CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The turkey's not even in the oven, and I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do with the leftovers. Inevitably, the bland meat loses its appeal after the first sandwiches and requisite soup simmered with turkey carcass stock.
The classic Waldorf salad of apples, grapes, celery and nuts tossed with a creamy dressing graces many Thanksgiving tables. Convert the leftovers to a main dish salad simply by mixing in some shredded turkey. Or start from scratch with the recipe below, perhaps using nuts and fruits that might have decorated a holiday table centerpiece.
How about spicing it up with Mexican-style with Quick Turkey Mole? The rich mole sauce with its hint of dark chocolate and cinnamon provides interesting contrast to turkey.
Cook a few more sweet potatoes than you need for your sweet potato casserole and save them for Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans. Enjoy the fritters with their crusty crusts and tender centers as a side dish or pair them with the beans for a main dish.
Turkey croquettes deliciously use up three leftovers: turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Serve them with the Sweet Potato Fritters and you have a meal made entirely of round foods.
Other quick ideas:
Shred turkey and combine with stuffing and a bit of mayo. Shape into patties and cook in a hot skillet. Mix a little cranberry sauce into some mayo to improvise a cranberry aioli to serve alongside.
Make quesadillas with a mixture of shredded turkey and chopped parsley, placed on tortillas spread with cranberry sauce. Top with shredded cheese and a tortilla. Brown in hot skillet coated with a dab of butter.
Lighten up with a turkey Cobb salad, a plate of healthy greens topped with rows of diced tomatoes, avocado, bacon, turkey, hard-boiled egg and bleu cheese. So much for the healthy greens.
Switch up the turkey and cranberry sandwich with green apples. Slice green apples and place them along with sliced sharp cheddar cheese and turkey on hearty bread spread with mayo and grainy mustard.
Perhaps the promise of delicious leftovers will deter diners from overindulging at the big meal on Thursday. Probably not.
@tag:Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Turkey Waldorf Salad
2 cups shredded leftover turkey meat
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish
1 crisp apple, such as Gala or Macintosh, cored and chopped
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup non-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Shredded or torn lettuce
Freshly ground black pepper
GENTLY toss the turkey, celery, celery leaves, apple, grapes and pecans in a large bowl until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt until well combined.
FOLD dressing into the turkey mixture, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to evenly dress the salad.
SPREAD lettuce evenly onto a serving platter, top with the dressed salad, garnish with celery leaves and serve immediately.
Quick Turkey Mole
1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 4-ounce) can diced chiles
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds or roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
A few grinds black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 to 4 cups diced cooked turkey