By Dave DeWitt
Two areas of holiday cooking that are often overlooked are spicy turkey stuffing and what to do with that leftover turkey. Here are my ideas on the subject—and I have a lot of practice with such things as Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I also like Christmas feasts. Remember that excess stuffing that won't fit in the bird can be baked in a glass baking dish.
Green Chile-Cornbread-Piñon Stuffing
This recipe appeared in my very first cookbook that I wrote with Nancy Gerlach, The Fiery Cuisines, in 1984. I still make it whenever I roast a turkey.
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 pound butter
1 cup chopped roasted and peeled New Mexican green chile
1 cup finely chopped celery
6 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread
1 cup whole piñon nuts
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 or more cups chicken broth
Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion until it's soft, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the broth and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add enough broth to moisten, but not saturate, the mixture. Mix the stuffing again. Stuff the bird and roast as you usually do.
Yield: About 8 cups
Heat Scale: Medium
Really Wild Rice Stuffing
This recipe makes enough stuffing for a small turkey. Or a Guinea hen. Or a large capon. Or two small chickens. Or about 15 or more game hens.
3 cups water
1 cup wild rice
2 cups long grain white rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped onions
6 sun-dried tomatoes chopped
2 teaspoons cayenne powder
1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
In a sauce pan, cover the wild rice with 1-1/3 cups boiling water, return to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until tender. It is not necessary to drain the rice thoroughly, but drain off any excess water.
Sauté the white rice in the oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Bring the broth to a boil, add the white rice, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not drain.
Add the wild rice, onions, tomatoes, cayenne, and sage to the rice and mix well. Spoon the mixture loosely into the turkey cavities. Roast as you would any stuffed turkey.
Yield: About 6 cups
Heat Scale: Medium
Basic Turkey Stock
Here's what to do with that sad-looking turkey carcass that keeps staring you in the face after you've de-fleshed it. You can do the same thing with chicken parts, trimmings, and carcasses. It's a classic stock from the French school, and may be reduced further to intensify the flavor. It freezes very well. If you’ve been buying bullion in cubes or cans, do yourself a favor, reduce the sodium content, and make this stock from scratch. Breaking the turkey bones releases marrow and adds flavor. It is not hot and spicy in this form, but you can add chile powder or a hot sauce to taste if you wish.
1 turkey carcass and any trimmings
2 gallons water
1/2 tablespoon salt
4 whole bay leaves
1 medium onion, cut in half
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley, washed
1 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
1 large carrot, cut in half
1 celery stalk, including leaves
In a large stockpot, combine the water, salt, bay leaves, onion, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, carrot, and celery and bring to a roiling boil. Add the turkey carcass and boil, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, adding more water to keep the carcass covered. Skim off any foam that rises.
Remove the carcass and strain the stock and reserve. For a clearer stock, line the strainer with cheesecloth. Chill the stock in the freezer until the fat congeals and remove it with a spoon.
Yield: About 1 1/2 gallons
Fiery Cream of Turkey-Mushroom Soup
Here's a great use for that turkey stock. You can substitute any other vegetables you like for these.
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 onions, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
6 cups turkey broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups half and half, heated
1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey meat
1 1/2 cups cooked and chopped button mushrooms
Habanero hot sauce to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a saucepan, saute the carrot, onion, and celery in the butter until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the broth gradually, stirring until slightly thickened and smooth. Add the bay leaf, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, then remove the leaf.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Yield: 4 or more servings
Heat Scale: Varies
Quick Turkey Ranch-Chipotle Panini
These sandwiches are best prepared in a panini grill, but a close approximation of them can be made by toasting the bread first and them lightly sauteing the prepared sandwiches in a large frying pan by weighing them down with something small and heavy, like small plate with 2 pounds of beans in bags on it.
1 cup prepared ranch salad dressing (or substitute Caesar)
1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce or hot salsa
8 slices focaccia or other rustic bread
4 slices roasted or smoked turkey breast
8 fresh tomato slices
8 slices crispy fried or microwaved bacon
2 large but thin slices Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup melted butter or olive oil
In a small bowl, combine the dressing and hot sauce and stir well. Set aside at room temperature.
Make the sandwiches by spreading the dressing-hot sauce mixture over the bread slices. Then lay on to 4 of the slices the turkey, tomato, bacon, and cheese. Top these with the 4 other bread slices, brush each sandwich side lightly with butter or olive oil, and toast the sandwiches in the panini grill one-by-one until they are browned.
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Heat Scale: Medium
Smoked Turkey Stacked Enchiladas
with Oaxacan Mole Sauce
Now it's time to use up that smoked turkey breast, and what better way than to make enchiladas with mole sauce? These are stacked enchiladas, which are more commonly served in New Mexico. In fact, there are a number of sauces that can be used in this recipe, including New Mexican Red or Green Chile sauces. Prepared Oaxacan black mole sauce is available online from Zingermans.com.
12 corn tortillas (yellow or blue corn)
Vegetable oil for frying
2 to 3 cups shredded smoked or roasted turkey
2 cups grated cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican cheese of choice 1 medium onion, chopped
About 2 cups prepared Mole Negro Oaxaqueño
Thinly sliced radishes and finely cut cabbage for garnish
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Fry the tortillas lightlyin a little oil in a skillet using tongs until they are just softened, then drain them on paper towels. Place one tortilla on each of four ovenproof plates. Spread the turkey over each tortilla, add some cheese, and onion, and a small amount of the black mole sauce of choice.
Continue the process until the tortillas are stacked three high on each plate. Top the final enchilada in the following manner. Ladle more sauce over the tortilla stack until it is puddled up as deep as it will stand around the base of the stack. Cover the enchiladas lightly with grated cheese and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium