Thanksgiving meals are remarkably consistent across ethnic borders. Whether your family arrived at Plymouth Rock or JFK, today you are probably still consuming some variation on roast turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. It's in the creative exploitation of leftovers that home cooks let their national flags wave.
After consulting an international array of chefs to discover some global ideas for repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers, there's more than meat and bread to come. If you are considering making a turkey sandwich on white, hold off and read on.
Makes 4 appetizer servings, two main courses
Sauce: 1 pound ripe tomatoes
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 dried chipotle pepper or 2 tablespoons canned chipotle in adobo
Salt and pepper
Enchiladas: Vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1 pound mushrooms (button, cremini and/or shiitake) sliced
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cooked turkey (preferably dark meat)
4 corn tortillas
1/3 cup shredded queso (or quesillo) Oaxaca, or mozzarella or Monterey jack
Garnish: thinly sliced white onion, avocado slices, extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tomatoes, chopped onion, garlic and chipotle pepper on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Seal into a package and bake for 20 minutes, then transfer contents to blender and process until smooth. Pass through a strainer to catch seeds and skin. (Alternately, you could use a food mill instead of a blender.) Season with salt and pepper.
Film a wide, lidded skillet (or Dutch oven) with oil. Add garlic and sauté over medium heat until garlic is fragrant. Add mushrooms and a few spoonfuls of water, season with salt and pepper, stir and then cover pan. It will take about 10 minutes for mushrooms to give up their liquid. When they do, uncover pan, turn up heat and sauté until pan is almost dry. Remove garlic, add shredded turkey and turn down heat. Cook gently, stirring until turkey is mixed with mushrooms and heated through.
Brush tortillas with a little oil on both sides. In the center of each place ¼ of the turkey-mushroom mixture. Roll them up and place, overlap-down, in a baking dish. Top with about 1 cup of sauce and the shredded cheese. Bake until cheese melts. Top with onion slices, avocado slices and then drizzle with olive oil.
This recipe is from Luis Falcon, a Mexican-born chef. When Falcon was growing up in Mexico, his mother, also a restaurant chef, made these enchiladas, and Falcon follows her recipe pretty much to the letter.
Biryanis are fragrant rice pilafs, often quite elaborate. Here's a simple one featuring leftover turkey. It's pictured above.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note)
1 to 2 teaspoons pure chili powder (not a chili seasoning blend)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (or a combination of almonds and raw cashews)
2 tablespoons golden raisins
Salt and pepper
1 pound turkey, skinned and cubed
4 tablespoons tomato purée
2 cups warm, cooked basmati rice
Put oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garam masala and chili powder and sauté for a minute until spices become fragrant. Add nuts and raisins, salt and pepper, turkey and tomato purée. Simmer for a few minutes, until turkey is warmed through, then add rice and stir to combine.