Thursday, November 25, 2010

What to do with leftover turkey

What to do with leftover turkey
By: Chef Cristian Feher

As I sit here reeling from the debauchery that was Thanksgiving dinner, I am wondering if "tryptophan" (the chemical that is supposedly in turkey which causes that sleepy feeling) even exists. I doubt any scientist can provide a vial of tryptophan, much less even sketch its chemical make up. Ok, I am off topic already. Must focus - must be all that tryptophan...

This is a quick and to the point article on things to do with leftover turkey. The recipes are written as a quick overview. Some traditional, some new. But it should get you through the next week. So grab that turkey carcass and some surgical gloves. Let's get started.

De-meating the bird: You can do this with or without gloves. Make sure your hands are very clean, as this is crucial to making the turkey last for the rest of the week. Dirty hands will deposit bacteria on the turkey meat and have it spoil several days before you can use it all. So I like to use latex or nitrile gloves. Simply get a big freezer bag and pick as much meat as you can off the carcass. Put the meat in the bag and refrigerate. At the very least, your bag-o-turkey will be an excellent tv-watching snack. If you have stuffing in the bird, try to get as much as you can out of it, and set aside. The stuffing in the carcass is always the tastiest.

Turkey Sandwiches: There is nothing revolutionary about these, they are just really good. I actually look forward to the turkey sandwiches more than the actual dinner itself. Get some crusty french bread, heat it in the oven so it's warm, cut the bread in half lengthwise, and layer ingredients in between the bread slices in this order from bottom to top: mayonnaise, basil pesto, stuffing, turkey gravy, turkey, smoked provolone, slice of tomato.

Turkey and Stuffing Risotto: When in doubt, make risotto. I always keep arborio rice around. It's a really good way to get rid of leftovers. Sautee some sliced pancetta or bacon, add some diced onions, diced asparagus (or leftover veggies from dinner) and turkey meat. Use chicken stock (and leftover turkey drippings) and simmer all the ingredients together with arborio rice for 25 minutes until a creamy, flavorful risotto is achieved. The trick is to add stock slowly and stir often throughout the 25 minutes until the arborio rice is soft and creamy.

Turkey Burrito: This is the quick version of this recipe. Perfect for a midnight snack. Shred some turkey meat in a bowl with a fork, add a bit of tomato salsa, chopped olives and a few capers. Wrap in a flour tortilla along with mashed potato and stuffing inside the tortilla. Once the burrito is rolled, top with turkey gravy and shredded cheese. Bake in toaster oven or microwave. Serve with a tablespoon or two or cold sour cream on top.

Turkey Pasta Carbonara: This recipe is awesome - i just had to mention that. Sautee the following in a deep skillet: Sliced bacon, julienned onions, mushrooms, minced garlic, turkey meat, and chopped parsley. At the same time, put some water to boil in a separate pot and cook some pasta in it. Drain pasta and set aside when done. Back in the skillet, once the onions become translucent and the bacon is cooked, add 2 to 3 cups of chicken or beef stock (and turkey drippings if any), bring the liquid to a simmer. Add pasta and simmer with the liquid for 5 minutes. Separate 3 egg yolks from the egg whites. Take the skillet off the stove and add the egg yolks to the pasta. Stir them in very quickly and until the liquid thickens into a velvety sauce. If it's too watery, add another egg yolk. Serve right away with fresh shredded Parmesan cheese.

I hope that you had a really nice Thanksgiving this year, and since you asked; I'm thankful for for turkey and I'm thankful for you.