Kitchen Shrink: Re-strutting its stuff – a lesson in turkey


catherine-kaufmanBy Catharine Kaufman

Now that you survived the Thanksgiving gustatory orgy, the nation’s next culinary challenge rears its head–what to do with the carcass and uneaten meat from roughly 46 million turkeys? Here’s a primer to help you navigate through leftover land.

When Grease meets Turkey

Even though such rock star foodies like Emeril Lagasse and Paula Dean give the thumbs up for deep-frying a Thanksgiving turkey to yield a moist and juicy bird, you now have gallons of old grease on hand. Puh-leeze, don’t feed it down your drain. If you’re eco-inspired, you can donate your used vegetable oil to a recycling facility that will process the oil into a biodiesel fuel using a chemical process that strips out the glycerin. Heart bypass flambé, anyone?

Rolling in Dough

With assorted pastries and doughs you can whip some divine dishes in a jiff for lunches, appetizers or light dinners. Artisan puff pastry makes a flakier, lighter turkey pot pie or turkey wild mushroom strudel. Phyllo dough does a great riff on Greek spanakopita with turkey, spinach and feta or a turkey tenderloin wrapped in the paper-thin layered pastry. Use pizza crust for a turkey margarita pie or top with zesty bbq turkey strips.

A Melting Pot

Leftover turkey goes ethnic with such global concoctions as a fowl fiesta of south-of-the-border turkey quesadillas, tacos or burritos; turkey Italiano with turkey lasagna, turkey and wild mushroom risotto, or turkey alfredo with fettuccine; Mediterranean meals with a Persian stew of chopped turkey, ground walnuts and pomegranate paste, Greek salad with turkey chunks, black olives, tomatoes and cukes, and turkey tabouli; or Yankee Doodle turkey with all-American cobb salad, bbq turkey burgers, or Sloppy Tom’s. Have a yen for Asian, whip up a pan of turkey egg foo young, turkey and ginger scallion lettuce wraps with hoison dipping sauce or turkey egg rolls with bean sprouts and shredded veggies.

A Man, a Can and a Frying Pan

Simple Simon, just add shredded turkey with a can of kidney beans and a dash of chili powder, cumin and cayenne and you have a skillet of turkey chili. A can of tomato sauce, cannellini beans, chunks of turkey, fresh garlic and Italian parsley, and voila—turkey pasta e fazol. Or combine turkey cubes with corn and limas, fresh tomatoes and a dot of butter for a southern succotash.

Long-term parking

Turkey is a freezer-friendly food that can last for several weeks in airtight storage containers. Separate breast slices for making easy sandwiches in a pinch, and wings and legs for snacking.

Soup’s On

Toss the whole carcass in a soup pot for a killer turkey noodle, wild rice, gumbo, lentil, tortilla, Vietnamese Pho or matzo ball. Shred breast meat into the broth for a thicker, heartier main meal dish. Or cook up this amazing curry-flavored Mulligatawny of Anglo-India origin By Chef/Partner Chris Idso of Pacifica Del Mar. Serve with this exotic turkey salad sandwich with curry and red grapes from Executive Chef Donald Lockhart of Cusp Dining & Drinks in the legendary Hotel La Jolla.

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