Loving leftover Christmas turkey: here’s how to do it

It happens every year. The big day is over and we are left with a lot of leftovers in the fridge.

It can be frustrating coming up with creative ideas to use them.

First, be sure leftovers are properly stored. Turkey, stuffing and gravy must be refrigerated. Be sure the internal temperature of the food is below 39 F (4 C) and cool it quickly to that temperature. Reheating turkey to 150 F (65 C) will ensure that salmonella has been destroyed.

Turkey fried rice

Using the right rice is key. You want a rice that will have distinct grains, slightly chewy on the fried exterior and tender on the inside. A Chinese style medium grain rice or jasmine rice is ideal. And plan ahead. Day-old rice works best because it is chilled and drier on the surface. Using a wok is also ideal but a good quality skillet works. Keep the temperature hot.

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil 15 mL
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 c. cooked turkey, finely chopped 500 mL
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger, finely grated 10 mL
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 c. mix of vegetables such as carrots, celery, mushrooms, finely chopped 500 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce 22 mL
  • 4 c. cooked jasmine rice 1 L
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil 10 mL

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet.
Stir fry turkey for two minutes. Add garlic, ginger and two onions and stir fry for three minutes or until hot.
Add vegetables and soy sauce and stir fry for two minutes or until hot. Add rice and sesame oil and stir fry until hot.
Push rice mixture aside in the pan and add beaten eggs in the space. Stir while frying. Chop up as it cooks and mix into the rice.
Serve topped with remaining onion.

Turkey and gravy savoury waffles

I have also included a recipe for making waffles from leftover bread stuffing. Create sour fresh milk with a tablespoon (15 mL) of white vinegar as a substitute for buttermilk.

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour 500 mL
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp. minced chives 30 mL
  • 2 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, finely minced 12 mL
  • 2 1/2 tsp. fresh sage, finely minced 12 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 7 mL
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda 4 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk 375 mL
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. leftover turkey gravy 125 mL
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided 45 mL
  • 1/2 lb. leftover roasted sliced turkey, white and dark 125 mL
  • Salt and pepper as needed

Preheat oven to 200 F (93 C).
To make the batter, in a large bowl mix flour, sugar, chives, thyme, sage, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate small bowl, beat eggs with buttermilk and melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine.
Heat waffle maker and add batter per waffle maker instructions.
Place cooked waffles on a sheet pan and hold in the warm oven.

Reheat gravy in a small sauce pan and reheat turkey in another.
To serve, slice a waffle in half horizontally and place it on a plate, top with turkey and gravy. Serve waffle top on the side.

Leftover bread stuffing waffles

  • 4 c. crumbled leftover stuffing 1 L
  • 2 large eggs
  • chicken or turkey stock, as needed

Preheat the waffle baker and grease it with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the leftover stuffing and eggs.
Add 1/4 cup (60 mL) of stock and mix until well combined. Continue adding stock as needed until the mixture is well moistened.
Scoop some of the stuffing mixture into the prepared waffle baker, spreading it evenly. The stuffing will not spread or expand like regular waffle batter as it bakes, so it’s important to arrange it in an even, thin layer. Close the lid and let the waffle bake until golden brown and the egg is cooked throughout.

Turkey tetrazzini

Make substitutions as necessary to use leftovers. I used goat cheese rather than cream cheese and it worked perfectly.

  • 12 oz. uncooked pasta 365 g
  • 1/4 c. canola oil, divided 60 mL
  • 2 c. leftover turkey, coarsely chopped 500 mL
  • 2 c. chopped onion 500 mL
  • 1 c. chopped celery 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme 15 mL
  • 2 c. mushrooms, sliced 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine 125 mL
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided 6 mL
  • 3 c. milk 750 mL
  • 3 tbsp. all purpose flour 45 mL
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened 85 g
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated and divided 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. fontina cheese, shredded 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. black pepper 5 mL
  • 2 c. frozen green peas, thawed 500 mL
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped 30 mL
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 c. panko 125 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Place in a large bowl.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons (30 mL) oil. Add onion and celery. Sauté 10 minutes. Add thyme and mushrooms. Cook 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add wine to pan and cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt. Add this mushroom mixture to pasta.
Place pan over medium heat. Do not wipe out pan. Combine cold milk and flour in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add to pan. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cream cheese, one ounce (39 g) Parmesan, and fontina. Cook five minutes.
Stir in remaining one teaspoon (5 mL) salt and pepper. Stir milk mixture, chopped turkey, peas, parsley and tarragon, if desired, into pasta mixture. Divide pasta mixture between two 8-inch (20 cm) square glass or ceramic baking dishes coated with cooking spray.
Combine remaining two teaspoons (10 mL) oil, remaining one ounce (39 g) Parmesan, and panko in a bowl. Sprinkle evenly over tops of dishes. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Turkey potato soup

Not only does this use leftover turkey but also mashed potatoes. The herbs could be substituted by using a tablespoon or two of leftover turkey stuffing.

  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. onion, finely chopped 375 mL
  • 1 c. celery, finely chopped 250 mL
  • 1 c. carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 250 mL
  • 1 slice bacon, chopped
  • 4 c. chicken or turkeystock 750 mL
  • 3 c. cooked turkey, chopped 750 mL
  • 2 1/2 c. mashed cookedpotatoes 625 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped 15 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
  • Sage sprigs, optional

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and bacon. Cook until vegetables are tender but not browned, stirring occasionally.
Add stock, turkey, potatoes and chopped sage, stirring until blended. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in pepper. Serve and garnish with sage sprigs, if desired.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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