It’s all about the leftovers
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
My first Thanksgiving in Washington state didn’t go over as planned. My soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend was visiting from Idaho, and I’d cooked in advance a vegetarian feast for two comprised of stuffing, mashed taters, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie and assorted accoutrements of the season.
On the way from the airport back to Whatcom County, my car broke down just outside of Stanwood. Nearby mechanics were shuttered, so we spent Thanksgiving night at a hotel just off the freeway (and received a senior discount at a nearby restaurant because we requested the holiday meal on special be served without turkey).
When we finally arrived back at my place the following day, the mountain of food I’d already prepared just needed to be reheated. We did so, and even without a bird on the table it wasn’t long before food comas ensued. Needless to say, leftovers were a part of the meal plan for many days afterward.
These days, turkey is always added to the Thanksgiving dinner lineup, and I still prepare way too much food in relation to the amount of people sitting around the dining-room table.
In addition to crafting turkey sandwiches and reheating the basics, I’m always looking for ways to create something new out of the various dishes served on the day of thanks because for me, it’s all about the leftovers. In the name of research, I recently reached out on social media to find out what everybody else does with their post-Thanksgiving booty.
Turkey noodle soup was at the top of the list, followed by turkey enchiladas, shepherd’s pie, mashed potato cakes browned in an iron skillet for breakfast, clever variations on turkey sandwiches, and an intriguing dish comprised of potato, stuffing and turkey “smooshed” together and grilled hot in a waffle maker before being topped with gravy and/or cranberries.
On a slightly more international bent, another friend suggested panuchos and Yucatecan tortilla soup, while a British acquaintance pointed to turkey curry as her go-to.
“We only have turkey at Christmas, as we don’t have Thanksgiving in the UK, but this is what I do with the leftovers,” she noted, adding a link to a recipe that makes good use of the bird. After giving it a once-over, I’m ready to add a few items to my grocery list to ensure I’ll have what it takes to make it in the days following Thanksgiving.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 ounce unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
8 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into cubes
1 pint chicken or turkey stock
4 fl oz of yogurt
3fl oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
6 large handfuls leftover turkey, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Heat the oil and butter in a large nonstick casserole pot. Add the onions and cook for two to three minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, chili, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft, being careful not to burn the spices.
Add the potatoes and butternut squash and cook until the potato begins to stick to the bottom of the pan slightly. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes and butternut squash are tender. Stir in the yogurt and cream, then add the lemon juice. Add the cooked turkey, fold in and simmer to heat through. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve immediately. Serves four.
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