Thanksgiving Leftovers – Take Four – Turkey Shepard’s Pie

Thanksgiving dinner is truly my favorite of all the holiday meals, but it’s a toss up as to whether I like the meal itself or the leftovers more.  Here’s another idea for how to use up all those delicious leftovers and a few from previous years to keep you busy for a couple of dinners following the big one.

Thanksgiving Leftovers
One – Leftover Turkey Soup and/or Leftover Turkey Sandwich Ideas
Two – Turkey Hash
Three – Potato Cakes, Potato Bread, Potato Leek Soup

Also, don’t forget to freeze and label what you won’t use in the several days following the big meal.  Save it all for later in the winter when you need a weeknight dinner right quick and in a hurry.

Turkey Shepard’s Pie
In a casserole dish, layer cooked turkey meat, gravy, cut up green beans (or other vegetable) and top with mashed potatoes or mashed squash.  Bake at 350°F or until the edges are beginning to brown and the center is hot all the way through.  If you don’t have enough gravy, make a little sauce of your own by heating up the turkey and the green beans with a little butter in an oven-proof skillet.  Sprinkle with flour and stir to incorporate.  Add a cup or so of stock and stir.  Add more if the mixture is too thick.  Then layer the rest of your ingredients on top.



Thanksgiving Leftovers – Take Three

Potatoes are the one leftover which needs to be used up before it is relegated to the compost pile.  They don’t freeze well, so think of ways to incorporate this Thanksgiving leftover into another meal sooner rather than later.

Potato Leek Soup Photo Rocky Coast Photography
Of course, mashed potatoes can easily become a side for another meal.  And I’ve already mentioned that roasted potatoes could become Turkey Hash.  But there are a myriad of other ways that these versatile spuds can take root in another dish (see what I did there?).

Potato Cakes – Combine the mashed potatoes with some bread crumbs and an egg or two.  Dredge them in more bread crumbs or in grated Parmesan cheese and pan fry them in a little oil or butter.  Serve along-side grilled hanger or skirt steak or for breakfast with eggs and toast.

Potato Bread – Add mashed potatoes to your favorite bread recipe, reducing the liquid by half.  For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of water, add 1 cup of mashed potatoes and 1/2 cup of water.  Add dill, fennel or caraway seeds as an optional flavor.

Potato Leek Soup – Sauté onions and leeks in butter, salt and pepper. Add white wine and stock.  Stir in mashed potatoes and adjust for salt and pepper.

Potato Leek Soup Photo Rocky Coast PhotographyAnnie
My refrigerator is still full.  What about yours?

Prepare For the Leftovers – Thai Turkey & Cauliflower Soup, Curried Crackers, Fried Carrots

Don’t get me wrong, I really like to entertain and have folks laughing and eating at my table.  But, the day after, when there are leftovers, is perhaps the warmest and coziest part of Thanksgiving, when you can enjoy the good food without all of the buzz of entertaining.  My favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers is to make a kind of Shepard’s pie, building layers of flavor and ending with the mashed potatoes.  Spread half of the gravy on the bottom of a pie plate or a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Layer with turkey, stuffing, broccoli or other green vegetable and end with the other half of the gravy and the mashed potatoes on top.  Grated cheese is optional.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour uncovered.  Serve with a green salad.

Another way to use the flavor inherent in leftovers is to make something completely different so that you don’t recognize the original dish in the slightest.  The following recipe fits that bill.  When I tested this recipe I used a gorgeous orange cauliflower from the farmer’s market.  It was sweet and full of flavor.  It’s not necessary to use the orange kind, but I wanted to mention how lovely it tasted.

Thai Turkey and Cauliflower Soup, Curried Crackers, Fried Carrots

The soup is just perfect on their own, and if you want to jazz it up, try the easy Fried Carrots and the Curried Crackers for a real treat.

2 tablespoons oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
4 cups cauliflower
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups turkey, cooked and diced (or 2 pounds)
6 cups chicken or turkey stock
1, 16 oz. can of coconut milk

In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onions, garlic, pepper and ginger.  When the onions are translucent, add the cauliflower, curry powder, salt and pepper and cook until the cauliflower is tender.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Simmer covered for 1 hour.

Serves 6-8

Curried Crackers

These crackers don’t stay crispy for that long however, the dough freezes well. Only bake what you’ll use immediately.

3/4 cup broth from soup
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (reserve 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Transfer broth to a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until a dough is formed. While continuing to mix, add the reserved 1/4 cup of flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is moist and malleable but not at all sticky. The dough should resemble clay. Press the dough into a round, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the dough from the freezer and cut the dough into 6 equal portions. Using your hands, flatten each portion of dough to a thickness of 1/4-inch and lightly coat each portion with flour. Pass each portion of the dough through a pasta roller set on the #2 setting. Change the pasta roller setting to #4 and pass each portion of dough through the pasta roller. You should now have very thin long strips of dough, approximately 14 to 16 inches long and about 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Place each strip of rolled out dough (diagonally) onto a parchment lined baking sheet and, using a pastry brush, brush the strips lightly with some of the extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the strips with some of the kosher salt. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning the sheet pan after 10 minutes, until the crackers are dry and brittle.

Yield: 6 (14 to 16-inch long) curry crackers, break into desired lengths

Fried Carrots

2 cups peanut oil
3 carrots, peeled
1/2 cup flour
Freshly ground black pepper

In a deep saucepan, heat the oil to 350º F.  Julienne the carrots with a hand peeler or a mandolin.  You can also slice them very thinly.  Toss the carrots with flour, salt and pepper enough to coat the carrots with flour.   Carefully place the carrots into the hot oil.  **The pan must be deep because the oil will bubble and rise to three times it’s normal height.**  Cook until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes.  Remove and place on a paper-towel lined plate and salt and pepper to taste.