HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


OK - now I need ideas for leftover turkey

  • b

We made a 12lb turkey for the two of us so needless to say there are a lot of leftovers.

What are the rules for freezing? What are some interesting ways to use turkey? More ethnic/spicy recipes would be ideal. Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Our favorite way to use turkey meat is to make turkey enchiladas...I'll post the recipe link below but with a caution for you to make your own enchilada sauce which takes about 20 minutes or so and is far superior to anything in a can and if you read the ingredients for the canned stuff, it will turn you off... well, the canned stuff where I shop, anyway. I use Emeril's recipe for enchilada sauce but there are tons of good recipes out there.

    Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      I plan to do make-ahead chicken pot pie filling this weekend for freezing (which I would then pop into a shell or put in a casserole and cover with puff pastry). I found an Alton Brown recipe on Food Network's site for Curry Chicken Pot Pie that sounds good, and I'm sure it would work really well for turkey.

    2. "Turkey Hash" is one of my favorite things. Mix together turkey meat, bread stuffing and gravy. Bake until hot and turning crispy on top.

      1. c

        I make stock from the carcass, and then its turkey and andoiulle gumbo.

        1. Well, the remaining half of our 11 lb. turkey went into one of those really big zip lock type bags and out onto the porch table last night. Since it is now 18 F I have frozen turkey with no effort. We will be using the remaining turkey on 12/10 to make turkey mole enchiladas.

          1. turkey mole, and turkey sandwiches made with chipolte mayo

            chipolte mayo:
            start with one canned chipolte chile and a little of the adobo sauce it comes in and blend with commercial mayo. taste, add more adobo, another chipolte, or mayo depending on if you want it spicier or more mild.

            1. It may sound strange, but I love turkey spinach curry (Indian curry, that is). I use the leftover meat to do that, while I make a mullagatawny soup with the carcass. I also make a katchumbar salad and have pressed yogurt and achar on the side, and use cranberry sauce for a chutney-like sweetness.

              1. I usually have massive amounts of leftover turkey, and so I usually make a bunch of different things that are freezeable. Most of the things I make from the leftovers use "pulled" turkey, so I usually go ahead and do that to the rest of the meat.

                1) turkey gumbo
                2) turkey chili
                3) enchiladas, mole
                4) turkey tikkis (kinda like a shami kebab, or potato tikki, or crab cake, or...you get the idea) - serve with a spicy chutney of your choice; makes a good appetizer; makes a good sandwich too
                5) tomato-turkey soup - i like adding a bunch of pulled turkey to a can of tomato soup and i usually add stuff to make it really spicy (thai bird chilis, hot sauce, lots of black pepper)
                6) Thai curries
                7) Turkey salad sandwich or Turkey caesar salad

                1. 1) Enchilada Suisse, substitute turkey for the usual chicken in the recipe

                  2) Chilaquiles, green or red, just add some shredded turkey for the last few minutes to heat through. Garnish with crema (or sour cream thinned with some half and half or milk), (raw) white onion rings and chopped cilantro.

                  3) Turkey tacos

                  4) Turkey curry

                  5) Curried turkey salad, kind of like Waldorf salad, just add curry powder and a little minced onion

                  6) Turkey pot pie

                  7) Turkey Shepard's Pie (also makes use of those left over veggies and gavy, use any left over mash potatoes for the top "crust")

                  8) Turkey Divan

                  9) Turkey Soup

                  10) Turkey Gumbo

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gayla

                    Yes, turkey enchiladas -- especially good with the dark meat.

                  2. Like chilieheadmike, I made a big pot of turkey stock with the carcass. Used half for Yimster's basic jook recipe and the other half will go into the freezer. The jook was great for breakfast this morning with a hard boiled egg and scallions.

                    The leftover meat I combine with mayo, celery, and curry powder and make tea sandwiches.

                    1. I make turkey salad sandwiches with chopped turkey meat, finely chopped celery and onion, salt and pepper, a touch of garlic powder, a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of cashews. Serve on walnut or hazelnut bread.......yummmmmmmm.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pilotgirl210

                        Oops.......forgot to say to add mayo and just a tablespoon or two of sour cream.

                      2. I make Turkey dinner en casserole with the leftovers. Throw EVERYTYHING into a big casserole...turkey, gravy, dressing, peas, corn...top it with oodles of fresh mashed potatoes (unless you have plenty of THOSE leftover too)...dot with butter and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake 350 til bubbly (maybe 20-25 min)......you could spice this up with whatever you like I guess....throw some cumin in the potatoes, some jalapenos...whatever.

                        1. A Stromboli would work pretty well.

                          1. l
                            La Dolce Vita

                            My rule for freezing is this: carve the turkey entirely, and wrap serving-size portions in plastic wrap. Then, put the plastic-wrapped portions in a ziploc bag and freeze it.

                            I freeze all my poultry right away--right after dinner, while I'm putting away leftovers. I don't like the taste of day-old poultry. In the freezer, it keeps very well and doesn't get that day-old taste.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: La Dolce Vita

                              So, what do you use the frozen poultry for? Can you reheat and eat as is? I've never had success because turkey does get that poultry taste.

                              I usually just make frozen tv dinners with leftover stuffing and potatoes. Putting the gravy over the turkey makes it edible when reheated.

                              I tried freezing turkey in a little broth to see if that was any help, but not much better. My experience has been that turkey needs to be frozen with some sort of sauce or as part of a dish like a cassarole.

                              1. re: rworange
                                La Dolce Vita

                                It is true that defrosted turkey does not taste as good as fresh-from-the-oven. However, it is better than two-day old refrigerator turkey.

                                Generally, I use defrosted white-meat turkey in sandwiches with mayo and tomatoes (which provide moisture), in pot pie, or with gravy. I think the defrosted white meat needs sauce of some kind to make it more palatable--even if the turkey has been brined. I've also done a quick turkey noodle soup with frozen chicken stock, celery, carrot, parsley and I add the shredded defrosted turkey to it. Sometimes I add a few matzoh balls. In soup, the defrosted turkey is fine, since the broth provides moisture.

                                I prefer dark meat anyway, and I find that defrosted legs and wings are perfectly edible as-is.

                              2. re: La Dolce Vita

                                I agree about freezing leftover turkey in a timely manner. But I put leftover stuffing in a freezer dish the right size for a future meal, lay boned meat on top of stuffing, and cover all generously with gravy. Put Saran over top, label, then put all in plastic bag, seal with twistem, and freeze. Heat in microwave for dinner on a horrible and very busy day. You will bless yourself. BTW if you have some leftover candied sweet potatoes you can freeze those too, not to mention the cranberry sauce. Leftovers that seem boring and ratty now will be ambrosia after you've spent the entire afternoon taking all the children to the dentist and all the animals to the vet.

                              3. No one has mentioned a Hot Brown. A sliec of toast topped with sliced turkey topped with a cheese mornay sauce broiled until bubbly and browning a bit then top with crisp bacon and eat. If you have a ripe tomato a slice of that is good too.

                                1. Besides turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry suace (tonight!), here is an old family favorite, from the 60s obviously:
                                  I'm paraphrasing because I'm too tired/lazy to go downstairs:
                                  package of Pillsbury crescent rolls
                                  Lots of melted butter and some breadcrumbs
                                  Filling: leftover turkey, chopped up
                                  6 oz Philly cream cheese (the other 2 oz are
                                  great for bagels etc)
                                  some of the melted butter
                                  chopped celery, onion whatever
                                  some poultry seasoning or whatever&parsley
                                  (there must be other stuff but I don't remeber at the moment)
                                  Anyway, put a few spoons of stuffing in the crescent roll, fold it and press the edges with a fork to
                                  close; and dip the whole thing in melted butter and then breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, it's very tasty.
                                  We call them "Chicken Things", I'm sure Kraft or whoever has a real name for them.

                                  1. These two recipes are from the Los Angeles Times, ca.1983-1990. I use at least one of them most years. The dill and sour cream make the first one really good.

                                    1. Melt 2 T. butter in large saucepan and saute 1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms. Stir in 2 c. leftover gravy, 1 c. sour cream, and 1 T. dill. (that's the dried dill--I guess you would use less if you had fresh dill). Mix well, then add 3 c. diced leftover turkey and 1 c. small shell macaroni (already cooked and drained). Salt and pepper to taste (use white pepper if you have it).Turn into 1 1/2 qt. casserole. Saute 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs in butter with a dash of paprika, and top the casserole with that. 375 degrees, 30 minutes.

                                    2. (Another good use for a can of crescent rolls, and this looks pretty, too) Melt 3 T. butter in saucepan, add and saute 1/4 c. chopped onion; stir in 2 T. flour and make a sauce with 1 1/2 c. milk. When it's smooth and thickened, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon curry powder, salt and pepper, 2 c. chopped leftover turkey, and a 10-oz box of frozen chopped broccoli (already cooked and drained). Separate crescent rolls into 8 triangles and stretch each one lengthwise. Arrange them in an ungreased 9-in pie pan with the broad ends in the pan and the narrow ends extending 4 inches over the pan. Press dough completely over the sides and bottom of the pan; pour in the turkey mixture. Bring the tips of the crescent rolls up over the filling to the center. If you happen to have 3 T. slivered almonds, sprinkle them on top. 300 degrees, 25-30 min. or until golden brown.

                                    I don't think I'll do these this year, though. Right now I have the carcass simmering for a quick "gumbo", which I'll serve tonight with buttermilk cornbread!

                                    1. My mom makes khoresh-e fesenjoon, an amazing (though not visually pleasing to the uninitiated) sweet/sour iranian stew. it's made with browned onions, ground walnuts, pomegranate paste and traditionally chicken. i'm linking a recipe below, but haven't tried it. you can also add some shredded carrot, lemon juice or sugar to taste.
                                      and add salt. this recipe has no salt!

                                      Link: http://www.sadaf.com/recipes/Recipe14...

                                      1. Nigella Lawson's book Feast has a recipe for a Vietnamese glass noodle salad in her T-giving leftovers section.

                                        I'll paraphrase: For the dressing, mince a couple cloves garlic, a couple red chillies, and 2 T ginger, mix with 4 T fish sauce, juice from one lime, 4 T water and 2 T superfine sugar

                                        Marinate some turkey strips in 1/2 cup of the dressing. Boil water, turn off heat, then soak noodles in it. Rinse with cold water and drain. Pour boiling water over 1 1/2 c of sugar snaps and 2 c bean sprouts, rinse and drain. Mix turkey with noodles, sugar snaps, bean sprouts, and 3 sliced scallions Top with chopped cilantro. Dress with remaining dressing and 2 t peanut oil, 1 t sesame oil

                                        1. nothing beats a good turkey pot pie.

                                          1. When you get to the absolute last day of serving the turkey left-overs, WHATEVER you make, be sure to call it "turkey surprise."

                                            1. sigh...I often wish I had this problem. It seems as though, in my house, no matter how big the turkey and small the guest list, that there is just enough for sandwiches the next day and stock, some of which is the base for turkey noodle soup....cook the noodles (matzoh balls are also good) separately, and then the soup will still taste good for lunches over the several days...

                                              I didn't host this year, so no turkey leftovers: I found I missed soup so much I went out and bought a chicken just to make some chicken noodle soup...

                                              As for leftover stuffing: I wish! maybe enough to eat with the sandwich the next day, if I'm lucky....