Did you honestly believe a “post-leftover-Thanksgiving-turkey” recipe was not forthcoming? I didn’t think so. It’s practically as traditional as the holiday itself. Normally I cook a chicken, yes a chicken; considering I’m usually cooking for just the three of us, I hardly see the logic in cooking a big turkey; the smallest one I’ve ever found was about 8 lbs when an average plump chicken is roughly half that size.
This year we were expecting guests, only two, but guests none-the-less. Unfortunately an unexpected illness befell one of them and they had to cancel somewhere between mashing potatoes and basting the bird; and the five were three yet again.
I didn’t mind, I would have loved the company but considering the company that I had joining in the succulent feast; I felt rather blessed. Mr. Sweet Butter and WizKid make wonderful dinner companions. Of course my heart always wishes Fly Boy and Homerun Kid were with us, but my oldest sons were in Ohio; a big piece of my heart hanging inconspicuously close to their own. They are never far from me.
I have a couple of recipes from our feast which I will be sharing during the upcoming week however sometimes I like to do things backwards; which is why I’m posting this one first. It’s also so colorful and so beautiful and so delicious I simply couldn’t resist. Of course there are limitations to doing things in a reverse order. I very well couldn’t make turkey salad prior to actually making the turkey now could I? I suppose one could but I’m fairly positive it would be quite messy and personally I’m not inclined to attempt it.
I’m sure there are countless possible uses for leftover turkey; and might I interject here and ask, why is there always left over turkey irregardless of the number of people being served? Have you ever NOT had left overs? Me neither.
I adapted this recipe from one of my mothers who I am quite certain, adapted hers from somewhere else. Of course knowing the genius of my mother’s brain in all things, especially cooking, she may very well have thought it up while guiding a Boeing 747 across an invisible airspace marked out on a radar screen into the safe keeping of the Denver air traffic control tower approach control crew. She was that good.
Her recipe called for grapes, I used dried cranberries; and while the original only called for tarragon, I married this with some dill. One final liberty I took, primarily out of necessity than choice, I substituted pecans for the walnuts she put in her recipe. I ran out of walnuts unexpectedly (I’m not quite sure how this happened but it nearly crippled me with shock and disbelief. It was inconceivable.) The pecans added a deliciously nutty flavor and complimented the cranberries superbly.
I used nearly five cups of chopped turkey and still have both thighs and a big, fat, juice leg to use. I swear I only cooked a 10 lbs turkey and am quite sure I put nine lbs in the fridge. What is a girl to do? Believe me when I think of something you’ll be the first to know. Well perhaps the second since Mr. Sweet Butter will undoubtedly be the first.
Or does that make him the second and you the third and me the first; since at this moment I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of the bird hence making me the first when I figure it out? Or do I count? Does the “first to know” only become the “first” when they are the “first” to have shared knowledge of the original thinkers idea?
I supposed I’ll have to think on that now as well which is never good for someone with ADD. It’s always best to think on one “think” at a time or the mind ends up on a crazy adventure; like a horse cut loose from it’s harness and not quite knowing where it’s galloping off to. It’s honestly too late for such tom-foolery and I really should just post the recipe.
Of course I would love to know what plans you have for your left over turkey (and dressing and side dishes…) Perhaps I’ll go see how much room is left in my freezer.
Hope you had a lovely holiday; and for my friends over the seas and beyond the borders I gave thanks for you all this year. I’ve so very thankful you have come into my life and we can share out differences and similarities in culture, food and life!
- 5 cups Cooked turkey, chopped into ¼ inch pieces.
- 2 Celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 small Onion, diced
- ¾ to 1 cup Dried cranberries
- ¾ cup Pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup Real mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon, Dried or fresh tarragon
- ½ teaspoon Dill weed
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- Combine mayonnaise and all spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a larger bowl combine all remaining ingredients and mix well.
- In increments, add mayonnaise to turkey mixture, combing well. Add mayo to desired creaminess (more or less as preferred).
- For best results, store in refrigerator for a minimum of four hours to allow the dill and tarragon flavors to infuse with the mayo.
- May be stored in an airtight container or bag in the freezer.