Kitchen Wit and Wisdom: Let’s talk turkey leftovers

There are so many ways to eat up turkey dinner leftovers after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day has passed leaving many of us with a fridge full of leftovers from the feast.

Since we can’t offer them to the thousands of hungry refugees in the world, we’d best not waste our food.

There are so many ways to eat up turkey dinner leftovers. Everything from sandwiches, à la king, casseroles, and soups are being stirred up this week.

I have two good recipes to add to the list. The first is a great turkey soup. The second is a turkey casserole, with leftover (or fresh) yams, applewood-smoked bacon, Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onions with Gruyère cheese crust. Serve with a crisp salad and supper is ready.

Turkey Leftovers Soup

8 cups water

1 leftover turkey

2 tbsp whole peppercorns

1 bay leaf

3 sage leaves

1 tsp ground savory

2 tbsp salt

3 stocks celery, roughly chopped

3 large carrots, roughly chopped

1 large onion, roughly chopped

2 cups frozen vegetable mix or leftover veggies of choice*

2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup raw rice

1 cup diced tomatoes with juices

2 cups chopped leftover turkey

*I use carrots and celery as well

De-meat the turkey carcass. Once the turkey is cold, pull off any extra meat and save it in a container. Put the carcass in a large canning pot (or the largest pot you have).

Add in 8 cups of fresh water, and all of the spices. Add roughly chopped vegetables. Turn the stove to high until it reaches a rolling boil. Cover and reduce the heat until it’s just barely boiling.

Cook it for 1 hour and pull out the bay leaf. Cook for an additional 6 hours then strain the broth into another large pot. Discard the bones. You should have about 6 cups of broth.

Taste the broth for salt and spices. If it’s too salty, add water. If if needs more flavour then add more spices, salt, or a stock cube. It should be packed with flavour. Chill until you want to finish the soup.

To finish the soup,  add potatoes, rice, veggies, tomatoes, along with the turkey, to the broth. Boil on medium/high for 15-20 minutes or until the potato and rice are soft. Taste and season. Enjoy!

Leftover Turkey Casserole

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 pound applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips

1 large onion, diced ¾ inch

2 packed cups leftover turkey meat, diced ¾ inch

1 pound (about 2 medium) baked garnet yams, diced ¾ inch (candied leftover yams can be substituted)

2 cups cooked Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters

1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

6 ounces (about 1½ cups) grated Gruyère cheese

20 saltine crackers

1/2 cup pecan halves

2 tablespoons softened butter

2 tablespoons flour

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter the sides of a 9-by-9-by-2½-inch baking dish and set aside. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and bacon strips and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is almost crisp. Add the diced onion, and continue cooking until the onion is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the turkey, yams, Brussels sprouts and sage, and gently fold together to distribute the ingredients evenly. Season with one-quarter teaspoon each salt and pepper, or to taste, then transfer to the buttered baking dish and gently press to create a level surface.

To make the Gruyère cheese crust, combine the grated cheese, saltine crackers, pecans, butter and flour in a food processor. Briefly pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped (about one-fourth-inch pieces) and mixed together. Distribute this mixture evenly over the top of the casserole. Place the casserole in the centre of the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime cooking columnist.