Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jive Turkey

Slate makes the case against Thanksgiving leftover recipes, opining that although turkey is an inferior bird (you never see it on restaurant menus, and it only seems to get consumed outside the holiday in a sandwich or a burger) we are willing to accept it one day a year for reasons of tradition, but should not otherwise let it darken our plates.

I guess that I would counter that the leftovers have become part of that tradition, and maybe that makes up for some gastronomic shortcomings. It also gives us an excuse to eat more gravy, which seems equally worthy of celebration.

Over the last few years, I've developed a simple version of Turkey pot pie, which simply involves layering leftovers in a pie plate (including gravy and cranberry sauce), covering the dish with a pie crust  and baking the mess at 400 for 30 minutes or so. Maybe it's not haute cuisine, but it's pretty tasty, plus it provides a sensory cue to the conviviality of the holiday just past. It's come to be something we look forward to.

Last night, armed with resealable tubs of turkey and vegetarian cornbread stuffing from our Wisconsin holiday, I made a bottom crust by combining the stuffing and melted butter, and pressing it into the dish. I sauteed some carrots and onions in butter, and added them to the dish, along with some of the leftover turkey, which I had shredded and diced. I then made some gravy with butter, flour, white wine, chicken stock and a handful of thyme from the herb garden, pouring a little into the dish and saving the rest to ladle on top of the finished product. I covered the leftovers with a pie crust, cut a couple of slits for venting, and slid it into the oven. I made a salad while it was baking (as well as a hot dog and a veggie dog for the Gs), and voila. You can tell me all you want how turkey is inferior, but you can't wipe the smile from my face as I was finishing the pie for breakfast this morning.

No more turkey hash, turkey tetrazzini, turkey a la king.

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