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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Delicious uses for leftover turkey

Many people look forward to eating the day after Thanksgiving as much as the day itself. There are so many different ways to use the leftover turkey meat. Sure, it’s easy to just make a plate of all the leftovers and throw them in the microwave. There’s nothing wrong with making new dishes to use the protein.

Today, I want to share with you two very New Orleans recipes using some of the leftover bird. The first one is often the first thing people think of when the bird’s bones have been picked clean, Turkey and Andouille Gumbo. The second is one of my favorite preparations, Turkey Jambalaya. Take the remaining meat from the bird, gather the rest of your ingredients, and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Turkey and Andouille Gumbo

The winter weather makes gumbo taste just a little better. Many people in South Louisiana make a form of turkey gumbo during the holidays. It taste even better if you use the leftover turkey bones to make a homemade stock.

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups canola oil

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 cups sliced andouille sausage

2 quarts chicken or turkey stock

2 bay leaves

Salt and black pepper

Creole Seasoning

2 cups shredded cooked turkey meat

Cooked rice, for serving

Chopped green onions, for garnish (optional

In a large soup pot slowly heat oil and flour together over low heat, stirring constantly, until it becomes a nutty brown color and is very fragrant; be careful not to burn. Add onions, pepper and celery and cook, stirring, 4 minutes. Add garlic and andouille and cook 5 minutes, until some fat releases from sausage. Add stock, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add turkey and simmer 30 minutes more. Adjust seasonings and serve with hot rice and a generous sprinkle of green onions.

Turkey Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a dish I could eat on a weekly basis. With only your imagination to limit you, the variations will always present you with different flavors. It’s a perfect vehicle to use your leftover turkey and stock.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

2 cups chicken stock

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups shredded cooked turkey

6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped

2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in bell peppers, celery, and the dry seasonings; sauté 1 minute. Add rice; sauté 1 minute. Stir in stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add turkey and sausage; cover and cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

I hope it doesn’t have to be said that you don’t have to wait until the holidays to prepare these dishes. I’m always telling my wife that we should cook a turkey more often than we do. Since it’s just the two of us, we usually just wait until the holidays. Maybe we just need to have a mid-year turkey dinner with all the sides. Anyone out there interested?

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