I love turkey, and I’m sad that it seems like the only acceptable time to roast a turkey is during the holidays. Why? Maybe it’s because turkey usually weighs so much that it take a large group of people to eat it? Maybe it’s too much work to roast so no one feels like making it unless they have to? Who knows? All I know is that I wanted a turkey, and I already knew what I wanted to do with the leftovers. There aren’t actual recipes to follow, since this just consists of what to do with your own leftover turkey meals, and I figure everyone has their own ways of preparing a Thanksgiving type feast.
Here is an example of leftovers
I’m home for the week due to school vacation, and conveniently my parents had a frozen 12 lb. turkey. They thawed it in the fridge so that I could make it when I got home (literally, I had to brine it the night I got home). My brother and I made a quick brine, as it was pretty late and we were sleepy, of just water, broth, lots of salt, Italian seasoning, and lemon juice. It sat overnight in the fridge, and then the next day we roasted it.
I made a mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery) for the turkey to sit on so I would get tasty juices for a gravy.
It also kind of props the turkey up so the heat can get to all parts
Then I mixed unsalted butter with more Italian Seasoning and put it under and over the skin of the turkey. Then, for fun, I quartered an orange and put 2 pieces inside the turkey and 2 outside. Then it roasted for some hours (we were drinking wine and not really watching the time, so I can’t be too specific) until it was done. I had also in the meantime made garlic mashed potatoes and a gravy, plus we steamed some veggies.
Then we had a delightful dinner. We used the turkey bones to make a broth, along with the leftover pan drippings and mirepoix, and added some packets of turkey gravy, and let it simmer for a while. Then I strained the broth into another pot, picked the meat off the bones and added some of the leftover turkey meat along with fresh veggies and potatoes and let it simmer some more. Then we let it cool and stored the soup into containers to freeze. Later on, when we feel like having the soup, we defrost it and add rice to have a nice, hearty turkey soup.
Yeah, so what if it isnt pretty? It’s tasty, and that’s all that matters. And those are oranges floating in it, leftover from roasting.
But we still had a lot of turkey left. So, my brother made a turkey chili. He has a recipe he always uses for chili, but he uses it mostly as a guide. The recipe says, for example, to use 2 slices of bacon. He uses a whole package. Mostly the recipe serves to remind him what to put into the chili, and when to add it. He just changes how much to add.
I love chili.
And lastly, the mashed potatoes. As delicious as they were, there’s only so much of mashed texture a person can eat within a certain amount of time. So I did what my grandma once recommended to me. I fried them. To do this, I simply rolled a spoonful of potatoes, covered it in a light layer of flour, then coated it in an egg wash (2 eggs beaten, plus an equal amount of milk), and coated it in a mix of half panko and half Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. Then I fried them in vegetable oil at a temp of 325-350 degrees until browned. It was a wonderful textural change and made them more fun to eat, since mashed potatoes had become finger food! I only wish I had thought to make a sauce to go with them. Oh well, there’s always next time.
Crunchy outside, garlicky mashed potato goodness inside
You can also make these with leftover turkey meat and veggies, as long as they aren’t too wet and the ball can still hold its’ shape
So what have we learned from this? That it’s ok to make a turkey during the holiday off-season. It’s way more relaxing when it’s just for your immediate family (hence the drinking of wine while cooking) and then there are plenty of ways to make the leftovers fun. Other examples could be using the leftover turkey and veggies and making a turkey pot pie. You could have turkey sandwiches. You could probably make some sort of casserole with a layer of mashed potatoes on top (think of Shepherds Pie). If your store doesn’t have any turkey right now, ask in the meat department if they could order one for you. Chances are that they will.