I love turkey leftovers almost as much as I love turkey dinners. That’s why I always buy the biggest bird I can find.
When the kids were young and living at home, picking over the carcass the day after Thanksgiving was anticipated for weeks. Now, I break the carcass into quarters and freeze the pieces along with the wing tips, the thigh bones, the drumstick bones and any other bones and use them when making stocks throughout the years.
As for the leftover turkey meat, the uses are virtually unlimited. One favorite is to just take some of the meat at room temperature and serve it with re-heated gravy and any leftover stuffing, vegetables and cranberry sauce. Fortunately, Jennifer likes turkey leftovers as much as I do. So, we can live on leftovers for as many days as the leftovers last. Here are recipes for two things I do with leftover holiday turkey:
QUICK & EASY LEFTOVER TURKEY GUMBO
2 small onions, diced
2 tbsp oil
4 cups homemade turkey broth (fat skimmed)
2 cups canned crushed stewed tomatoes
4 cups okra, sliced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
½ tsp paprika
2 cups cooked diced turkey leftovers
2 tsp. dried, crushed oregano
¼ tsp. black pepper
2/3 cup long grain white rice
Heat oil in 8-quart saucepan. Sauté onions until tender but not brown. Add broth, tomatoes, okra, parsley and paprika. Heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add turkey, oregano, pepper, a dash of Tabasco (to taste) and rice. Bring to a slow boil for 20 minutes.
(A gumbo purist would skip the rice and make a roux instead.)
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
LEFT OVER TURKEY SOUP
8 cups turkey stock
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups dried egg noodles
2 cups leftover turkey meat
Bring stock to a boil in a 6-quart saucepan. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook at slow boil for 30 minutes. Add noodles and slow boil 20 minutes more. Add turkey leftovers to heat. Add parsley just before serving.
Makes about 6 servings.