Let The Thanksgiving Leftovers Commence

Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 11:11 AM

Whether you deep fried your bird in a turkey fryer, roasted it on the grill or in the oven, or just had ham instead, we mostly all have more ThanksgivingĀ  leftovers than anyone ever knows what to do with. Especially before we are so sick of turkey, we don’t want it for another whole year. Forget Christmas…we’re having beef for Christmas. Anyway, it’s time to let the leftovers commence.

I always have to have at least one turkey sandwich out of my leftovers. White bread or roll, sliced turkey, mayo, Swiss cheese and lettuce. I don’t know why…but that is just the way it is. When I get sliced deli turkey…I never put Swiss cheese and lettuce with it. Only sliced leftover turkey.

Then our family tradition of hot open turkey sandwiches, but with freshly made waffles instead of bread or toast.

One great thing to do with your turkey fryer, after the frying oil has cooled, been filtered and funneled back into its container; clean out the stock pot, fill it with water and your left over turkey carcass. It is called a stock pot for a reason. To make stock with. It doesn’t matter how meticulous you are at carving the bird and cleaning the remnants, there is still a ton of meat left on that bird. Throw it in a stockpot, cover with water, add an onion, remove the center of a head of celery: leaves and all, throw it in the water, turn it on, and cook it down for an hour or two. Drain out the broth you’ve made, and when cool, pick through and remove the meat from the bones. Now you are halfway to turkey soup. When you’re ready, put the stock and broth in a slow cooker, add carrots, another fresh onion, a few potatoes, maybe some cut up celery, cook until the veggies are tender. (If you have left over turkey and gravy that you’re not sure what to do with, go ahead and through it in. It just adds to the flavor. You can even put leftover mashed potatoes in if you like. They make a great thickening agent, more like turkey stew than soup). If you’d like, cook some barley or ditalini pasta on the side and add it at the end.Separate leftover soup into smaller batches and freeze for a really cold day in the winter.

If soup isn’t your thing, how about a turkey pot pie? Make some pie crust and fit into a pie pan, or go and buy a pre-made crust or two. You can cook down some fresh veggies, or buy a can of mixed vegetables, mix with your leftover turkey and gravy. Fill the pie crust. Cover with mashed potatoes or another pie crust, or both. As I said before, mashed potatoes are a great thickening agent, so if you prefer you can add the mash right into the turkey and gravy mix before filling the crust. Cover and freeze for a later date or have for dinner.

Some people like to go the turkey salad way. That does not go over at my house.

I actually made a turkey and a ham this year. We have a recipe at our house that is an old Irish recipe, geared more toward St. Stephen’s Day; the day after Christmas.

St. Stephen’s Day Stew

2 lbs. cold turkey, cut up

1 lb ham, cut up

1\4 stick of butter

1 1\2 cup chopped onion

8 oz. package of fresh mushrooms

4 cups well flavored turkey stock or 2 3\4 cup stock and 1 1\4 cup turkey gravy

3\4 cup cream

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp chopped chives

2 tsp fresh marjoram or tarragon if available


12 fresh cooked potatoes

salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet that has a lid.

Add the chopped onions, cover and sweat for about 10 mins. or until soft but not browned.

Remove from pan. Add mushrooms,(sliced if you like). Cook over a brisk heat. Season with salt and pepper, add to the onions on the side. Toss the turkey and ham adding a little extra butter if necessary. Now take that out and add to the mushrooms and onions. Deglaze the pan with the turkey stock. Pour into a slow cooker. Add the cream and chopped herbs. Bring to a boil then thicken with the roux. Add the meat, mushrooms, and onions back to the pot. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. Peel the freshly boiled potatoes and place on top. Let the brew fully heat through and serve when hot.

No matter what your leftover preferences, you can have the leftover turkey now, or freeze and have it later. There is no need to make yourself sick over the matter. Good luck, and hopefully you will be deep frying or roasting another bird come Christmas Day.

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