food & Family,” Holiday 2012.
Bernie Mason writes the Local Flavor column for Lee Montana Newspapers. She was a Yellowstone County extension agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.