Posted by: A Part of the Solution | November 29, 2010

Voici Les Leftovaires!

‘Tis the season to figure out, and that quickly, what on earth to do with all those rich, charming goodies in the fridge (too bad we aren’t all afflicted with too many rich, charming relatives–but this is real life). Different strategies, different approaches, different volumes of what remains: every family has its post-Tday traditions. This is some of what I know.

The Bird: It begins with sandwiches. Then there’s a turkey stew. Or turkey tetrazini (cream sauce, noodles, broccoli florets–or in my case the Brussels sprouts in cream sauce + noodles + turkey + extra broccoli), or turkey soup. If you’re very ambitious and not all cooked-out, create a stunning turkey mole (make the mole sauce from Vegetarian Epicure III) which would make splendid tacos, or is absolutely fine over plain rice. There’s turkey soup with dumplings made of mashed potatoes mixed with leftover stuffing and baked in small balls very hot in the oven. You can also do a turkey stir-fry (this is a good place to put the remaining crudités veggies to work). Leftover cucumber transforms into Thai cucumber salad–the perfect accompaniment for the stir fry. Turkey with carrots, onions, celery, leftover gravy and leftover green veggies topped with mashed potatoes is Shepherdy Pie.

The Ham: As above, it begins with sandwiches. And yes, it’s delicious in a black bean stew. And delightful simmered (sliced) in barbecue sauce. And it makes rockin’ oven baked croquettes when dumped in the food processor with mustard, an egg or so and some of the leftover mashed potatoes. Turn stale rolls into bread crumbs for the crispy coating–if your heart so desires. Ham gives great flavor to any kind of meat loaf–so add some to your next version. Ham is also special over a green salad, or slow cooked with the greens. It’s also a must have for a good morning omlette.  And once you’re close to the bone, you’re in the split pea soup/navy bean soup zone.

Cranberry Sauce: Not only is it a great relish on those sandwiches you’re making, it’s a fine topping for hot cereals in the morning, cottage cheese at lunch and ice cream for dessert. As well, you can swirl a healthy dollop or three across the top of your next coffee cake, before adding the streusel topping. Mmmm-mm. Puree it and it’s a dream in thumbprint cookies, especially those with a nut base like walnut or hazelnut. It keeps forever and freezes well, so don’t feel like you have to conquer this one all at once.

Mashed Potatoes: Besides the suggestions above, there are basics like potato patties where you make a size you like and sauté in a little fat until it’s crispy and brown, then turn it and do the other side. However, you can fancy this up into Colcannon, the Irish staple, by adding chopped leftover greens (kale and collards and mustard greens work best here) and an egg or so if you desire and then cooking as for the patties. Don’t forget the hot sauce! You can make a simple vichyssoise by sautéing some leeks then stirring in the potatoes and some stock or water or milk. Add any of the leftover cooked veggies, processed down and stirred in to your mashed potatoes and you’ll have a croquette in the making. Bake’em hot and serve them with plenty of ketchup or leftover gravy.

With the turkey carcass and leftover crudités, you can make a nice stock. Don’t forget to add alliums for oomph (onions, leeks, shallots, garlic–whatever you’ve got).


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