Turkey Leftovers — Don’t Fret

Several people I know already have sampled the food at Little Bangkok, the new Thai restaurant in East Grand Forks. All have had nothing but good to say about the eats. My stepdaughter, Amy, and a friend of hers are planning an outing there today. I can’t wait to go, too. But I may have to sample a taste of Thai at home first.

I came across a recipe for Thai-Style Turkey Curry while looking for leftover recipes. We have an ice-cream bucket of turkey leftovers from our Thanksgiving Day dinner, as well as some squash, which also is called for in the recipe.

Thanksgiving Day leftovers usually don’t present a problem to us, since we’re always fixing new dishes with what we didn’t eat for supper the previous night. We’ve made a shepherd’s pie-type dish with our leftovers, thrown the turkey carcass in a kettle for soup and, of course, always have enjoyed sandwiches.

This morning, while watching the “Today” show on the TV at the gym, I saw a leftover turkey recipe that almost had me drooling. It was for a baked pasta gratin. I found the recipe on the NBC website, and it definitely figures into my plans.

Here’s that recipe, along with the one for Thai curry, just in case you’re in a quandary with what to do with your leftovers. The nice thing about both recipes is that they can be on the table in less than an hour.

Thai-Style Turkey Curry
8 ounces (half of a 1 pound box) fettuccine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 green onions, sliced on diagonal
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Thai green curry paste
1 15-ounce can chicken broth
½ of a 15-ounce can coconut milk
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 cup each: cubed cooked squash, cooked green beans
½ teaspoon salt
Grated lemon zest, chopped cilantro (optional)
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil; add fettuccine. Cook according to package directions. Drain. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add green onions; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add garlic; cook, stirring 1 minute.
Stir in curry paste; cook 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth; heat to a boil. Cook 5 minutes to reduce slightly. Stir coconut milk to mix in the cream at the top. Add to skillet. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 minutes. Add turkey, squash, green beans and salt. Cook until turkey is warmed through, 5 minutes. Serve over fettuccine in shallow bowls.
Garnish with lemon zest and cilantro.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 507 calories, 30 percent of calories from fat, 17 grams fat (11 grams saturated), 56 milligrams cholesterol, 56 grams carbohydrates, 33 grams protein, 719 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Baked Pasta Gratin with Turkey
1 pound uncooked penne pasta
3 cups (more or less) leftover white and dark meat turkey, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup leftover turkey gravy
4½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup diced fontina cheese
½ cup diced fresh mozzarella
Salt and freshly grated black pepper
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
Preheat the broiler. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the turkey, heavy cream, turkey gravy, 3½ cups of the Parmesan cheese, the fontina, mozzarella and a pinch of pepper. Bring the sauce to a light boil, add the pasta, toss, and transfer the pasta to a baking dish.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta and broil for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown.
Yield: Serves 6.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

I love Thanksgiving Day leftovers.

If you hosted Thanksgiving Day dinner as we did, it’s inevitable there are some leftovers lurking in the refrigerator, including turkey.

In the past, we’ve always used some of the turkey for sandwiches. Sometimes, if there was enough gravy leftover, it was the hot variety, with a little stuffing, of course. (Plain old turkey sandwiches can be a little bland.)

And I can’t forget turkey soup. The carcass is perfect for this. This year, I sent the carcass home with Uncle Curt and Aunt Harriet, so soup isn’t an option.

However, a tip from chef Ryan Scott, former cheftestant of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, has me thinking about something I’ve never tried — turkey sloppy joes, a twist on a family favorite that’s perfect for kicking back and checking out the weekend’s football games. And if you have some leftover dinner rolls from the Thanksgiving meal, they also make great sliders.

If you feel adventurous, give the following recipe a try.

Turkey Sloppy Joes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cups shredded or diced cooked turkey
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup ketchup
½ teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
8 hamburger buns, toasted
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the turkey, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper to the skillet and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, ketchup and soy sauce and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir the cornstarch and water in a small cup until the mixture is smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the skillet. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Divide the turkey mixture among the buns.
Yield: Serves 8.
Note:  For Turkey Sloppy Joe Sliders, divide the turkey mixture among 12 minislider-sized buns.