November 26, 2011

Magnificent Leftovers

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I didn’t cook for Thanksgiving.

That probably sounds terrible for a food blogger, but the truth is my husband’s family is ginormous, most of them live nearby, and our house is small. Maybe someday we’ll move to a larger house and host, but for now, we go to a relative who can accomodate all those people.

We make stuffing and it’s nice not having to spend all day in the kitchen, but there’s one big downside–no leftovers!

I LOVE Thanksgiving leftovers! Nothing tastes as good the next day as a turkey sandwich with mayo and a pickle and a piece of apple pie on the side.

Now, a few days before the holiday, my daughter turned 5, so we did have a partial rotisserie chicken left over from a night when I was too busy with party prep and cake baking to cook. So here’s what I made with my leftovers.

Turkey Pockets

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp ShopRite Basting Oil
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cups leftover chicken or turkey, diced
1 cup peas or other veggie, thawed
1 large potato, cubed, or 1 to 1 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
refrigerated crust for biscuits or pizza–I used pizza crust and it took two tubes to make 8 pockets
1 egg, beaten

Cook the onion in the basting oil until soft, then add salt and pepper. Stir in the peas and the potato and cook on low until the potato and peas are soft. Add the turkey, vinegar and garlic powder, stir to combine, and cook until heated through.

Roll out the dough on a cutting board and cut it into large triangles. Place small portions of the turkey mixture in the middle of each triangle and fold edges over. Seal the edges with a fork.

Brush the egg over the pockets and bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes or until pockets are browned and dough is cooked through.

The rest of the chicken (bones, skin, etc) went into a pot for stock. Homemade stock not only saves you money, but it’s my opinion that it’s more flavorful than canned stock. My version uses the crockpot, so the work is minimal.

Crockpot Turkey Stock

carcass from a 3-5 pound turkey or chicken
2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
handful fresh parsley
1/2 green bell pepper
2 stalks celery, broken into pieces
6 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours. Strain into a large bowl when finished and discard the cooked bones and vegetables. When the stock has finished steaming, refrigerate it. Once fat layer has risen to the top and solidified, scoop it off with a spoon and discard it. The stock can be frozen for up to 6 months.

I got about 8 cups of stock from my small bird, you’ll get significantly more from a larger turkey, so you can use more water. Since the vegetables will be ultimately strained out and tossed, don’t worry about peeling them or making them look pretty.

My stock then went into soup, since I had leftover filling from the turkey pockets.

Day After Thanksgiving Soup

leftover filling from turkey pockets
8 cups turkey stock
1 handful stelline pasta, orzo pasta, or other small pasta
rind from Parmesan cheese
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
extra Parmesan cheese, grated, and salad croutons, optional

Combine filling, stock, cheese rind, pasta and beans in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until warmed through and rind has started to soften. Mash beans slightly with a spoon or potato masher and cook until the soup thickens slightly.

Remove the cheese rind. Serve with croutons and grated cheese if desired.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As a POTLUCK<sup>TM</sup> blogger, I received the ShopRite Imported Basting Oil from ShopRite for free.