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Low-Maintenance Turkey, Leftovers Revamped
This year we have added a succulent slow roasted turkey recipe to the repertoire along with a gorgeous recipe for gnocchi from the divine Ruthie Rogers and her peeps at The River Café. When we were doing the recipe testing we were left with so much turkey, we decided to address an age-old problem…what do we do with all of it? We came up with two absolutely delicious ways to turn your extra bird into lunch and dinner over the weekend that are far from the ordinary sandwich.
‘Thanksgiving gnocchi’ from the River Café
The great Ruthie Rogers has shared with us a recipe from her new book, The River Café Classic Italian Cook Book, which is very autumnal and would make either a fantastic first course, or a great vegetarian main. She does hers with pumpkin but we thought we would give it a go with sweet potato. It turned out just beautifully. The perfect thing to do with any leftover sweet potato or pumpkin from your feast. In their new book, Ruthie and Rose Gray also suggest serving this with melted butter and sage.
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- coarse salt
- ¾ pound baking potatoes
- 1 egg, very well beaten
- about 1½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour, plus more for rolling out
- freshly ground black pepper
- parmesan cheese for serving
1.Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2.Mix together the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, chili, oregano and a large pinch of salt in a roasting tray and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until very soft, about 30 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, cook the regular potatoes in boiling water with a large pinch of salt until cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter.
4.Pass the sweet potatoes and the boiled potatoes through a ricer or a food mill into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the egg and a large pinch of salt. Gradually add the flour, stirring first with a wooden spoon and then your hands, until a dough forms. It is essential to do this quickly, otherwise the gnocchi will become very heavy if overworked.
5.Lightly dust a clean board or counter with flour. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Dust each piece with flour and roll until it’s about ¾" in diameter. Cut into 1" long pieces. At this point you can leave the gnocchi as is or roll them on the tines of a fork. Stash the gnocchi on a flour-dusted cookie sheet as you continue rolling and cutting the rest.
6.When you’re ready to eat, bring a pot of water to a boil with a large pinch of salt. Cook the gnocchi, about a dozen at a time, for 4-5 minutes (let them cook for a minute or two after they float to the top). Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer to a warm serving dish and serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a generous grating of parmesan, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
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Slow Roasted Turkey
Last year I ate Thanksgiving dinner at a chef friends’ house in London on the actual day, and had my dinner at home on the Friday (long, uninteresting story). The meal was incredible and just different enough from the usual fare and preparation that it got my mind spinning…Oysters on the half shell followed by sloooow roasted turkey. When I asked about the recipe, it turned out that it had been adapted by my chef friend from a Heston Blumenthal contribution to the London Sunday Times. His incredible version is about three pages long and not for the faint of heart, nor the home chef, I fear (although maybe I’ll give it a go at Christmas). I seriously modified it to make a very simple and still juicy and delicious bird, just to try something slightly different. I made this with a small turkey (about 8½ pounds), but the method remains the same however large your bird. The easiest way to turn the turkey is to use oven mitts, which you can just toss in the washing machine post-flip.
Serves: About 6 (with more than enough for leftovers)
- ½ cup coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
- an organic, free-range turkey, local if possible, giblets removed and reserved for gravy if you’d like
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- freshly ground black pepper
Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 cups of boiling water. Put the mixture in the largest vessel you have — I use an oversized stockpot, but a large container or even a bucket will do. Add about a gallon of cold water and the turkey. Add more cold water if needed so that the turkey is just submerged. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 140°F. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with cold water. Pat completely dry with paper towels. Rub all over with butter and sprinkle with a liberal amount of black pepper and bit of salt. Place breast-side down in a roasting pan and cook for 4 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven and raise the temperature to 425°F and turn on the convection if available (if not, raise the temperature to 450°F). Once the oven reaches temperature, flip the turkey so it’s breast-side up and return it to the oven. Roast for half an hour, or until nicely browned and the turkey registers at least 165°F when tested with a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. Let it rest at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Adapted from my favorite contributor Lee Gross who transforms leftovers like no one else. This recipe calls for lots of ingredients, but don’t be put off — it’s actually quite simple to make and totally revamps day-old turkey. Make some fresh guacamole and warm up some tortillas and you have the perfect way to use up leftovers.
Yield: about 3 cups of sauce
- ½ cup red wine
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup dried apricots, roughly diced
- 4 dried red chilis (I had a variety in my pantry, so I used 2 New Mexico Red chilis, 1 pasilla and 1 ancho)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more as needed
- one 14-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
- 2 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, roasted
- ¼ cup whole almonds, roasted
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds, roasted, plus more for serving
- 3 ounces high quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao), roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce (feel free to adjust amount according to your heat preference)
- small handful fresh cilantro leaves for serving
1.Bring the wine to a boil in a small pot, add the raisins and apricots and remove from the heat. Let them soak for at least 10 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, roast the chilis over an open gas flame until fragrant and toasty. Discard the stems and seeds from each chili and roughly chop. Place the chilis in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for at least 10 minutes.
3.Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins, apricots and wine. Drain the chilis, discarding the liquid, and add to the pot. Add the tomatoes, stock, pumpkin seeds, almonds and sesame seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for one hour. Stir in the chocolate, pepper and chipotle. Transfer the mole to a blender and puree until completely smooth (be extremely careful when blending hot liquids). Ideally it’s best to refrigerate the sauce overnight or at least let it sit for a few hours, letting all those flavors get to know each other. Reheat, adding a splash of water if the mixture is too thick, and serve over warm, sliced leftover turkey. Garnish with fresh cilantro and an additional sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds.
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Not your grandpa’s reuben... substitute what would normally be pastrami with leftover turkey and you have a heavenly slice of old New York.
Yield: As many sandwiches as your leftover turkey affords (Dressing yields about ¾ cup)
For each sandwich:
- 1 slice rye bread
- leftover Thanksgiving turkey, sliced as thinly as possible (about 3 ounces)
- about 1-2 tablespoons Easy New York Style Russian Dressing (recipe follows)
- about 2 tablespoons high quality sauerkraut
- a couple of thin slices of Swiss cheese (a good Emmental makes a big difference)
New York Style Russian Dressing:
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons Veganaise (or your favorite mayonnaise)
- 1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon pickle relish
For the sandwich:
1.Preheat the broiler.
2.For each sandwich, pile a bunch of turkey on the rye bread. Drizzle with as much dressing as your dare. Cover with a layer of sauerkraut and then cover with a layer of Swiss cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and a bit browned.
For the dressing:
Mix everything together.
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Check out last year's Thanksgiving newsletter for stuffing, salads, sides, etc.