Archives for posts with tag: leftover turkey
Painting of turkey, noodles and ingredients.

Turkey and Noodles. 12″ x 12″ gouache and watercolor pencil. Sharyn Dimmick.

My Grandma Carroll, who contributed the rolls to so many of our holiday dinners, was famous for her chicken and noodles — it was probably the best dish she made and the one everybody wanted the recipe for — but she didn’t want anyone to best her at her star food. When my mother asked her how she made them, she said, “Oh, you just take an egg and a cup of flour.” She neglected to mention the other two eggs or extra egg yolks she always added. So Mom went home and made them and they were impossibly dry.

The next time we went over to Grandma’s house, my Mom said, “Mother, do you only put one egg in your noodles?”

Grandma turned her head to the side and started giggling.

“Well, if you have another egg…,” she said.

My mother finally figured out that the correct ratio was three eggs to one cup of flour, or an egg and as many extra egg yolks as you had from some other cooking project.

You add the flour (seasoned with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of paprika) to your eggs or egg and yolks and knead it for awhile until it is spongy. Then you roll it out as thinly as possible on a floured cloth.

Now you have a choice. You can cut your noodles and have them “soft,” or you can let the rolled out sheet of dough dry out for a day, depending on how much advance planning you have done. Our family prefers noodles that have dried for a day — that’s what Grandma made.

I watched Mom make these yesterday. She cut the dough in half before she rolled it out, so, one cup of flour and three eggs make two sheets of noodles. Then she set them on a tea towel to dry with a sheet of paper over them. Several hours later she replaced the paper with another tea towel. Grandma used to hang sheets of noodles over the top of her swinging door and I have seen Mom hang them in ingenious ways in the past, but she doesn’t do that anymore — now she dries them flat (If you hang your noodles they may dry better because they’ll get better air circulation). This time we let them dry overnight.

Whenever you cut them, roll each sheet of dough up like a jelly roll and cut them in thin strips: remember that noodles expand in the broth that you cook them in, so cut them thin.

Grandma most often made chicken and noodles cooked in chicken stock: she would cook a chicken in water, bones and all, remove the chicken, take some of the meat off the bones, boil down the cooking stock and cook her noodles in it. But if she had turkey leftovers, she would boil up the turkey carcass, neck and giblets for stock, reserving some turkey meat, and cook her noodles in that. When we make stock, we add in ends of carrots and celery for extra flavor. We strain the stock and remove some of the fat.

Mom says it is important to leave some fat in the stock so that you will not have a flat flavor. I say you have to have some salt in the stock to avoid the same flat flavor — if the noodles taste flat I either add salt at the table, or eat them with Tabasco sauce. Mom says that Grandma also added some butter to her stock before adding the noodles. For best results, heat the strained stock to a full rolling boil, drop noodles into it a few at a time and cook the noodles in the turkey (or chicken) stock until they are soft (from fifteen minutes to half an hour. At this point, season with salt and pepper to taste, add 1 Tbsp of butter and then add your reserved meat until it is just heated through in the noodles.

These noodles improve over the next few days: you might consider them to be second generation leftovers.

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Painting shows ingredients for turkey-apple stew, plus a border collie.

Turkey-Apple Stew. 12″ x 12″ gouache and watercolor pencil. Sharyn Dimmick

The day after Thanksgiving we are happy campers: we camp in our house. We have leftover rolls. We have leftover pie. We have leftover roast turkey, cranberry sauce and a few extra baked yams. Sometimes we have mashed potatoes and brown turkey gravy. When we get hungry, we grab a roll, heat up a slice of pie, filch some sliced  turkey off the platter. But when we get tired of grazing, sometime in the next day or two I make turkey-apple stew, employing leftover turkey, gravy and stock, with the additions of carrots, apple cider and fresh apples. I have to keep an eye on the gravy supply and make sure I make the stew before my brother feeds the gravy to Ozzy, the border collie. We make a rich, dark brown gravy from the drippings in the roasting pan, flour and water, and Ozzy loves to come for Thanksgiving.

What I use to make the stew is mostly dark meat. I strip it from the thighs and drumsticks, throwing the bones and sinews into the stock we started Thanksgiving day with the giblets, odd pieces of celery, any unwanted skin. Eventually, we will strip the entire carcass and throw it in our biggest pot for stock. We will probably make turkey and noodles with that, but stew comes first in the post-Thanksgiving rotation.

I begin by slicing apples and cutting carrots into batons. I use four apples and three carrots, usually, but you can adapt this to your own tastes. I don’t peel the apples. Because my Mom does not like eating pieces of onion, I will cook a small, peeled onion whole in the stew and remove it before serving. If you like pieces of onion, go ahead and add a cut -up onion or two to your stew.

Saute 3 carrots, cut into batons and

4 sliced apples (and optional onions) in a few Tbsp of olive oil and butter.

Sprinkle vegetables with dried thyme (stripped from five or six stalks)

When vegetables begin to brown,

Add some turkey stock and 1 cup or so of apple cider (I saute the vegetables in a standard skillet and add stock and cider until it is full). If you want it more savory, use more stock and less cider. For a sweeter stew, reverse the ratio.

While vegetables simmer, strip your turkey and cut it into pieces you can put in your mouth.

Put turkey pieces in your pot of leftover gravy (If you don’t have leftover gravy, you’re screwed as far as this recipe goes unless you can scrounge up some brown drippings and make some more. In a pinch, you can thicken stock  with flour, but it will be a pale imitation of the real thing).

Heat the turkey in the gravy, as you would for hot turkey sandwiches. When vegetables are tender, add vegetables to turkey and gravy. Taste and season. I like to add Tabasco at this point — just a little. You might prefer salt and pepper. Nutmeg is a nice addition, too, and I can imagine that ginger might be good. The original recipe (published years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle’s magazine) calls for adding cream. Sometimes I throw in just a splash of half and half to round it out, but it is not strictly necessary.

I have served this plain in a bowl to eat with leftover rolls. I have served it over rice. I have served it over soft polenta. You could even eat it over mashed potatoes.

Food notes: You can, of course, make this stew with white meat if that floats your boat. For goodness’ sake, please don’t make it with cream gravy — even gravy mix is better than that. In our house when the gravy supply is low, we extend it with brown fluids: coffee has been used, or Kitchen Bouquet, or meat drippings from some other meal.

You can gussy this up by adding cream or half and half to your taste. If I have brandy, cognac, applejack or hard cider I’ll toss a jigger in with the apple cider and stock. If your sauce is thinner than you like, you can make a quick roux of flour and butter to thicken it — we usually reduce our gravy to save it so mine doesn’t need any additional thickening. If you have parsley on hand, chop some finely for a beautiful and flavorful garnish. If you want to be the next Martha Stewart, carve some crab apples into fancy faces, roast them and garnish with that. Don’t tell Martha I said that.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! See you next week.