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.
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.
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.
For additional holiday and non-holiday recipes email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.FreeRangeClub.com.