New Life for Thanksgiving Leftovers


There is no shame in huddling over a plate of yesterday’s stuffing. After all that work, you’ve earned it. But if repeating the meal leaves something to be desired, try these recipes.


Turkey Tikka Masala


TIME: 1 1/2 hours, plus marinating

YIELD: 6 servings

This twist on the Punjabi-style curry gives a new life to leftover turkey. The turkey is marinated overnight in yogurt, turmeric, garam masala and garlic paste, imparting deep flavors and moisture. Tomatoes and cream add warmth, while serrano peppers give the tikka masala its kick.

For The Marinade

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

4 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 cloves garlic, finely grated or pounded in a mortar and pestle

4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

1 cup whole-milk yogurt

4 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 pound)

For The Masala

4 tablespoons ghee or neutral-tasting oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

6 cardamom pods, crushed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, finely grated or pounded in a mortar and pestle

2 serrano peppers, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish

Juice of 1 small lemon

Steamed basmati rice, for serving

1. Make the marinade: In a medium bowl, stir together garam masala, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, kosher salt, garlic, ginger and yogurt. Fold in the turkey. Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Make the masala: On the stove top, heat a Dutch oven or similar pot over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons ghee or neutral oil, then add onion, cardamom, bay leaf, paprika, pepper flakes (if using), garam masala and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are brown and tender, 10 to 15 minutes, adjusting temperature as needed so the onion doesn’t burn.

3. Make space among onions in center of pot, and add 1 tablespoon ghee or neutral oil. When ghee has melted or oil begins to shimmer, add ginger, garlic and serrano peppers and sizzle for about 10 seconds. Combine that mixture with the spiced onions. Stir in tomato paste. Add tomatoes and their juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until the liquid is almost gone, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Add cream and chopped cilantro to the pot. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, then taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

5. In the meantime, line a baking sheet with foil, turn on oven broiler and arrange an oven rack about 6 inches from broiling unit. Lay the marinated turkey on the foil in a single layer. Stir any remaining marinade into the sauce. Broil until turkey begins to blacken in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

6. Use a hand-held blender (or blender) to purée the sauce, then add turkey and return the sauce to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just warmed through. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

7. To serve, garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve hot, with steamed basmati rice. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.


Roasted Turkey Stock


TIME: About 4 hours

YIELD: About 3 quarts

When you’re making a turkey, making stock with the bones is the logical next step. This recipe, from Los Angeles chef Suzanne Goin, has the usual aromatics, plus a concentrated shot of white wine and a dried chili. (Sometimes poultry stock can taste flat.) Roasting the bones and the vegetables in the same pan streamlines the process and adds depth of flavor. You can use this stock in virtually any recipe that calls for chicken stock (except for chicken soup).

1 leftover carcass from a 10- to 15-pound roasted turkey, preferably including neck, wing and leg bones

4 or 5 onions, quartered (no need to peel; just rub off any papery skins)

2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

4 large or 5 small celery ribs, cut into chunks

2 cups white wine

2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 whole arbol (or another small dried red) chili

Kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Using a sturdy knife or your hands, cut or tear turkey carcass into large pieces. Arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast until brown and sizzling, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and transfer pieces to a stockpot.

3. Add onions, carrots and celery to the empty roasting pan and place over medium heat. Sauté briefly, just to loosen the crusty turkey bits from bottom of pan.

4. Return pan to oven and cook until vegetables are browned around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

5. Remove pan from oven and place it over medium heat. Add white wine and cook, stirring, until wine is reduced to a syrup, about 3 minutes.

6. Add wine-vegetable mixture to stockpot. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns and chili. Add 6 quarts water and place over medium-high heat just until mixture comes to a boil.

7. Immediately reduce heat to low, skim any foam floating on top and simmer, skimming as needed, for 3 hours. Add 1 teaspoon salt and taste. If stock tastes watery, keep simmering until stock is flavorful. Taste for salt again and add more if needed.

8. Strain stock through a sieve into a large container or containers. Discard solids. Let stock cool slightly, then refrigerate. Skim off any fat from the top. Use within 4 days or freeze.


To freeze in plastic bags, use a thick, sealable bag to line a plastic container, which will hold the bag up while you fill it. Label the bags before filling. Hold bag up by the edges, pour in stock, gently squeeze out any air and seal tightly. Remove from container and lay bags flat in freezer.


Turkey and Spinach Curry


TIME: 20 minutes

YIELD: 4 servings

With the coconut milk, the turkey and the fresh spinach, there’s plenty of flavor in this little stew. Plenty of ease, too; the whole thing takes less than a half-hour, not much longer than sandwiches.

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1 cup tomatoes, chopped (canned are fine; include their juice)

1 cup coconut milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound fresh spinach, trimmed of thick stems, washed and roughly chopped

2 cups leftover turkey, white or dark meat or a combination, roughly chopped

Freshly chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about another minute.

2. Add tomatoes and their juices and coconut milk and sprinkle with salt and pepper; bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until tomatoes break down.

3. Add spinach and turkey to pan and continue to cook until spinach wilts and turkey is warmed through, another 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning, garnish with cilantro and serve.


Bang bang

Bang Bang Turkey


TIME: 15 minutes

YIELD: 4 servings

Here, Thanksgiving leftovers head East. This fast-assembled salad is nothing more than shredded turkey under a satay-like sauce of peanut butter, chili bean and Chinese vinegar, with some shredded lettuce and chopped cucumbers. It’s gloriously wolfable and easy as well.

For The Bang Bang Sauce

2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons Chinese chili-bean sauce

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar

For Assembly

6 cups finely shredded lettuce

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

3 cups cold shredded turkey

1 scallion, halved crosswise and julienned

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine sauce ingredients with 2 tablespoons cold water, and mix until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to two weeks.

2. Spread lettuce over a large serving plate, and sprinkle evenly with cilantro and mint. Drizzle 4 to 5 tablespoons of Bang Bang sauce on top.

3. In a small bowl, combine turkey with 4 tablespoons Bang Bang sauce and toss until well coated. Arrange turkey strips in a rough line down center of salad. Top turkey with scallions and cucumber. Drizzle with more sauce, or place sauce in a bowl to pass at table.


Turkey french dip

Thanksgiving Sandwich


TIME: 15 minutes

YIELD: 2 servings

Like many restaurant workers toiling in Las Vegas, Eric Klein, the executive chef at Spago, spends Thanksgiving on the line, dishing out turkey and trimmings to vacationing high rollers. Time with family and friends comes after the holiday. While the rest of the city combs shopping arcades for Black Friday deals, he’s making magic with the leftovers. One of his favorites is this play on a French dip sandwich.

1/4 cup leftover cranberry sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons apple or mango chutney, coarsely chopped

2 cups leftover shredded turkey meat

1 1/3 cups warm gravy

Salt, as needed

1 cup leftover stuffing

1 ounce mild blue cheese, crumbled (optional)

2 hoagie rolls, split

1. In a small bowl, whisk together cranberry sauce, mayonnaise and chutney. In a small pot, heat together turkey and 2/3 cup of the gravy.

2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place remaining gravy in a serving dish and stir in enough boiling water to make it thin enough to use as a sandwich dip. It should be like a rich broth. Season with salt if needed.

3. Spread chutney mixture over cut side of bread halves. Make sandwiches with turkey, stuffing and blue cheese, if you like. Cut sandwiches in half and dip in the warm, thin gravy as you eat them.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions