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Monday, November 25, 2013

When Turkey Attacks! Or.. For the Love of God, No More Tetrazzini

Norman Rockwell Holiday.

Soon the American Thanksgiving will have come and gone and in a week anything that remotely resembles turkey anything is going to look as appetizing as your best friend’s sweat socks.

But when did the fact that you had a large turkey dinner force you and your family to eat turkey for the next two weeks? Who made those rules? I mean, sure, no one wants to spend that kind of money on one meal and only get one meal… but just because you had it today, doesn’t mean you need to have it all week…

So, how to stretch this bird to get every last penny invested out of it? Here is how I handle the turkey to get every bit out of it and to make my life easier in the upcoming month(s). Make freezer meals. After all, while it may not sounds appetizing after the umpteenth turkey sandwich this week, well, in a month, it will sound darn appealing, especially when all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season kicks in and the last thing you have time for is cooking…

  So… soon as it’s cooled and before the tryptophan turkey coma sets in, remove all the meat from the bones separating into light and dark meat if you like.  Then make stock:
Turkey Stock
1 Turkey carcass
1 cut up onion (loosely cut, nothing fancy)
½ to 1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp parsley
2 bay leaves
Water to cover

Put on the stove and simmer for about 1 ½- 2 hours. Cool if you can to handle. This is very important. Remember hot liquid scalds. Last  year some of my stock splashed back on my chest and gave me 2nd degree burns. I still have a light outline of the scar. So if you can, definitely cool.

Once cool enough to handle, strain the solids out and discard. Put the entire stock in the fridge and cool overnight so that the fat solidifies on the top of the broth. Next morning, remove the fat and place into freezer safe bags or containers and place in freezer. Now you have homemade turkey stock that you can use for any recipe that calls for chicken stock and you basically made something from nothing. Store or freeze.

Turkey Divan

Granted this isn’t the healthiest meal available but it is so delicious so why this fell out of style is beyond me. This is simple and when you have a lot of turkey meat it is an excellent use up. I make several pans of this and put in the freezer. It’s simply a quick trip to the freezer to put this in the fridge to thaw while I work. When I get home, simply pop this into a 350 oven to cook. This is a modified version from my 1980’s Betty Crocker cookbook:

That 50's made with chicken... but perfect
use up for turkey.

Turkey Divan

Several large chunks of turkey
Frozen broccoli
½  tsp salt
¼ cup both butter and flour to make rue
2 cups stock
2 Tbsp dry white wine
nutmeg (optional, to taste)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make rue and add stock.

Make a rue by melting the butter and once melted, put in the flour and salt and cook until thickened. Once thickened and cooked so that the flour taste is out (a min or so, shouldn’t be dark), remove from heat and slowly incorporate liquids. Put back on heat and cook until boiling. Remove and cool a bit.
Add wine.

Add broccoli and cheese.

Arrange your pans (I use foil for freezing)  Place a layer of frozen broccoli down. ( I break mine into chunks while in the plastic bag if frozen together), top with your chunks of turkey and cover with sauce. Top with cheese and wrap in foil. Put 350 degrees Fahrenheit and the name of the dish on the foil and pop into the freezer for an easy meal sometime in the future.

Turkey Enchiladas
I’ve used this recipe so many times it is literally disappearing from my homemade cookbook.. I modified this version from one I found on some website that was obviously a chicken recipe. This is the perfect recipe for those last bits of meat no one is going to eat. You know the ones. They are the last ones in you bag of meat that, well, just look unappetizing although they are perfectly fine. (No pictures here as I haven’t made my turkey yet.) The funny thing is, these always get eaten up and they always ask for more..

Here is how I finish my entire turkey.

Turkey Enchiladas

Left over turkey cut into small, shredded pieces.
Olive oil
¾ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
(you can also add jarred or fresh jalapeno pepper if you are so inclined).
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup cheddar cheese (or whatever you like)
¼ tsp salt
2 ¼ tsp dried parsley
15 oz can tomato sauce
1/3 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp black pepper
¾ clove garlic minced
6-10 inch flour tortillas
½ c to 1 cup shredded cheese
Jarred taco sauce (I can this every year for the best cost savings).

Put a couple of tsp of oil in a pan to coat the bottom of the pan. Sauté your onion and green pepper until soft. Add garlic and sauté for a minute more, add all remaining ingredients with the exception of the tortillas, taco sauce and ½ cup to 1 cup of cheese. Place filling in one portion of the tortillas and roll up. Place in an oven/freezer safe container(s) seam side down and divide taco sauce and reserved cheese between pans and sprinkle over each. Wrap in foil and freeze.

When ready to eat, put in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 mins. (from frozen).

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