Create: Turkey Reimagined


Reimagine what to do with your leftover turkey in these four clever, delicious dishes.

Photography by Janet Warlick :: Food Styled by Muriel H. Wilkins


For many years, my Thanksgiving tradition was to get the November issue of Gourmet Magazine and pick out new recipes to add to our holiday meals. My collection of Gourmet goes back to 1988, and, looking through them, it’s apparent that our ideas of food have evolved over the last 27 years. For example, the magazine did not have a recipe category for “vegetarian” in 1988; vegetables were included in “Side Dishes.” In 2009, “Vegetarian Dishes” was a menu category with more than 20 recipes.

I started my research for this month’s leftover turkey recipes by perusing both those old magazines and 20th-century cookbooks and by remembering traditional recipes, like turkey tetrazzini and turkey divan. I ended up with some wonderful, reimagined combinations for your leftover turkey.

The ginger in the Turkey Curry gives it zing and using puff pastry in the Turkey Pot Pie makes it very simple. Happy Holidays and happy turkey reimagined!

Turkey Curry

(Photo at top)

This Westernized curry sauce, which is not particularly Indian, comes together quickly and easily. Delicious, versatile and unusual, dinner will be ready in 20 to 30 minutes. If you don’t have mango chutney, you can substitute apricot jam and a tablespoon of lemon juice. You can also serve it cold as a salad over lettuce instead of rice. This recipe works equally well with roasted chicken.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tart green apple, cored and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons mango chutney
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped roasted turkey
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup roasted cashews, to serve
  • Steamed rice, to serve

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic; sauté until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the apple, curry powder and cumin, then the flour and sauté for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the broth. Add the cider, chutney and cilantro. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Add the turkey; stir until heated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and taste; adjust salt to taste. Serve over rice, garnished with cashews and a snip of cilantro.

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Variation: Serve cold, over butter lettuce or spring greens, and add ½ cup chopped celery.

Skillet Turkey Pot Pie

With no crust to roll out, this classic comfort food dinner comes together easily, as it uses leftover turkey and is guaranteed to elicit both “oohs” and “yums.”

  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 3 large kale leaves, center stems removed, leaves chopped or torn
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups butternut squash, about 1 small squash, ½-inch pieces, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups roasted turkey, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees. Heat oil in an 8-inch cast-iron or heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and softened, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic and sage to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add kale, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing often, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes, adding a spoonful of broth — if mixture gets too dry. Stir in broth, one half-cupful at a time, then add squash. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is just softened and broth is thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add turkey to skillet, stir, and season with salt and pepper. Unfold pastry and smooth any creases; place over skillet, allowing corners to hang over sides. Cut four, 1-inch slits in top to vent.

Bake potpie at 425 until pastry begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Cook’s Note: Butternut squash can be annoying to peel and chop. If you prefer, you can halve the squash and roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then peel the flesh from the skin and cut into small pieces. Add the squash to the skillet at the same time as the turkey and proceed as directed.



Turkey Salad with Wild Rice and Mango

Wild rice and brown rice make a nice combination here. I used about half wild and half brown when I tested the recipe. Cook each separately, according to package directions and combine while still warm. You will want about ½ cup orange juice; use additional oranges if necessary.

  • 3 cups roasted turkey, cubed
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice & brown rice combination
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 large navel orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 mango, pitted and cubed
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 4 cups baby spring greens

After the rice has cooled, toss all ingredients, including the orange zest and juice, together. Taste, and add a pinch of salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Kitchen Note: Mangos have large, thin, oblong pits, which can be confusing to remove. Do not peel first. If you do not have a mango pitter, first, cut off the two sides of the fruit from the pit. Remove the fruit from the peel by making a checkerboard pattern in the flesh with a sharp knife. Turn the peel and flesh inside out, then cut the fruit off the peel into chunks. You can also use frozen mango that has been thawed.


Turkey Hash

This is the most requested use of leftover turkey at our house. It is not fancy, but it is good. If you have more or less turkey than the recipe calls for, use roughly equal amounts of leftover roast turkey and russet potatoes, about 1 potato for each 2 cups of chopped turkey.

  •  4 cups leftover roast turkey
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1 small shallot or yellow onion
  • 2 to 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 cup (or more) V-8 vegetable juice, regular or spicy
  • ½ teaspoon each oregano, cumin and chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Scrub, but do not peel the potatoes. Dice turkey, potatoes, shallot/onion, celery and peppers, into a small-to-fine dice, keeping ingredients separate until ready to cook.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Sauté the onion/ shallot over medium heat until soft. Add and toss the potatoes to coat with oil. Sauté the potatoes until they are soft and well-browned. Turn the heat to high, and add the celery, peppers, herbs, spices and turkey, stirring quickly to sear for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the V-8 and mix well, allowing the juice to heat. Use enough to cover the bottom layer of the hash, but do not drown it. The turkey and potatoes should absorb the liquid. When the V-8 heats and begins to steam, cover the pan tightly and turn the fire to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Feel free to add more liquid in small amounts until you get the consistency you want. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Cook’s Note: Taste before adding salt as V-8 is salted. Try the spicy variety of V-8 for lively flavor.

Submitted by Barry Goldberg, Little Rock, Arkansas

Questions? Reach Faith via email at

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