First of all, if you followed my earlier advice, you stripped as much meat off the turkey carcass as you could following your big meal. Take all the trimmings, the neck bones and the carcass and put it in a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover and put on low heat for three or four hours. An even better option is to put the whole thing, including water, in a slow cooker and allow it to cook on low overnight.
When it’s done, let it cool down, strain and put in storage containers, some for freezing and some to use during the next week. Usually, I tell you to not worry about recovering the meat, since most of the flavor will have been given up to the stock. But in this case, you should separate out the turkey meat from the rest of the stuff in the strainer and see if it’s okay. What I mean by that is make sure it still has some flavor and the texture isn’t chewy. If it is bland and the texture unappealing, throw it away. But otherwise set it aside to make turkey soup or other dishes.
Turkey Soup. By now, your stock pot should be clean and ready to go, so add in about half turkey stock and half water. Put it on medium-high heat. Add turkey meat, carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, tomatoes and whatever other vegetables you have available, cooked or raw. Bring the whole thing up to a boil, then cover and lower the heat to a bare simmer. Allow to cook for two hours, tasting for seasoning. You can add whatever you like in your soup. Pasta, egg noodles or rice are also good additions. Don’t be afraid to add a little kick to the broth with roasted peppers or cayenne.
Turkey and Dumplings. Take the above pot of soup and make a biscuit dough using baking mix or flour, baking powder, salt and milk. Bring the soup up to a vigorous simmer and place spoon-size lumps of dough on to the top of the broth. Cover and let cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also thicken the soup with a flour or corn starch slurry or use instant mashed potato flakes.
Turkey with Biscuits or Pot Pie. What you want to make here is a turkey filling that’s a bit thicker than soup. In a medium saucepan (2-3 qt.), heat chicken or turkey broth or stock, a chopped medium onion, and a chopped stalk of celery. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about five minutes. In a bowl, mix together a cup of milk with 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir this into the saucepan and cook until it’s thick and bubbling. Add 1-1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots and cook until it’s hot enough to bubble. Stir in turkey, 1/2 teaspoon dried sage, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and then transfer to a greased casserole. For a pot pie, top with a refrigerated pie crust or puff pastry. For turkey with biscuits, mix up one heaping cup of baking mix with 1/2 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons dried parsley. Be careful not to overmix, just bring the ingredients together into a loose dough. Spoon mounds of dough on top of the turkey mixture and bake uncovered in a 425° oven for 20 to 25 minutes until biscuits on top are golden brown. Leave space or vents for steam to escape.
There are lots of other recipes available. You can use turkey just about anywhere you’d use chicken: pizza, pasta, stir fry and more. Just grab one of your favorite recipes in The Bachelor’s Kitchen and adapt it to using turkey. You’ll use up those leftover in no time.