Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Turkey – or whatever you had for Thanksgiving – is good the second time around. Really

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

Americans’ eyes are bigger than their stomachs it seems — at least when it comes to turkey.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not track how much unused turkey ends up in landfills, the department does track the overall losses for turkey at a retail and consumer level, according to the USDA.

“The total loss number for the retail and consumer levels is 38 percent, including loss in weight due to cooking,” a representative from the USDA wrote in an email.

Here are some ways you can enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Click here for some food safety tips from the USDA.

Turkey soup

The classic for a reason, turkey soup starts the evening of Thanksgiving. Remove large pieces of meat from the turkey bones, place the bones in your largest pot and add water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 90 minutes – until the meat falls off the bones.

Strain the turkey stock into a new pot (or Tupperware, if you want to continue the soup the next day). Remove the bones, save the meat.

Add vegetables – carrots, onions, and celery – diced to approximately the same sized.

Simmer until vegetables are tender, then add left-over turkey.

Add egg noodles and simmer until al dente (cooked but firm). Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

Bonus: got leftover beans? Toss them in there. Extra gravy? It will help thicken the soup, as will pureeing some mashed potatoes and stock and adding that back into the soup.

Turkey Pot Pie / Shepherd’s Pie

Pot pie takes a little work but you’ll be able to live on it for a few days, so it might be worth it.

If you can make turkey soup, you’ve pretty much got a pie on your hands. Make the turkey soup, minus the egg noodles. You can thicken the soup with cornstarch, but a roux works better.

For a roux: In a small sauce pan, mix equal parts liquid fat – melted butter, oil, lard, etc. – and flour, adding the flour slowly and mixing consistently to keep the mix smooth. As the mixture starts to darken (don’t go past a light tan, unless you want a nutty, Cajun-style flavor), add warm liquid stock slowly. You’ll end up with a thick mixture, which you can then add back to your soup. Again, add slowly and stir consistently.

To make a pie, you can use pastry shells or this classic crust recipe. You can also use puff pastry to top a baking pan full of the thickened soup, it’s less work and you still get the pot pie experience.

For shepherd’s pie, top the thickened soup with mashed potatoes. If they’ve turned to concrete, you can loosen them with some warm milk or cream. Spread an even layer on top and top with cheese, bake at around 350 degrees until warmed through and the top of the potatoes are crisped up slightly.

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

Turkey sandwich

Easy, yes, but endlessly adaptable. If you’re getting bored with the traditional day-after sandwich, you can always spice it up. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use white meat turkey to make turkey salad. While dark meat is probably a bit to fatty for this preparation, white meat – especially if its dried out slightly after cooking – can bounce right back to life. Go the extra mile with dried cranberries and toasted almonds, or go Waldorf style with grapes and walnuts.
  • For dark meat, try making a hash. This works best in a cast iron. Sauté up some julienne onions (cut into strips) and, as they brown, add in shredded dark meat. Form into a patty shape and flip as it gets crispy on one side. This goes nicely with spicy arugula and some cranberry sauce to cut the richness. Try it on a soft dinner roll.
  • Pulled turkey? Pulled turkey. Simmer left-over turkey in a little stock (see above), or chicken until it starts to fall apart. Strain excess liquid, then toss with your favorite barbecue sauce. We’re not getting involved with any East vs. West conflicts, this recipe will work nicely with tomato or vinegar based sauces. Bonus: technically, coleslaw is a vegetable.

Mashed potato croquettes

Fair warning: if Thanksgiving was already your “cheat day,” leftover croquettes may not be for you. But they are a good way to reuse mashed potatoes, a dish that has a tendency to disappointed when reheated.

As your mashed potatoes are cooling, loosen them up a splash of milk and – if you’re feeling fancy – add some chopped parsley or scallions. The mashed potatoes can keep overnight.

Once potatoes are cool, scoop them out with a spoon or ice cream scoop and form them into a tiny hockey puck shape (maybe not an appetizing frame of reference, but stay with it). Dip into an egg wash – beaten eggs with salt and pepper – and then roll in bread crumbs.

Fry in shallow oil, about a half-inch, at medium heat. If you have a deep fryer, set it to about 325 degrees.

Not decadent enough? Shred cheese – a good sharp cheddar works well – into the mashed potato mix.

Cranberry sauce sorbet

What can you do with leftover cranberry sauce, besides slapping an obligatory dollop on a thanksgiving sandwich? How about a refreshing desert?

To make this sorbet, mix the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups of leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ cup of lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Zest from an orange, lemon and/or lime (the more zest, the more bright citrus flavor the sorbet will have

Mix together all the ingredients in a good medium-sized pot. Heat, while stirring, until the liquid is heated and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the liquid into a baking pan so that it spreads out and cools evenly; plan the pan in the freezer (or transfer it to another container if your fridge is packed).

The mixture should be removed from the freezer and stirred every 45-minutes to an hour. After about three hours, the sorbet should be set and ready to be scooped for dessert.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

Related Articles