Showing posts with label left overs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label left overs. Show all posts

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Dumplings and Turkey Stew Make the Best Thanksgiving Left-Overs

We loved our Thanksgiving. Even though it was smaller than in other years. Five instead of twenty-five. Even thought it was outside on the patio where the fall leaves fell onto our plates instead of inside our warm and cozy house. We had time to have real conversations in an unhurried way. 

After the delights of Thanksgiving, then come the left-overs. Open faced sandwiches with turkey and turkey liver pate. Turkey soup made from the stock of Thanksgiving's bones and bits. And, my favorite, dumplings and turkey stew. The absolute best comfort food. 


The basics are straightforward. Cooked turkey meat. A handful of favorite vegetables. A cup of white flour. A bit of half and half. A cube of butter. Homemade turkey stock. A few seasonings.

Simmer. Cover. Uncover and serve! Easy and delicious.

Farm-to-Table Vegetables, Turkey and Dumplings

Use a good quality organic turkey and buy farmers market produce when available. 

If you have dried whole shiitake mushrooms, use them. They add a distinctive flavor, different from the delicate flavor of thinly sliced shiitakes.

Use vegetables you love. And lots of them. English peas. Squash rounds. Kabocha chunks. Roasted sweet potatoes. Green beans. Kale. Shredded cabbage. Chopped turnips. My preference is to tilt the balance towards the fresh produce, plating great mounds of vegetables with a leg and a wing or two pieces of breast.

The dish can be covered and served the next day or divided into smaller covered containers and frozen for up to three months.


Yield: 4 servings

Time to prep: 15 minutes (if you already have turkey stock) or 1 hour (including time to make turkey stock)

Time to cook: 30 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

4 cups cooked turkey meat, cut into quarter sized pieces, no bones
1 medium yellow onion, washed, ends trimmed, outer skin removed, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup green beans, washed, ends removed, cut into 1" long pieces
1 cup broccoli florets, washed and cut into 1" pieces or broccoli leaves, washed, shredded
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, washed, stem end trimmed, thinly sliced or 2 cups dried whole shiitake mushrooms, washed
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped
1 garlic, peeled, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup celery, washed, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2" pieces (optional)
4 cups homemade turkey stock, as described below
1 large carrot, washed, trimmed, peeled, cut into 1/2" thick rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne powder (optional)


Dumpling ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour, white
2 tablespoons sweet (unsalted) butter, cut into fine bits
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 scallion, washed, ends trimmed, green and white parts finely chopped or 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped (optional)
1/2-1/3 cup half and half, cream or whole milk


Directions

The turkey stock cooks as we're enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. As I carve, I put the bones and carcass into a large pot. Cover with water plus four more cups and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Strain through a colander, reserving liquid in a bowl. Let the carcass cool and remove the meat.

Use what stock is needed for the dish, reserving the rest covered in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six months. The meat pulled off the carcass can be added to the braise or submerged in stock and frozen for later use.


In a mixing bowl, add flour, cut up butter, scallion (or Italian parsley), baking soda, sea salt and black pepper. Using a fork, mix well. Slowly add milk, stirring until thickened. The resulting mixture should be like thick batter. If the mixture is too runny, add a tablespoon of flour. Cover and set aside.


In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions and garlic (optional) with oil until softened. Add cooked turkey and vegetables. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add turkey stock.  Stir and simmer 20 minutes.


To make the dumplings, use two soup spoons to create small rounds of dough. Drop each dumpling into the simmering liquid. Make room for each dumpling so they do not touch because they will expand as they cook. Use all the dumplings batter and cover.

Adjust the heat so the stock simmers but does not boil.

Cook 30 minutes and serve immediately. Place several dumplings into each bowl, adding a protein and a good helping of vegetables with several tablespoons of sauce.

Serve hot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Before and After Thanksgiving: Turkey Liver Pate Appetizer and Turkey Stock

The best Thanksgiving appetizers are ones that are light, more about flavor than satisfying hunger.

Cheese, olives, vegetable crudite and pickles are an easy way to anticipate the meal while everyone is getting settled and beverages are being served.

Years ago I discovered turkey liver pate when I was stumped by what to do with that very large turkey liver inside the turkey. Ever since, I have happily served the pate as an appetizer with crackers or thin slices of fresh Italian bread.

This year, having bought beets to make a Thanksgiving beet salad, the beet greens were a healthy substitute for Italian parsley. The sweetness of the greens are a perfect compliment to the richness of the liver.

The other part of Thanksgiving that is important to me is the turkey stock that I start making while dinner is still in progress.

Everyone has their favorite after Thanksgiving left-over sandwich. For me, nothing is better than the turkey stew with dumplings made with the thick stock prepared from the Thanksgiving turkey.

Many people throw out the turkey carcass because it looks gross. But this ugly duckling (excuse the shifting metaphor) turns into a beautiful swan of a soup.

Before Thanksgiving dinner begins, the stock pot is on the stove, even as the turkey is finishing roasting in the oven. After the turkey is carved, instead of leaving the unsightly mess of bones on the cutting board, all of it goes into the stock pot, even the little bits of stuffing.

By the time the last guest says goodbye, the stock is ready to be strained, the bones picked clean of meat for soup. Refrigerated and then frozen, the stock continues the pleasures of Thanksgiving into winter.

Turkey Liver Pate

Serves 10

Ingredients

1 turkey liver, washed, cut into quarter sized pieces
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, washed, stem trimmed, thin sliced
1 piece of bacon, finely chopped
2 eggs, hard boiled, peeled, quartered
4 cups beet greens, stems and leaves washed to remove the grit, finely chopped OR 1 cup Italian parsley, washed, leaves and stems finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, ends trimmed, papers removed, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Directions

Saute together the garlic, onions and beet greens or Italian parsley with 1 tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned. Push the caramelized vegetables to one side of the pan. Add another tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Sauté the liver pieces until lightly browned. Do not overcook the liver. I only needs to be seared.

Use a rubber spatula to move the liver and sautéed vegetables into a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons and season with cayenne (optional), sea salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper and olive oil.

Refrigerate in a covered container.  Before serving, allow the pate to come to room temperature. Serve with crackers, thin slices of bread or lightly toasted bread.

Turkey Stock

Serves 10

Ingredients

Bones and carcass of turkey

Directions

Place all the bones and the carcass of the turkey into a large stock pot. Cover with water and lightly cover.

Simmer 1 hour. Strain the bones. Place the stock into covered containers and refrigerate. The stock will keep in the refrigerator for several days and can be frozen for several months.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Open Faced Quesadillas

Traditionally quesadillas are a simple combination of a warm tortilla folded over hot melted cheese. When our kids were young, they made an easy to make after-school snack. By adding toppings the quesadilla turns into a fiesta of flavors. Since the quesadilla cooks quickly in a trying pan, the toppings should be pre-cooked, much the same way they are on pizzas.

Besides being easy and quick to make, quesadillas are also a great way to use left-overs. Roast chicken, steak, fish fillets, and grilled vegetables work well under a thin layer of melted cheese.

By only using one side of the quesadilla, you save on calories and improve the flavor.

Open Faced Quesadillas

The basic quesadilla is a toasted tortilla topped with melted cheese, with hot sauce or salsa added for flavor.  Kids love them, so do adults.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

4 tortillas, corn or flour
1/4 pound cheese, cheddar, muenster, jack
2 scallions, washed, ends removed, finely chopped (optional)

Method

Heat a frying pan or griddle on a medium-high flame. Cut each tortilla into quarters. Put each piece on the griddle, topped with thin slices of cheese. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil or a lid for 5 minutes.

Remove, sprinkle with chopped scallions (optional), and serve with hot sauce or salsa.

Quesadillas with Toppings

We've tried Italian sausage rounds, grilled vegetables (carrots, broccoli, and corn), shredded roast chicken, grilled sliced shrimp, thin slices of tomato, thin slices of steak... Just about any cooked meat or vegetable could be put on a quesadilla.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Best Post-Thanksgiving Comfort Food: Turkey Dumpling Stew

Usually on Thanksgiving between 20-25 people come over for dinner. This year we had a smaller group. With 10, we had time to talk and there wasn't quite as much work getting the meal ready. Out of habit, though, we bought the same size turkey we always buy, a 25 pounder. So we assumed we'd have a lot of food left over, enough for several days of sandwiches.

When we looked in the refrigerator on Friday, we were surprised that we had very little cranberry sauce, almost no stuffing, and only enough white meat for a couple of sandwiches. But, happily, we did have a lot of dark meat and almost a gallon of turkey stock we'd made Thanksgiving night.

For our day after Thanksgiving dinner, I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I wanted a good comfort meal. Dumplings with anything is always great, but with richly flavored turkey stew, there's nothing more satisfying.

Turkey Stew with Dumplings and Vegetables

Yield: 4-6 servings
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

4 cups cooked, shredded turkey dark meat
6 cups turkey stock (fat removed)
2 carrots (washed, peeled, ends removed, chopped into thick rounds)
2 sweet potatoes (cooked, skins removed, roughly chopped)
1 medium yellow onion (peeled, ends removed, roughly chopped)
1 ear of corn (kernels removed) or 1 cup of canned or frozen corn
1 celery stalk (washed, ends removed, roughly chopped)
1/2 cup brown or shiitake mushrooms (washed, thinly sliced)
4 garlic cloves (peeled, finely chopped)
1/2 cup Italian parsley (leaves only, finely chopped)
1 small bunch spinach (washed thoroughly, stems removed)
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sweet butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup half and half
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

In a dutch oven or a frying pan with tall sides, sauté the carrots, garlic, celery, mushrooms, onions, corn, and parsley in olive oil until lightly browned. Season with sea salt and pepper. Add the shredded turkey, cooked sweet potatoes, and turkey stock. Simmer. Drop in the spinach and cook for 10 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

To make the dumplings, mix together the flour, baking soda, sugar, season with sea salt and pepper in a bowl. Finely chop the butter, add to the flour and mix well. Slowly pour in the half and half, stirring until the batter has a thick consistency. Using 2 spoons, make dumplings and ease them them into the hot liquid.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with a salad and a baguette.

Variations

Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions or Italian parsley to the dumplings.

Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped roasted red peppers to the dumplings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chicken with Rice and Beans from a Restaurant Turns into Homemade Soup

Figuring out what your kids want to eat can be a challenge. Our son, Michael, has gone through a lot of food-phases. When he was little, he became a vegetarian after he saw Babe. A few years later at his grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary dinner, he announced that he was going to eat a hamburger to celebrate their marriage. Now he's the starting quarterback on the high school football team, so he's on a training regimen. He stays away from fats and prefers to eat whole grains. We don't always know what to cook for him, and fast-food is a big no-no. Luckily a staple for him is the roast chicken from an LA landmark, the Cuban restaurant Versailles. The chicken comes with fried plantains, rice, and black beans. Michael likes it all, except for the beans. Which is ok with me, because I use them to make a black bean and vegetable soup.

I love getting another meal out of left-overs. From Michael's take-out, I use the roast chicken bones to make stock. He doesn't eat all the rice, so I have some for the soup. As is traditional with many Cuban dishes, a mound of raw, sliced onions comes on top of the chicken. Needless to say, he doesn't eat any of the onions, so they're all for me.

The result is a delicious soup, with latin-flavors and a healthy, clean taste. I like to add bacon or sausage, but if you're a vegetarian, like my friends Marjorie and Grace, don't add the bacon and use water instead of the chicken stock. If you're making the soup with ingredients from the market, you can use the black beans made by any of the Latin brands like Goya. (Just a side note, the best black beans I've ever eaten were ones I had in Costa Rica where my parents lived for 20 years. Unbelievably delicious.)

Black Bean and Vegetable Soup

½ cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 ½ cups black beans, cooked
1 piece of bacon, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped carrots
¼ cup finely chopped broccoli stems, peeled
½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
½ cup cooked long grain rice
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 teaspoon olive oil
Sour cream (optional)
Homemade croutons (optional)
In a saucepan, sauté the onions, bacon, garlic, carrots, and broccoli in olive oil until lightly browned. Add the beans, rice, and chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve in a bowl and top with croutons or sour cream.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes. Cooking Time: 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Second Life: Ginger Pork and Rice Turns into a Delicious Soup

"Never waste food." When my grandmother showed me how to cook scrambled eggs, she ran her finger inside the shell to get out all the egg. Waste made her crazy. My mother was the same way. When we'd go to a restaurant, what we didn't eat, came home, much to my father's embarrassment.

To my mother, the prime rib my father didn't eat at Lawry's, reheated at home, made a great snack, and it was free. The gigantic baked potato with sour cream and chives I couldn't finish, turned into the best breakfast potatoes. I learned that the food we brought home from the restaurant had a second life...if you know a couple of tricks

Yesterday I was doing an errand and stopped at Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese supermarket, that always has great sales on high quality meats and produce. The food court inside doesn't make allowances for Western tastes. Mitsuwa has the feeling of a Tokyo-style market.

From Misasa, one of the half-dozen food stands, I bought a bento box lunch with ginger pork, miso soup, a small piece of tofu with bonito flakes, steamed Japanese rice, and pickled daikon. Everything was delicious but I couldn't finish the ginger pork or the steamed rice, so I packed them up and took them home.

In the morning I turned the left-over ginger pork and steamed rice into a hot soup with rice, pork, carrots, and broccoli. The flavors from the bento box lived on, reconstituted into a nourishing soup, perfect for the rainy day. Which made me happy, because it tasted great and because I didn't waste any food.

Creating a hearty soup, using a cooked meat and rice, fresh vegetables, and a stock, is really very easy. All it takes is remembering to bring home the left-overs.

3 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup ginger pork, cooked, sliced
1 shallot, peeled, sliced
1 carrot, washed peeled, cut into 1" long batons
1 small broccoli florette, washed, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup steamed rice, cooked

Heat the chicken stock on a medium flame. Add the pork, shallot, carrot, and broccoli. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cooked rice and cook another 5 minutes.

Serves 1. Preparation Time: 5 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 minutes.

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