Today’s Recipes: Lentil Soup with Roasted Turkey, Mashed Potato (and Cheese) Soup, Rich Turkey Tetrazzini Casserole, Roast Turkey Cassoulet, Turkey Enchilada Casserole, Turkey Hash, Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings and Turkey, Stuffing and Cranberry Empanadas.
When the weather turns cold I start thinking about warm comfort foods. With family arriving for the holiday, I also look for ways to feed them and use the leftovers over the course of several days. I want dishes that can be assembled ahead, cooked without a lot of fuss or last minute work and that can feed a crowd. Casseroles, soups and pot pies do the trick every time!
Whether you make sandwiches, gumbo or a pot pie, the day-after meals are almost better than the original. I spend the entire year looking forward to mouth-watering turkey sandwiches. Of course I can make it anytime of the year, but there is something special about sandwiches made from the Thanksgiving turkey. Maybe it is the extra love you put into making it, or the fact that you can relax, curled up in front of the fire with family and friends.
If you are looking for recipes that utilize your Thanksgiving leftovers, any calling for cooked chicken will work with turkey. Just swap your turkey for the chicken in equal proportions. If you have leftover stock you can use that instead of the water called for in most recipes. If you want a stronger turkey flavor, there is an amazing concentrate on the market called Savory Choice Turkey Concentrate. Add one little packet for perfect turkey flavor in your gravy, soups, stock, etc. I keep this on hand and use it throughout the year.
I can’t tell you the number of people I know who go to all the trouble of roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving and then throw away the carcass without making soup! Sacre Bleu! Please don’t miss this opportunity to make the best soup you’ve ever tasted. It really couldn’t be easier … place the carcass in a big stockpot, throw in a few vegetables and seasonings, cover with water and let simmer for an hour or so. Is it soup yet? Yes!!
Of course the most commonly made soup is Turkey Vegetable. It is the perfect way to use up any veggies you have left over from your crudite platter. And as with any vegetable soup, you can use whatever you have in the refrigerator. Spinach, cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower, and green beans are all delicious additions. Heck, you could even stir in a spoonful of your green bean casserole. That makes an incredibly delicious soup, but let’s take it one step further and add dumplings made from the leftover stuffing. So easy and satisfying, you won’t believe how good they taste in this hearty soup.
A thick and rich potato soup is always a hit in our home, but what if you made it with leftover mashed potatoes? Bingo – another winner! I know some people who purposely make a ton of extra mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving just so they can make this yummy soup. The potatoes are the thickener so even though it looks like a cream-based soup, it isn’t. You can also make it with raw potatoes, just cook until soft and smash with a fork for a thick consistency. If the popular Potato Cheese soup is one of your favorites, once the potatoes have been stirred in, take the pot off the heat and slowly stir in cheese until melted and smooth. Everyone will oooh and ahhh over their bowl of this creamy, rich soup.
If you are looking for a healthy, powerhouse bowl of soup, make the Lentil Soup with Roasted Turkey. Lentils are often misunderstood. One of the best sources for non-meat protein, they are delicious when seasoned well and cooked properly. Combining them with leftover turkey is one of the most delicious and filling soups you can make. Sometimes I crave a creamy smooth soup, so I’ve given you the option to serve this soup pureed. I personally wouldn’t add the turkey meat back to the pureed soup, but if you want to, please go ahead.
The pot pies that I grew up with were frozen and not particularly good. Today they can be made very easily. It doesn’t get much simpler than an all-American version that is perfect for this weekend because it uses your leftover green bean casserole and turkey. Toss what ever ingredients you like into a pot, add some leftover gravy and you have the filling! You don’t even have to worry about making a crust because you can use frozen puff pastry which thaws in about 30 minutes.
Here is one of my favorite tricks. Use your Thanksgiving leftovers (turkey, stuffing and a little cranberry sauce) to make mini empanadas. Freeze them uncooked and you have instant appetizers already made for your holiday parties. All you need to do is pop them in the oven and they will come out hot and golden brown, ready for your guests to devour. Serve them with some extra cranberry sauce for dipping!
One of my favorite ways to use leftover chicken (or in this case turkey) is to make Mexican food. Tacos and burritos are great but they require a lot of attention. This layered enchilada casserole has all the flavors of traditional rolled enchiladas but can be assembled ahead and baked later on. If you like spicier foods, feel free to add Tabasco, Sriracha, or another hot sauce to perk it up. You can also add more chiles to the sauce.
A classic way to utilize Thanksgiving leftovers is the Italian favorite Chicken Tetrazzini made with turkey. Even if you think you don’t like it, give this version a try. It isn’t the same boring, flat, heavy dish you remember from your childhood. This is rich, creamy, and full of vegetables. A Parmesan and panko breadcrumb topping gives it a nice crunchy texture and if you want to sprinkle some extra shredded cheese over the top, you can. This is a dish every child in your house will love. If you have extra vegetables left from a salad or crudite platter, you can lightly steam them and add to the casserole. If you are short on time you can substitute frozen veggies that you have thawed. Mix and match to your heart’s content and use whatever is in the refrigerator to fill it out.
You probably don’t normally think of eating turkey for breakfast, but hash is one of my favorite ways to use leftover turkey. If you wanted to, you could use leftover mashed potatoes instead of the boiled potatoes or frozen hash browns. Season the mashed potatoes to taste and form into small patties. Fry in a small amount of butter over medium heat until golden brown. Very carefully flip them over and fry the other side. Transfer them to a plate and keep warm in the oven while you cook the onions and peppers and reheat the turkey meat. When ready to serve, break up the potato pancakes and toss with the other ingredients. This is rich and comforting, in the best way imaginable.
When I was growing up, my mother loved going out for breakfast on the weekends. It was a huge treat for her. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized because she had to get up and immediately make breakfast for everyone else, she never had the chance to relax first thing in the morning. While we were all eating and laughing, she was being a short-order cook, making breakfast to order. These days when I am cooking for the family, I can’t help but smile at how much she would have enjoyed my cooking for her!
This year, instead of having turkey sandwiches coming out your ears, try some of these recipes and enjoy a different take on your holiday leftovers. On this long weekend I hope you have an opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself. Thank you for joining me on this blogging journey. I am so grateful for each and every one of you!
Happy Thanksgiving my friends!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When straining soups, you can use a colander set over a large bowl to collect broth. Then if you want the broth extra clear, strain a second time through a fine wire mesh sieve and discard the solids.
Kitchen Skill: Making Broth from a Turkey Carcass
Utilizing the carcass from your holiday turkey to make stock is one of the best ways to maximize the value of your purchase. I do the same thing whenever I roast a chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken from the store.
I recommend that you remove the legs, thighs and wings, setting them on a warmed serving platter. Then cut the breast off each side and add to the platter. Immediately place the carcass in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Add a couple of carrots and stalks of celery that have been cut into large chunks and an onion that you have quartered. You do not need to peel the onion, just rinse it well. Simmer over medium-low heat for about an hour to extract all the flavor. Skim any foam that rises to the surface and discard.
By the time you finish with Thanksgiving dinner, the stock will be ready. Strain out solids and use the broth to make a delicious soup, for use in one of the following recipes or freeze in containers for later use.
- Carcass from a roasted turkey with most of the meat removed
- 2 large onions, one quartered and one chopped
- 4 peeled carrots, two coarsely chopped and two sliced
- 4 stalks celery, two coarsely chopped and two sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, four chopped and two smashed and minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/2 tsp salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups leftover stuffing (if the stuffing is chunky, chop finely)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups shredded or finely diced leftover turkey meat
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup frozen tiny peas
- Put the turkey carcass, quartered onions, coarsely chopped carrots and celery, chopped garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour.
- Remove from the heat and using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the solids from the broth. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids. You should have about 10 to 12 cups broth.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and a little black pepper together until smooth. Add the stuffing and mix until well combined; cover and reserve.
- NOTE: Moistness of stuffing can vary; if the dumpling dough is too soft to roll, add a little flour, 1 tsp at a time until it is firm enough to hold its shape while rolling. If it is too dry, add a little water until moist enough to hold together.
- Wipe the stockpot clean with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced carrots and celery, thyme sprigs, and reserved broth and bring to a simmer; cook vegetables are just soft, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a small ice cream scoop, portion out stuffing mixture. Roll into balls with wet hands and drop into the simmering soup; cook until dumplings float, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently stir in the turkey meat, corn, and peas, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until heated through. Discard thyme stems. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
- 1/2 medium onion, minced
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped finely
- 1 carrot, grated coarsely
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
- 2 to 3 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1/4 tsp crumbled dried rosemary or 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
- 2-1/2 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 tsp white-wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- Milk or additional chicken broth, as needed
- Optional Additions
- 1 packed cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 4 oz
- 1 to 2 additional cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped cooked turkey or ham
- Hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
- In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, cook the onion, the celery, and the carrot in the butter, stirring, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the broth and the rosemary. Whisk in the potatoes, a little at a time. Increase the heat to medium and bring the soup to a boil, whisking constantly. Stir in the vinegar, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add more chicken stock or a little milk if needed to thin this soup slightly to your liking. If you prefer a smooth soup, puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
- For the Additions: If you want to add cheese to this soup, increase the amount of broth to 4 cups and add the potatoes as directed. Remove from the heat and stir in shredded cheese, 1/3 at a time. Stir until melted and smooth after each addition. If using, stir in chopped turkey or ham. Serve with the hot pepper sauce as a condiment.
- Yield: Makes about 4 servings
- 1-1/2 lb medium Yukon Gold potatoes (or frozen hash brown in a pinch)
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 Cubanelle peppers (Italian green frying peppers), seeded and chopped - Poblanos or Anaheims will also work well
- 1 cup shredded cooked turkey, preferably dark meat
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs
- Place the potatoes in a large stockpot, then cover with enough cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just tender.
- Drain the potatoes and let cool slightly.
- While the potatoes cool, in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and peppers and sauté until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and coarsely grate them with a box grater.
- Add the potatoes, turkey, salt and pepper to the skillet, then cook, turning occasionally, until browned in spots, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the hash to serving plates.
- Add the remaining 1-tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Set over medium heat. When the butter has melted, fry the eggs. Serve 1 egg over each serving of hash.
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 (16 oz) can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup green French or brown lentils
- 3/4 lb smoked turkey wing and thigh, or leftover roasted turkey
- 2 quarts cold water
- 4 small red potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or any crumbled soft cheese such as feta, fresh mozzarella, brie, or ricotta
- In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the celery, carrots and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, lentils, turkey, and water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are very tender, about 1 hour.
- Transfer turkey pieces to a baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, debone turkey. Discard the skin and bones. Chop meat into bite sized pieces.
- While you are deboning the turkey, add potatoes to the soup and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Return meat to soup and cook until warmed through. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the cheese at the table.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Variation: If you prefer a smoother soup, after the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaf, turkey bones and meat from broth. Add potatoes to the broth and cook until just tender. Using a food mill, puree the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If you want it even smoother, pour it through a wire sieve, discarding any solids. You can serve as is, using the turkey meat for another dish, or add it back to the soup. Garnish with parsley and cheese.
- 4 strips uncured bacon, chopped into a 1/2-inch dice
- 1 lb mild sweet Italian sausage
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes such as San Marzano
- 2 (16 oz) cans small white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
- 1 lb sliced roast turkey, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- In a large saucepan, sauté the diced bacon over medium-high heat until just brown, around 2-3 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Add the sausages to the bacon fat in the saucepan and sauté until brown on all sides, around 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan and place on a paper towel to drain.
- Add the onions to the same saucepan with the bacon fat and sauté until softened, stirring gently, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic becomes aromatic, around 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook until they break down into a rough sauce, around 5 to 7 minutes. Add the drained and rinsed white beans to the tomato sauce and continue to cook for another five minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and turn off the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the sausages into 2-inch pieces and mix with the roast turkey and cooked bacon in a medium-sized bowl. In a 9 x 11 casserole dish or oven-safe saucepan, alternate layers of the tomato-white bean mixture and the sausage-turkey-bacon combo until you’ve used up both.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup cooking oil, such as safflower or olive oil, and a pinch of salt, and then sprinkle over the top of the cassoulet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the tomato liquid comes to a light boil and the breadcrumbs are browned.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 poblano chili, stem & seeds discarded, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans mild red Hatch enchilada sauce
- 2 to 4 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 lb cooked turkey or chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1-1/2 cups fresh salsa
- 18 (5 to 6-inch-diameter) corn tortillas
- 3 green onions, chopped
- Sour cream, for garnish
- Shredded lettuce, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
- In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onions and poblano until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in half of the enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, and oregano until completely blended. Add beans and turkey. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour half of the remaining enchilada sauce over bottom of baking dish, spreading to cover completely. Place 6 tortillas on bottom of prepared dish, overlapping them to cover bottom completely. Spoon half of turkey mixture evenly over tortillas. Cover with 6 tortillas. Top tortillas with remaining enchilada sauce. Spread with remaining turkey mixture and half of cheese. Cover with 6 more tortillas. Pour salsa over tortillas and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle top with green onions.
- Bake in the middle of the oven until casserole is heated through and bubbling at edges, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes to firm up slightly before cutting. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded lettuce as garnish.
- Yield: about 6 to 8 servings
- 12 oz wide egg noodles, penne rigate, fettuccine, spaghetti, etc.
- 3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, stem and seeds discarded, minced
- 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, divided
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 lb white button or cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed, sliced thickly
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2-1/2 cups lightly steamed vegetables such as julienned carrots, chopped broccoli, cauliflower, and celery
- 1 lb shredded roasted turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup frozen petit peas
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups rich turkey or chicken stock
- 1-3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, time will be determined by type of pasta you choose. Drain in a colander, toss with 2 tsp olive oil, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, saute the onions and bell peppers in 2 tbsp butter over medium-high heat until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lightly steamed vegetables to warm them. Add to the bowl with the pasta. Stir in the turkey, peas, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a saucepan melt the remaining 4 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes until the flour no longer smells raw. Add the wine and chicken stock and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and bring to just below a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour sauce over turkey, pasta, and vegetables, tossing until evenly coated.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs. Top with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
- Yield: about 10 servings
- 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 3 cups cooked turkey, diced finely
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups leftover stuffing or dressing
- 1 to 2 cups leftover turkey gravy
- About 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
- Empanada Dough, recipe follows
- Egg wash: 2 eggs beaten with 1 tsp water
- Make empanada dough as directed below. Chill in refrigerator while you make the filling.
- Make Filling: Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onions. Cook until the onions turn a deep brown and have caramelized, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat if needed to keep them from burning.
- Stir in the turkey, salt, pepper, stuffing and gravy and continue to cook until mixture is warmed through. Add enough gravy so that the filling is moist but not wet. Set aside to cool.
- Form Empanadas: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
- Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and form each into a disk. Working with one piece at a time and keeping remaining pieces covered, roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5 to 6 inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).
- Spoon about 2 tbsp filling onto center, top with a dollop of cranberry sauce, brush edges with a little egg wash, and fold dough in half, enclosing filling and creating a crescent shape. Press edges together to seal, then crimp decoratively with your fingers or press with the tines of a fork. Transfer empanada to a baking sheet. Make remaining empanadas in same manner, arranging on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake Empanadas: Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets and spinning them front to back halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra cranberry sauce if desired for dipping.
- Yield: about 12 servings
- VARIATION: For appetizer-sized servings, divide dough into 36 to 48 pieces (depending on how small you want the empanadas), fill with 1 tsp of the filling and seal as directed above. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and the filling is heated through.
- 2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 tbsp distilled white or red wine vinegar (helps make dough tender, won’t leave any flavor in finished dough)
- Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
- In a small bowl, beat together egg, water, and vinegar with a fork or whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.)
- Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 2 to 3 hours.
- When ready to make empanadas, let warm up on counter for a few minutes before dividing dough and rolling as directed above.
- Yield: Makes enough for 12 pastries