Column: What to do with all this damn leftover turkey

By: Steve “Mo” Fye, Copy Chief/Food Writer

It is the annual question: What can be done with all this turkey? The ubiq­uitous turkey sand­wiches are often dry and boring. Dry chunks of breast meat or stringy, fatty dark meat on a slab of bread is no way to treat this noble fowl. Here are a few suggestions to breathe new life into the leftover bird.

A bright and tasty Turkey Salad can be made easily by substi­tuting cooked turkey for the protein in a favorite tuna salad or chicken salad recipe.

A half cup each of finely diced or shred­ded red onion, car­rots and celery to two cups of shredded turkey breast meat produces a lovely base. Add ¾ cup of may­onnaise, a few good squeezes of lemon juice and a bit of the zested peel, some salt and pepper and a dash of hot sauce (Sriracha is ideal) and the result is a salad that is ter­rific over some fresh greens or on toasted sourdough bread.

Nuts, espe­cially southern New Mexico pecans, are in season right now, so a handful of pecan pieces will add crunch and flavor.

If the drumsticks are left over, they are perfect when braised overnight in a bit of wine or stock in a crock pot. Remove the skin and pull out the tendons that run the length of the drum­stick. Just cover with liquid and cook on low for hours until the meat simply falls apart. Add some flavor with a bay leaf, some whole garlic cloves and sliced, seeded jalapenos. Some lime juice added before shredding the meat adds brightness to the mix. Be sure to remove any tendons left over when taking out the bones. The tendons can be a chok­ing hazard similar to fish bones.

Wrap this in tor­tillas with a bit of cheese and perhaps some cooked potatoes or refried beans, or mix with red or green chile for a tasty enchi­lada filling. This can also be the basis for a tasty tamale recipe.

Turkey hash is another easy and deli­cious recipe to use up the fattier and tougher pieces of dark meat. Chop the dark meat. Mince any remaining skin and mix with finely diced pieces of potato and onion and sauté as you would corned beef hash.

Turkey patties can help use up leftover mashed potatoes as well. Shred the turkey meat well and mix with mashed potatoes at about a one-to-one ratio. Add a bit of beaten egg as a binder. Form into patties and roll in bread crumbs and fry in a bit of oil over medium high heat until the pat­ties reach 165°F at the center. These are spectacular with a bit of leftover gravy or cranberry sauce.

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