If you’ve prepared roast turkey for Christmas, chances are you have some of it left that needs to be used up. So here are a couple of recipes and ideas for leftover roast turkey, plus a short guide on its proper storage to ensure none of your efforts goes to waste.
Storing leftover roast turkey
Proper storage of leftovers is important to avoid food contamination.
To start, remove any stuffing from inside the turkey and refrigerate it in a separate storage container. Next, separate the meat from the bone to prevent bacteria build-up. Save the bones to make stock. Place the meat chunks in well-sealed containers or snap lock bags and store them in the fridge within 2 hours of preparation.
Tightly covered and kept in the fridge, the turkey should be eaten within 3-4 days; in the freezer, it keeps for as long as 2 months. Stuffing, meanwhile, isn’t suitable for freezing and should be eaten within 2 days of preparation.
Ideas for leftover roast turkey:
A turkey soup can be as simple as simmering turkey bones with onion, carrots, celery, and various herbs to make a tasty broth and then adding chopped turkey meat. It can also be as inventive as a creamy Mexican soup with corn and cilantro or as hassle-free as a squash soup with the diced turkey added a few minutes before serving.
For a week-long list of leftover turkey soup recipes, check out Soup Chick.
You can do more than tomatoes and lettuce with turkey since it works wonderfully with a lot of other flavors. Try to vary the fillings and kinds of bread used, such as in these popular turkey sandwiches:
1- Turkey, bacon, and cream cheese sandwiched between slices of raisin-walnut bread
2- Turkey breast, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard sandwiched on French bread, pressed on a sandwich press or panini grill.
3- Turkey with cranberry chutney, pecans, brie, and rocket sandwiched between slices of sourdough bread.
5- Also try: Turkey and guacamole quesadillas or turkey and black bean quesadillas
Tip: Use dark meat turkey, as it is juicier and makes for a better sandwich than light turkey meat.
Casseroles and Pasta
When using up leftovers, you need not strict recipes. For a turkey casserole, simply layer the stuffing, turkey, and leftover vegetables (e.g., mushrooms, green beans, peas, and corn), top with mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
You can also use the turkey as an addition to the delicious American dish tetrazzini, pot pie, or enchilada. Looking for a particular recipe to try? See The Kitchn’sTurkey Noodle Casserole.
Other Options: Beans and Salads
Adding turkey to beans or chili is convenient since you only have to add it at the end of cooking. Try barbecue beans and turkey, served with coleslaw and rolls, or spicy white bean chili. If you have more time in your hands, dice the turkey and try an elaborate French classic cassoulet with cannellini beans.
Lastly, a healthy and versatile way to use up turkey is by tossing it in a green salad. For a basic turkey salad, dice the turkey and add sliced grapes, a little lemon juice, and coarsely chopped peans – serve in a bed of lettuce. Turkey breast, meanwhile, is particularly good for a chef’s salad such as in Eating Well’s PowerSalad.