I know I’m one of those cooks who enter the holiday season knowing that by mid January, I won’t want to look a turkey in the eye for another 6 months or so – but at this early point in holiday time, I must admit that I really do like turkey, and actually look forward to using a little creativity in coming up with a few new ways to ultilize the turkey leftovers in delicious and unique ways.
In a way, I put a crimp in that effort this year by buying only a 12 lb turkey, whereas in past years, our Thanksgiving bird has always been in the 18-20 lb range. But somehow my sensitivity to an already over-crowded freezer, and the fact that sooner or later, I must adjust to the fact that we’re a family of two now, and stop cooking for four!
But the truth is, when you buy a 12 lb turkey, you actually are buying a bird with a bone structure almost as large as the 18 pounder, and I’ll bet that the 18 lb turkey has twice the usable meat that the 12 lb’er does – so I’m immediately limited in my opportunities to get creative! Not only that, but we had to pay 10c more per pound for the 12 pounder. What was I thinking!
Whatever – it’s still a lot of leftover meat to work with, and so I’ve begun to think about how and what I can put this year’s turkey into, that may translate into a few creations that don’t just remind you of leftover turkey – my criteria will be the use of as many of our leftovers in each adaption, even if this means inventing a unique fusion dish – and here are this year’s early nominees for serious consideration:
Turkey Fu Yung – Recently I’ve been thinking how long it’s been since I’ve done any Egg Fu Yung – there was a time when I loved this stuff, but as my awareness of Asian foods has grown, Egg Fu Yung has slipped into “has been” status. Interestingly, Egg Fu Yung seems one of those dishes like chow mein that were developed specifically for American tastes, but its roots are actually quite legit and based on an elaborate Shanghai recipe. I’ll be able to use some cubed turkey in this dish, and also transform the gravy into a sauce by the addition of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil - and if we had broccoli or string beans with our big meal, they’d be good adds also – but creamed peas or candied sweets, No! I’ll just cut an onion into sixteenths and add it as my only veg.
Any Curry Based Dish – This is one of our regulars, and it’s a good way to completely change the character of your available ingredients – again, this one can use cubed turkey, vegetables, and gravy too. I especially like this use because it works by a simple addition of a few tablespoons of curry powder, or by adapting a sophisticated Indian recipe to whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Mole Enchiladas – If you haven’t tried it yet, I think you’ll surprised at the quality of Dona Maria Mole in a ready-to-use box. These are so handy that really all you need to do is to mix your cubed turkey with the mole (and whatever else you want to include), roll it up in some tortillas, slip them into a bake pan, and cover with some of your turkey gravy mixed with any remaining mole, and some grated cheese – and bake – these are great!
Turkey Noodle Soup – I will never let the turkey carcass go unused – there’s just too much flavor and protein left on these bones to just pitch it – and since I already have some surplus stock left from my gravy making, I’ve got a perfect base for some excellent soup. I can also use this to use up some of the Thanksgiving veggies, and as a good opportunity to make some homemade noodles to make this soup something special.
I doubt our 12 pounder will stretch this far, but I know that if it does, we won’t get bored with leftovers.
I know we don’t usually think of holiday desserts as leftovers, but I’ll bet that if you make your own whipped cream, you often have more of it left than you can use properly – and after a day or two, whipped cream tends to begin separating and losing body. I frequently have this problem because I don’t like trying to whip just 8 ozs of cream -it’s not enough for my KA to handle efficiently- so I usually go with a pint of cream. That’s quite a lot of cream – and we usually run out of desserts before we run out of whipped cream. Is there something we can use our leftover whipped cream for?
Well yes, there is. Have you ever heard of Whipped Cream Biscuits?
On the surface, Whipped Cream Biscuits (not cookie biscuits) sounds like a classic richness overkill, but actually, they have several quite positive pluses. First, we are using leftover whipped cream that ordinarily might get pitched rather than used. And while they may sound excessive, these biscuits are no richer than other biscuits, since all biscuits must have a form of shortening or butter – if you want really rich, try these. But what I like most about these is the fact that there is no “cutting the butter” into the flour – this is the part that causes problems for most bakers, especially if they use the food processor to do the cutting (if you cut the butter in too finely, as is all too easy in the processor, your biscuits will be too dense.). I dare you to find a biscuit recipe this good that goes together this easy!
Whipped Cream Biscuits
adapted from, http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Whipped-Cream-Biscuits
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 tsp sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
* In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in cream. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/4-in. round biscuit cutter.
* Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. Yield: 5 biscuits.
My Notes: The 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream noted in the recipe is “before” whipping – since most of us will be using cream already whipped, note that whipped cream doubles in volume when whipped, so 1 cup of whipped cream would be used here – if your leftover whipped cream has separated, stir the liquid back into it before using it. And yes, this is a small recipe, so feel free to double it if you wish.
I always “paint” my biscuits with melted butter or beaten egg before baking – adds color.
Eat well – be good to others.