Leftovers: Plenty of options for remaining turkey

By Annabel Cohen

Every Thanksgiving, Americans have a love affair with Turkey en masse. No matter what your ethnic background or personal preferences, most people prepare turkey in one form or another.
The most logical  meal to make with turkey remains (bones and clinging meat) is broth for soup. So here is a recipe for that.
If you’re the type to throw away the carcass (aka bones), there’s still the issue of what to do with leftover meat. The large slices go quick – Thanksgiving II, the sequel – or sandwiches for the second day or night. Then there are the leftover leftovers. The pieces that are too small or not everyone’s favorite. These often hang around for a few days before they’re tossed, along with the dried-up stuffing and rock-hard mashed potatoes. And we all feel guilty throwing it away.
This year, don’t discard! Reinvent! Turn that turkey into a sweet and savory turkey salad (chop turkey, add mayonnaise, toasted nuts, dried fruits and seasonings and eat!). Or a pot pie or a Thai treat. You don’t need much meat to stretch surplus gobbler into meals you actually want to eat. So after you’ve loved your bird, learn to love it again … and again.

Turkey Pot Almond Crisp

Like a pot pie but with an easy crumbled topping.

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup oats, any kind
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 chopped celery
  • 6 cups cooked turkey meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey broth (canned is fine)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup small diced carrots (fresh or frozen)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium high heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  While the vegetables are cooking, combine the turkey with the flour and toss well. Add the turkey to the skillet and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook the chicken until the sauce becomes thickened, about 6- to 8-minutes. Stir in the peas and carrots and add salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture among 6 oven-proof bowls or a casserole dish. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the pot pies and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the mixture is very bubbly. Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Hash

Serve this topped with a fried egg and with leftover cranberry sauce for a great and easy breakfast or dinner.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups 1/4-inch diced potato
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • Hot red pepper sauce (such as Tabasco), to taste
  • 6 cups 1/2-inch diced cooked turkey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large skillet cook over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the flour, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes more. Add the 1/2-cup of broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and hot sauce and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in the turkey, and salt and pepper to taste (add remaining broth if the mixture appears to dry). Reduce heat and cook the hash until the potatoes are tender. Makes 6-8 servings.

Turkey Orzo and Basil Soup

  • The best thing about this soup is how fresh it tastes — the vegetables and pasta are just tender, not mushy. If the soup still lacks poultry flavor, add a few cubes of chicken bouillon to bump up the flavor.
    1 leftover turkey carcass (from a 10- to 12-pound turkey)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup orzo (or other small pasta)
  • 16 fresh basil leaves (or more to taste)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, garnish
  • Fresh ground pepper, garnish

Place the turkey carcass in a large pot.  Add water, onion, salt and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Remove carcass and let cool. Remove turkey from bones. Discard bones and cut turkey into small pieces.
Strain broth into a bowl or another pot. Return broth to the pan. Add the turkey pieces, carrots, celery, chopped onion and parsley flakes, cover and simmer over medium heat for one hour more. Just before serving,  add the orzo and cook until tender. Before ladling into bowls, stir in basil and chopped tomatoes and heat through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh ground pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Thai Turkey with Curry and Mango

Serve over cooked white Jasmine, Basmati or long grain rice.

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp.Thai red curry paste
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch long strips
  • 6 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
  • 1 mango, cut into small dice (may use frozen or canned mango)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Combine coconut milk and curry paste in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the onions, bell pepper and turkey and cook for minute. Add the palm sugar and soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, mango and basil. Serve immediately over rice with lime wedges on the side. Makes 6 servings.

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