Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Every year we sit down and give thanks for all that is good in our lives. I am particularly thankful for many things this year: that my parents and Larry's are with us this year, and in relatively good health. The same goes for our respective siblings and their families. Larry and I are both thankful that our daughter Elinor has graduated from college and is striking out on her own in Denver. (Although we would be more thankful if she was in New York - but finding her own voice and path are important.)

I was thinking in this week's post it would be fun to come up with a couple of  ideas for your leftovers this weekend. Bear in mind that you should really try to use up your leftovers within 3 or 4 days. After that you run the risk of your food developing bacteria and making you sick. (We don't want that!)

I'm starting with three leftover ingredients: turkey (of course!), acorn squash and my sweet potato's from last week.  


Let's first talk about the binder I will be using: it's a Velouté Sauce. Velouté is one of the five Mother Sauces. It's made with a vegetable, chicken or beef stock and thickened using butter and flour. "Velouté" translated means "velvety" which is your goal with this sauce.

First up is my Tex-Mex Pot Pie. I have a recipe for this below as well, but you can add whatever ingredients you have on hand. (Use my list as a guideline for quantities.) Since I am using the sweet potatoes I created last week I wanted to use ingredients that would work with the base chipotle flavor.

First I sautéed the red onion and bell pepper; then added the black beans. At the last minute I remembered I had some frozen corn and added that too. Once the beans and corn were warmed up I tossed in the turkey, stock and chili powder. Tasted for seasoning and was quite happy. Before I go any further let me say that this concoction can be easily used in a warm corn tortilla and topped with a little salsa and cheese too.


After I placed the filling in an oven-proof ramekin I got to work on my topping. I simply placed the potatoes in the bowl of my mixer and whipped them with a little Fat Free Half and Half. No fuss!

Then pipe the potatoes over the filling and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Every part of this works in unison - needless to say I was very happy when I dug into it!

My second idea is a play on Turkey Tetrazzini. After doing a little research on this dish I found a few fun facts about how the dish was created. The dish is named after an opera singer from the turn of the century named Luisa TetrazziniIt seems that a chef in San Francisco created and named the dish after her. I could not find definitive  information that the story was true, but I did enjoy reading a little about her.

With tetrazzini in mind I decided to go the vegetable route for this dish. (You can find any number of recipes on line and in cookbooks for the turkey version.) I used acorn squash, but this would work perfectly with any squash or even a vegetable like green beans or broccoli. The other ingredient of note is a relatively new Barilla pasta product called Barilla Plus. It's a multigrain pasta that has great flavor; unlike whole grain pastas that, in my opinion, taste like cardboard. The flavor of this is subtle enough that your family won't even know you are using it - and it ends up being a great option with it's legume/grain blend of flax seed, oats, barley, lentils and chickpeas. With it's "hint of nutty flavor" it works beautifully with this dish.

I added vidalia onion to the roux to give the sauce more flavor. In addition, the sauce is slightly thinner because you are going to finish cooking the pasta in it, and then it will thicken it up. The squash get's mixed in at the end and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley.

I hope you enjoy these leftover Thanksgiving recipes, and please consider passing along any others you have for me. It's always great to hear what people come up with from their table.

I wish you all a peaceful Thanksgiving filled with fun, family and good food!

Buon Appetito!

Velouté Sauce
Makes 2 cups

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock, ½ cup at a time incorporating after each addition to keep it  smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 

Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and serve. If not using right away place in a bowl and cover with a layer of plastic wrap (don't worry, it won't melt!) to keep a skin from forming. Cool completely and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

Leftover Turkey Tex-Mex Pot Pies 
Makes 4 - 8 ounce ramekins

1/2 cup red onion, 1/4" dice
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, 1/4" dice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 cups chopped cooked turkey, or chicken
1 cup room temperature veloute sauce (recipe above)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese (I like Sargento Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Mexican)

2 1/2 cups leftover sweet potato chunks
1/4 cup Fat Free Half and Half 
Toasted pepitas for garnish

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic over medium heat with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook until golden brown. Stir in the beans, corn, turkey and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the veloute sauce and chili powder combining well. Add in the cilantro and divide evenly between 4 - 8 ounce oven proof ramekins. Top with 2 tablespoons each of cheese and set aside. 

Place the sweet potatoes in the bowl of a standing mixer with the cream. Whip for 2 minutes on medium speed to get them soft and fluffy. Scrap out and into a pastry bag or a 1 quart zip lock bag and cut off a corner. 

Pipe the potatoes over the turkey filling making a circular design. Top with a few toasted pepitas and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes and serve. 

Squash Tetrazzini
Serves 8-10

11/2 cups of Vidalia onion, 1/4" dice, about 1/2 of an onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt
Ground white pepper
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups vegetable stock
1 box Barilla Plus Spaghetti
4 cups cooked squash, cut in 2" pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Sweat the onion and garlic with the butter over medium heat. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and whisk to incorporate. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the room temperature stock 1 cup at a time, whisking to incorporate. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, whisking frequently so the bottom does not burn. 

Meanwhile, put a medium pot of water on to boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Once it begins to boil add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes drain the pasta reserving 2 cups of pasta water and add to the sauce. It'e very important to save a little of the pasta water - you may need it to thin out the pasta later. 

Continue cooking another 4 minutes in the sauce and taste. The pasta should be al dente. Turn off the heat and add the squash and half of the cheese. Toss to combine. 

Pour the pasta into a shallow serving bowl and toss in the parsley. If the pasta seems a little stiff add a little of the pasta water to loosen it up. Top with remaining cheese and serve. 

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