Raid the Fridge- Leftover Ideas

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Clifford Wright is the acclaimed author of several books including Some Like it Hot: Spicy Flavors from the World’s Hot Zones. He tells us what we can do with those holiday leftovers and offers some recipes for us to try.

Turkey in Yogurt, Mint, and Garlic Sauce

3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups loosely-packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup clarified butter (preferably) or unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/4 pounds leftover turkey breast and thigh, cubed or sliced
1 quart thick plain yogurt
4 small loaves pita bread
1. In a mortar, pound the garlic, salt, and mint until mashed well, like a pesto, or use a food processor for this purpose. 
2. In a skillet, heat or melt the clarified butter over medium-high heat, then cook the onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and the garlic mixture until soft, stirring, about 4 minutes.  Add the turkey until it is heated in a couple of minutes, then stir in the yogurt and check the salt.  Heat over a low heat, but make sure it never comes to a boil otherwise the yogurt will separate.  Serve hot with warm pita bread.

Makes 4 servings

Southwest Turkey Bake

This is just a very quick way to assemble a lunch for one or two people with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. 
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound cooked turkey breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 ripe tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped onions
3 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers or mild chiles
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices Longhorn cheese
1/4 cup red wine
1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. 
2. Grease a small casserole or two individual ramekins with a film of olive oil.  In a bowl, toss the turkey, tomatoes, onions, green pepper, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper together.
3. Transfer to the casserole, cover with cheese and sprinkle with red wine and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

Makes 2 servings

Turkey Soup

Place carcass in a large stock pot and cover with cold water.  Add 1 carrot, 1 medium onion, 1 celery stalk, a bay leaf, some parsley, and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer 6 hours.  Strain the broth.  Bring the strained broth to a boil and cook broken spaghetti in it, store-bought tortellini, or reheat leftover potatoes, sweet potatoes, or yams from Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey Sandwich

There are several tricks to making a good sandwich.  First you must use lettuce leaves to protect the bread from getting soggy.  The bread should be of the highest quality and the crust should not be so hard that when you bite in the contents squeeze out.  You should always use a little onion which is in a sense the “secret” ingredient to any good sandwich.  In this sandwich, slice the leftover turkey quite thin.  Lay the lettuce leaves down on both sides of the bread and smear some mascarpone cheese on both if like otherwise just use mayonnaise.  Flavor the mayonnaise with a few drops of your favorite hot sauce, such as Tabasco sauce, stirring it until well blended then spread a little flavored mayonnaise on top of the lettuce and lay the turkey, onion (just a little), Swiss cheese, and more turkey then fold together and serve.

Thanksgiving Leftover Soup

Remove the meat from the turkey and cube.  Place all the leftover ingredients you want from the Thanksgiving dinner and puree in a food processor.  Stir in some turkey broth, heavy cream, and adjust the taste.  If your Thanksgiving meal had lots of sweet dishes, adjust the taste by adding hot sauce or red chile.  If it’s bland, salt and pepper.  Transfer to a saucepan and heat slowly, then add the turkey pieces until heated through.  Serve in individual bowls with a drizzle of olive oil.

All recipes © Clifford A. Wright.