Rosie Hawthorne: Turkey redux; here’s what to do

By on November 18, 2013

turkeyThanksgiving might just be my favorite celebration. Friends and family come together. Traditions are shared, new traditions are made, and the observance culminates in a feast.

Another bonus to this special occasion is that gift-giving is neither expected nor involved — always a plus.

On the Hawthornes’ table, you’ll find both a seasoned ham and a brined, trussed, and bronzed turkey.

A few times, I have been known to bone the turkey and remove the carcass before stuffing, shaping, and trussing.

By the way, here’s a Rosie Tip for you: I’ve learned that trussing is the way to go when baking either a turkey or a chicken. Tying the bird together and enclosing the cavity ensures moist and juicy breast meat and properly cooked dark meat. If the cavity is open, the hot air circulates inside, overcooking and drying the breast meat before the thighs and legs are done. Always, truss your bird.

Also on our table, you’ll find giblets and mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, homemade potato rolls, perhaps a corn casserole and/or green bean casserole, and always, Julia Child’s Gâteau of Crêpes.

After Thanksgiving, when you have so much turkey left, what can you do with it to make different meals, day after day? My Hawthornelets do not like to eat the same meal twice, so I have to be creative. I’ve come up with a concept I call “Moreovers.”

The word “leftover” has a negative connotation and I needed to come up with the right word to describe the process of what I do in the life chain of the produce and viande I prepare, serve, and consume. My word is “Moreovers.”

Think about it: You’ve already produced a wonderful, satisfying, and convivial repast. So, what’s next? “More” is next. When you say “Moreover,” you’re likely going to top what you previously said, put an exclamation point there, or put it in bold or italics. When I make “Moreovers!” I’m presenting the same food in a completely different way. You won’t know that I’m serving leftovers. And you know that when you bless that turkey time and time again, it can only get better.

My first Thanksgiving Moreover is Turkey Salad in a Lettuce Wrap. I reconstructed a recipe of Mama Hawthorne’s Curried Chicken Salad, which she would serve on a bed of crisp, iceberg lettuce with a slice of pineapple. I prefer serving this wrapped in a Boston or butter lettuce leaf for a light and refreshing meal. I always appreciate it when my serving container is edible.

lettuceCurried Turkey Salad In A Lettuce Wrap
2 cups chopped turkey meat
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 TB chopped red onion
½ cup chopped pineapple
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder
Pinch Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Handful of seedless red grapes (12 grapes), sliced

Combine mayo, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
Mix rest of ingredients.
Add mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat.
Serve wrapped in a lettuce leaf for a lighter meal.
For my next reincarnation of turkey, I’m going with Turkey Burritos. It’s the Go-To meal for my Hawthornelets. Burritos are quick, easy, and oh-so-good. And my children (Adults?! When did that happen?) have always loved them.

burritosTurkey Burritos
Makes 4 burritos.
1 tsp oil
1 tsp unsalted butter
2 cups chopped turkey meat
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium pepper
For peppers, I like to use multi-colored ones – green, yellow, orange, and red – for the pretty.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
4 8-inch tortillas
¼ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated and packed
¼ cup Cheddar cheese, grated and packed
Crème fraîche (Recipe to follow.)
If you want to use sour cream (le sigh) instead of crème fraîche, go ahead.
Fresh cilantro (Parsley, if you’re in the Anti-Cilantro Camp.)
Your favorite salsa
Jalapeno slices, pickled or fresh

Heat oil and butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
Add in onion and pepper. Sweat for a minute. Add in turkey and garlic and reduce heat to medium low. You never want to overcook garlic. It ruins the dish. Burned garlic is bitter. Add in cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Taste test and add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon turkey mixture into tortillas, add some Monterey Jack cheese, and roll the tortillas up.
Your tortilla is now, officially, a burrito.

Place burritos on baking sheet. Add jalapeno slices, if desired, and sprinkle cheddar cheese over top. Place under broiler until cheese is bubbly and browned.

Serve with Crème Fraîche.
You owe it to yourself to make your own crème fraîche. What is crème fraîche? You can think of it as sour cream on steroids. It’s a tangy French cream that’s a cousin of sour cream, but it’s richer and smoother. Its body and thickness comes from the natural fermenting agents in buttermilk. Crème fraîche is excellent for cooking because of its richness and stability. Unlike sour cream, it doesn’t break apart when heated.

Mix together:
1 cup heavy cream
1 TB buttermilk
1 TB lemon juice
Cover with paper towel and leave overnight on the kitchen counter. Next morning, stir it up, noticing and admiring how thick it’s gotten. Then taste-test and squee. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
When I’m ready to serve this, I like to mix the crème fraîche with chopped cilantro (or parsley) and lime zest for extra zing.

Plate turkey burritos and offer crème fraîche, salsa, and additional cilantro (or parsley). Pick and choose and enjoy!

bowlIf you wanted to take the basic turkey mixture above and present it in a different, crunchy, and fun way, I’d recommend what I call my Fiesta Bowl.

You can find the tortilla baking bowls at cooking stores and at some WalMarts. Simply place your tortilla (corn or flour) in the bowl, brush with melted unsalted butter, and lightly sprinkle on the seasonings of your choice. Spices you might consider are cumin, cayenne, oregano, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Place tortilla bowl in a 350° oven and bake until lightly browned.

Fill with the turkey mixture and top with grated cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, chopped tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, and shredded lettuce. Serve with crème fraîche and your favorite salsa and guacamole.

My last Turkey Moreover for you is the Turkey Pot Pie – a comforting meal and a delicious ending for this humble bird.

potpieTurkey Pot Pie
2 cups chopped turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen green peas, not canned
3 TB unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
2 ½ – 3 cups chicken broth, depending on how thick you want the filling
1/3 cup cream
3-4 fresh sprigs of thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Splash of sherry or white wine, if desired
Biscuit crust or pie crust
1 egg
1 TB water

Melt butter over medium heat in skillet. Add in the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring, for about two minutes. Add in flour, stir to combine, and cook for another minute to cook out the raw taste of the flour. Slowly add in chicken broth, stirring, and allowing it to thicken but not boil. Add in cream. Add the green peas. Reduce heat to low and heat through. Taste test and add salt and pepper as needed. Strip leaves off thyme and stir in. If desired, pour in a splash of sherry or white wine.

pieLadle turkey filling into individual 6-ounce ramekins. For the topping, my family prefers a homemade biscuit dough.
You could use your favorite biscuit recipe or use the frozen store-bought biscuits. Alternatively, you could top the pot pies with a pie dough.

If you’re buying pie crusts, I recommend the ones that are rolled up and come in the rectangular boxes, not the frozen crusts in the aluminum pans. When topping, press the dough around the edges of the ramekins to seal. Make a few slits in the dough for vents.

Mix the egg and water together and brush it over the crust.
Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake in a 375° oven about 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

I do hope you’ll visit with Rosie at KitchensAreMonkeyBusiness. I love to garden and both Mr. Hawthorne and I love to cook. I’m sure you’ll find something that will tickle your fancy.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers.


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