Solving the leftovers dilemma

By Hattie Klotz

We all know how to make soup and sandwiches, but here are three ideas to create something elegant out of all that leftover fowl

Steve Mitton at Murray Street Kitchen

Steve Mitton at Murray Street Kitchen (Photo: Brigitte Bouvier)

There’s no need to sigh with despair at the prospect of leftover turkey. While it’s true that you’ll be eating it for days, if not weeks after the big day, there are plenty of interesting ways to prepare the big bird after you’ve done your initial roast.

To get some fresh spins on the classic challenge, we asked three of Ottawa’s finest chefs how to stretch that bird for miles, making it a cheap and chic eat. And we confirmed our premise that there’s more to leftover turkey than simple soup, good as that may be. Perhaps these recipes will make leftovers so mouth-watering you’ll be inviting friends over for another celebration.

A common thread with turkey is nostalgia. It’s family fare, something your mother and grand- mother used to prepare. It can make you feel warm, fuzzy and friendly towards relatives you otherwise don’t speak to. It will certainly make you sleepy.

For Matthew Carmichael, executive chef at Sidedoor and Social restaurants in the ByWard Market, turkey is entirely versatile. At Social, he might offer a classic Turkey à la King, upping the sophistication by using a variety of exotic mush- rooms rather than the traditional button variety and serving it on chi-chi brioche toast. “It’s very nostalgic for me as this is something that my grandmother and mother used to make. It’s easy to make and good stick-to-your-ribs kind of fare, but so, so good, too,” says Carmichael.

Over at Sidedoor, where the influence in the kitchen is more Asian, Carmichael suggests an Asian turkey lettuce cup for a unique way to use up leftovers. A quick stir-fry with Asian flavours maintains the moisture of the turkey without drying it out by reheating it. “I first had this at
Photographs By Brigitte Bouvier

Coda in Melbourne where it was prepared with chicken,” he said, and then suggested a spin in which you dice your turkey, add oil, juices from ginger, mushrooms, sausage and your leftover dressing for “a really moist dish.”

Some of the more exotic ingredients in his recipe, which follows, such as Chinese sausage, black vinegar and kecap manis, can be found at ManPhong grocery store on Somerset Street.

For Steve Mitton, chef-owner of Murray Street Kitchen, turkey brings back all sorts of memories of his mother’s kitchen. “She used to make a great turkey casserole and I also remember the turkey sandwiches. I still love coming home to turkey leftovers,” says Mitton. “I’ve combined the two to make a casserole sandwich.

“First, I make a bread pudding out of the left- over stuffing and then a turkey mousse using turkey stock made from the carcass, gravy, eggs and the meat picked off the bones before making stock.”

Mitton’s creation can be served as an hors d’oeuvre with a slice of herby bread pudding as the base, topped with a slice of creamy pan-fried turkey mousse and a dollop of cranberry, or as a more substantial first course, treating the bread pudding like a scone and sandwiching the turkey mousse between two slices, served with cranberry sauce and some greens on the side.

At Farb’s Kitchen and Wine Bar, chef-owner Michael Farber suggests using turkey to make an easy, but delicious dinner to please children and one that can be used as a canapé at cocktail parties, too. Turkey nuggets are a crowd-pleaser. Make them tiny, elegant and bite-sized for canapés and a little more substantial in size for children’s dinner.

For Farber, turkey brings back fond memories of picking the meat off the bones for a couple of hours at lunchtime with his mother on the bird’s final day. It also stirs memories of his first professionally catered party.

“About 12 years ago, with my friends Shawn and Frem, we created the fabled turducken for a Super Bowl party. (A turducken is a deboned chicken, stuffed inside a deboned duck, stuffed inside a deboned turkey.) It was crazy — three completely deboned birds, with three different stuffings and then trussed back together into the proper turkey shape. Even the drumsticks were deboned. It was a thing of beauty,” recalls Farber. “But Frem’s oven was never quite the same. It took 22 hours to cook and was enjoyed by 30 people.”

None of these recipes will take 22 hours to cook. That’s the beauty of turkey leftovers—they don’t require much cooking the second time around.

Steve Mitton at Murray Street Kitchen

Steve Mitton at Murray Street Kitchen (Photo: Brigitte Bouvier)

Casserole Sandwich

Steve Mitton at Murray Street Kitchen
Serves 4

For the turkey loaf:

  • 3 cups (750 mL) leftover turkey meat
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) turkey stock or water
  • 3 whole eggs

1. In a food processor, whiz turkey until roughly chopped, add stock to moisten, then eggs; process to a smooth paste.
2. Roll into a log about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Wrap with plastic wrap, tie ends. Poach for 18 to 25 minutes in a medium simmering water bath.

For the bread pudding:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) turkey seasoning (a mixture of dried sage, oregano, thyme, savory, salt and pepper)
  • 31⁄2 cups (1 kg) leftover stuffing

1. Whisk eggs. Add milk and seasoning.
2. Crumble in leftover stuffing and mix thoroughly.
3. Press into a lined 4- x 6-inch loaf pan or baking dish.
4. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
5. To serve, slice bread pudding into desired shapes. Slice similarly sized rounds of turkey loaf and pan-fry quickly in a slick of butter for 1 minute or until warm. Place on top of bread pudding slices and dress with cranberry sauce. >>

Matthew Carmichael at Sidedoor

Matthew Carmichael at Sidedoor (Photo: Dyanne Wilson)

Sian Turkey Lettuce Cup

Matthew Carmichael at Sidedoor
Serves 4

For the filling:

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One 2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) canola oil
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 Chinese sausage, sliced*
  • 2 cups (500 mL) chopped turkey meat
  • Large lettuce leaves (iceberg, Boston, little gem)

For the black vinegar dressing:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) black vinegar*
  • 1 cup (250 mL) light soy sauce
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)*
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chili oil* Available at ManPhong grocery on Somerset Street.

1. Mix all black vinegar dressing ingredients together in a bowl; set aside.
2. In a wok, fry chopped garlic, ginger and chili
in canola oil. Add shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry 1 minute, adding more oil if needed. Add sausage and green onion, toss quickly.
3. Add chopped turkey and stir-fry another 20 seconds, then add black vinegar dressing to deglaze the wok.
4. To serve, peel away 4 lettuce leaves. Either use them to line a bowl forming a natural cup, or serve them alongside your stir-fry so guests can spoon the mixture into the lettuce leaves to eat. Serve immediately.

Michael Farber at Farb’s Kitchen and Wine Bar

Michael Farber at Farb’s Kitchen and Wine Bar (Photo: Brigitte Bouvier)

Turkey Nuggets

Michael Farber at Farb’s Kitchen and Wine Bar

  • 3 cups (750 mL) leftover turkey1 cup (250 mL) leftover stuffing
  • 2 tablespoons (25 mL) butter
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) water
  • 1 cup (250 mL) flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups (750 mL) vegetable oil

1. Take your leftover meat off the bone, add leftover stuffing and combine with the but- ter in a food processor.
2. Blitz the mixture until somewhat smooth. 3. Form into nugget shapes.
4. Whisk the egg and add a splash of water.
Put it in one bowl, flour in another bowl and panko in a third bowl. Dip each nugget first into the flour, then the egg wash mix- ture, and finally into the Panko crumbs. Set the nuggets on a plate.
5. To cook, fry until golden in oil heated to 325°F (160°C).

For the barbecue dipping sauce
Makes 4 cups

  • 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece peeled gingerroot, finely diced 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1⁄4cup (50 mL) dark soy sauce
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) pineapple juice 2 1⁄2cups (625 mL) ketchup
  • 1⁄4 cup (50 mL) espresso coffee

1. Combine ingredients and mix well. Serve as a dipping sauce for turkey nuggets.


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