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What to do with leftover Thanksgiving Turkey? Turkey Curry, of course!

Turkey Curry

I can hear it already, the sigh emanating from kitchens around the country.  The fridge door is open and the containers of Thanksgiving leftovers are just sitting there challenging you to figure out what to do with them on the third day after the holiday.  Can you really take eating a plate of turkey and the fixings all over again?  Even my own father made a comment today about how he was on his fifth meal of leftovers, and he is usually the first one to figure out how to make a sandwich with everything.

My folks had several creative solutions to this culinary dilemma when we were growing up. Last week, my sister and I reminisced about a few of their choices.  There was Turkey Leftover Soup.  Mmmm…I can visualize the murky grey-brown broth even now, a few decades later.  Chunks of mashed potato floated on top of it.  Green beans rubbery and chewy provided that extra touch of texture.  Some vague semblance of shredded turkey meat would sometimes appear in the thick depths.  Then, a few weeks (or months!) later, we’d find a leftover container of it in the back of the fridge, fuzzy stuff growing on top of it.

Visualize this, but made with Turkey instead of Tuna

Another leftover treat was Turkey Tettrazini.  Just swap out the tuna in Tuna Tettrazini for cooked turkey and voila!, you have a new post-holiday recipe for your files.  I really do believe in not wasting good food, so I’m only sort of tongue-in-cheek about this.  One of the dishes that I did actually like was one that my mother made using recycled Thanksgiving turkey is Turkey Curry.  It is not a fancy dish, or even a typical Indian-style or Thai curry, but, rather, just basic and simple.

This is a take on my mother’s classic Chicken Curry recipe.  Interestingly enough, I don’t actually think that she had an index card in her files for it, so I had to improvise a bit from what I remember the last time I made it under her watchful eye.  I think I managed to capture the spirit if not the essence of it.  I had a meal similar to this one at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria many years ago, so I don’t think that this version of a curry is that atypical.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Curry (can also be made with chicken)

Prep Time: 30 minutes Serving Size: 4 portions

Ingredients: 2 tsp. Canola Oil 1 small Onion, chopped into small pieces 1 large clove Garlic, minced 3-4 cups shredded cooked Turkey (light and dark meat) 2 tsp. Curry Powder (I used McCormick’s), plus more to taste 1 1/2 c. Chicken or Turkey Stock 1/2 tsp. Salt

To serve: 1 c. cooked Rice (white or brown) 1/4 c. Taisins 1/4 c. chopped Banana 1/4 c. chopped Walnuts 2 chopped hard-boiled Eggs

Assembly: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add the onion to the pan and cook for two minutes until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.  Then, add the turkey (or chicken) and curry powder.  Stir to mix everything together well.

Pour in the stock and bring it to a boil.  Turn down the heat and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes, until it is rich and thick.  Add the salt and taste.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Turkey cooking in Curry Sauce

To serve, put 1/4 of the rice in the center of each plate.  Pour 1/4 of the curry mixture on top of the rice.  Garnish each plate with equal parts of the raisins, bananas, walnuts, and eggs.  Optional garnishes could also include dried cranberries or leftover cranberry relish or chutney.  The idea is to have a contrast between the spice of the curry and the sweetness of the additions like the dried fruit or the tenderness of the meat with the crunch of the walnuts.

Turkey Curry served up with all the fixings

Buon appetito! This entry will also be cross-posted at Blogher.

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