Turkey Gumbo (or What To Do With Those Leftovers)

Ah, what to do with that leftover bird. I make it a rule to never go out shopping the day after Thanksgiving – instead I hang out at home make this soup for leftovers. Let others shop, I cook.

6 cups chicken or turkey stock
2 cups water
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, peeled & chopped
3 cups diced onion
1 lb. smoked sausage (I use Hillshire Farms)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups cups cooked, chopped cooked turkey meat
1/4 cup gravy from prior turkey meal – (optional, but very good)
1 large Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. pepper
Salt – be careful here, the stock & meat might already be enough salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked bow tie noodles, or 1 cup uncooked rice

For the Roux:
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour

In a large pot bring the the first 6 ingredients to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and let cook for 20-30 minutes. Now add everything else except the noodles, and keep this simmering for another 10 minutes. Add the noodles, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. It will continue to cook as you prepare the roux, below.

Keep the soup at a low simmer while you spoon off 3 cups of clear soup – do this as best you can and set aside. Then into a medium pot melt the butter and add the flour, stirring constantly while it cooks for at least 1 full minute. Slowly add the 3 cups clear soup – just a little at a time – and stir constantly on high heat until it gets thicker and thicker. The goal here is to create a very smooth pastelike roux. Mix this into the soup, while stirring and stir well.


Divorce Court Turkey

Why the odd name?  My better half informed me I may change or update any recipe for anything except this one for our Thanksgiving Meal. If I prepare a turkey for other times I can experiment to my heart’s desire, but as hubby requests, “Please don’t mess with perfection.” And so it is.

1 whole turkey (12-16 pounds) rinsed, innards removed & patted dry
1 package Goya Sazon (or 1 Tbsp. McCormick’s Seasoned Salt)
Dusting – about 2 tsp.of Goya Adobo (or any other brand of adobo)
Dusting – aout 2 tsp. – poultry seasoning
Lots of minced garlic (actually, about 2 really big heaping table spoons)
Dusting of fresh black pepper
Two 14 oz. cans turkey or chicken broth – you may not need both

Begin your prep the night before: use innards for whatever you wish, I don’t add them to my stuffing but that’s a personal preference. Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan and with a very sharp knife, make slits/gashes all over then sprinkle on everything up to the broth. With your hands (I use gloves) rub everything in and around the turkey. Cover loosely with foil and place in fridge overnight.

Next day, thirty minutes before you will be placing bird in the oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees, place oven rack on lowest possible position. Pour1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven, covered, and cook for at least one hour before you begin checking it and basting it all over. Also check the drippings in the pan; if getting low, add water one cup at a time; adding more broth will only make it your gravy salty. You’ll need to check & baste every thirty minutes or so. Trust me on this, if you don’t baste that bird all over on a continuous schedule then you will have a very dry dinner.

Cooking time is approximately 30 minutes per pound, but please check a turkey timetable for exact times. Once completely cooked, you can leave it on the counter for 30-45 minutes while it settles, then you can put the stuffing and whatevers into the oven for heating up.

Enjoy your day!

Turkey Burgers

A delicious alternative to beef. Grill them outdoors, broil them in a conventional oven, or pan-fry. Use your imagination and enjoy them!

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil (I use extra virgin)
1 cup minced onion (or 1/2 cup onion and 1/2 cup diced scallions)
2 lbs. ground turkey breast
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. your favorite ketchup
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Optionally add a dash or two of hot sauce, or cayenne pepper, or you can add almost any of the McCormick’s seasonings – they’ve got lots of them to choose from.

6 whole wheat buns (the whole wheat ones are so much tastier than the white)

Fresh tomato slices, herbed mayo, relish, etc., – whatever fixin’s you want, we like a nice slice of fresh goat cheese or mozzarella cheese.

Over med-high heat, melt the butter and oil. Add the onion and cook about 10 minutes – until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and put it into a large bowl; let it cool off about 15 minutes before you use your hands to mix everything. When it’s cooled down, add all the remaining ingredients up to the buns and mix well, but gently, with your hands. Divide into about 6 patties and grill till done.

Turkey Meatballs

Here is a more healthy version of meatballs than using ground beef. Although I’m with Julia Child in regards to everything in moderation, some folks prefer these over beef. Therefore I am including my delicious version for my readers. Add these to spaghetti sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes, or just eat as is with a vegetable or two on the side.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp. grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 or 2 (your choice) tsp. minced garlic
Sprinkling of black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and take out a pan that’s about 11 x7 – spray with cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, lightly beat the egg then add everything except the meat and mix well. Add the turkey and mix well again then shape into meatballs about the size of walnuts and place in the pan. They will fit nice and tight and that’s okay. Cook for 30-40 minutes, cool.

My Thanksgiving Meal – 2009

Here’s what we’ll be having for our Thanksgiving meal. No soup this year, and the desserts will be simple. But what never changes is the turkey recipe, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in the DVD player and the Christmas music – gotta have it. Good cheer to all!

Divorce Court Turkey – (See Poultry Category)
Mashed potatoes- (See Vegetables Category)
All American Bread Stuffing – (See Holidays & Special Occasions Category)
Corn and broccoli
Cranberry Sauce – (See Sauce Category or use the canned)
Rolls – (Fresh from the bakery section of our local grocer)

Taste of Heaven – (See Desserts Category)
Best Apple Pie – (See Pies Category)

Herb Slathered & Sprinkled Roast Turkey

It’s taken me a while to try this method of gently lifting up the turkey skin on the breast meat and spreading the herbs underneath.  Do try this, you’ll be quite happy with the outcome. A turkey cooks at about 20-30 minutes per pound but please consult a turkey timetable for exact specifications. 

Turkey Pan Ingredients:
10-14 lb. turkey, innards removed & used however you wish
2-3 Carrots, cut into large chunks
2-3 Celery ribs, cut into large chunks (use tops too)
1 Lemon or orange , zested then cut into 6-8 chunks – set aside the zest
1 cup chicken stock or water (you may need more stock later, during cooking)
1  onion, peeled and cut into chunks
2 whole garlic bulbs or heaping Tbsp. of minced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse turkey in cool water and pat dry; place in roasting pan on a rack if possible. Add all the pan ingredients. Now begin the herbed slathering.

Herbed Slathering:
1 cup fresh parsley (please don’t use dried)
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. fresh sage
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1  onion, peeled and cut into chunks
The left over lemon or orange zest from above pan ingredients
1 heaping Tbsp. of minced garlic
3 Tbsp. extra virgin (or just regular) olive oil + more for brushing
A pair of latex or latex-free gloves if you wish – this gets messy!

Place all these ingredients in a food processor or blender then give it a blitz. Put on the gloves if using. Gently lift up the skin of the bird (you may need to separate the skin from the bird with a small, sharp knife) and spread blobs of the slather in. You will probably have some left over, if so then place in and on bird and spread around. Remove the gloves then pour a little bit (maybe 1/4 cup or less) of oil into a small bowl and brush all over the bird.  Now you’re ready for the sprinklings.

Seasoning Sprinklings:
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black or white pepper
Sprinklings of poultry seasoning
Sprinklings of garlic powder
Sprinklings of paprika

Now, cover loosely with aluminum foil and place on the lowest rack of your oven for about an hour before you open the oven door for the first peek. Keep checking the bird at 30 minute intervals because you want to make sure the liquid in the bottom of the pan has not all cooked away – add 1 cup of chicken broth or water at a time into the bottom of the pan to replenish and don’t forget to baste, baste, baste – every 30 minutes or so! If you don’t, you may have a sawdust turkey.

Take the foil off at about 1 hour until estimated done time – it’ll crisp up nicely. Discard/strain all the veggies in the pan if you will be using the drippings for gravy. Once you take the bird out of the oven you can let it sit for a good 30-45 minutes on a cutting board on your counter during which you make the gravy, heat the stuffing, etc. Don’t panic, a turkey can mellow on the counter for a little while awaiting you. Just enjoy the day!