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Recipes and Stories

1 December 2014: Creamed Turkey on Toasted Dressing

A Quick Fix for Leftover Turkey and Dressing that I never tire of making or eating: Creamed Turkey on Toasted Dressing

Last night for supper we finished the last of the dressing and a big chunk of the leftover turkey with creamed turkey over pan-toasted slabs of dressing. For those with smaller households who said that most recipes for turkey leftovers just created another “leftover” problem because it made more than one person would eat, just make a smaller batch: it divides easily.

But if you find you’ve made more than you can eat in one sitting, turn your leftover creamed turkey into Turkey Tetrazzini with a few sautéed mushrooms and cooked spaghetti, or put it in a small casserole, top it with mashed potatoes, and make it into an individual shepherd’s pie.

Tonight I’ll break the last of the turkey carcass down and make stock, and will freeze any of the meat (nap it with broth and it will be nice and moist when it’s thawed). And it’s always a little sad, because In more than half a century of cooking and eating turkey, I have yet to tire of the leftovers before they’ve disappeared.

Creamed Turkey over Toasted Dressing

This is a little bit lighter than the recipe I did a couple of years back, using a simple cream sauce instead of cream, but its flavors are much the same.

Serves 4

4 3-inch-square portions of leftover dressing
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, trimmed, split lengthwise, peeled, and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, washed, strung, and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried) sage
1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) thyme leaves
Whole nutmeg in a grater
3 tablespoons instant (Wondra) or all-purpose flour
Leftover turkey gravy and enough turkey or chicken broth to make 1½ cups, or 1½ cups broth
1½ cups whole milk (or, if you’re short on gravy and broth, enough to make 3 cups liquid total)
Salt and whole white pepper in a mill
2-3 cups cooked turkey cut into large dice

1. Split each square of dressing in half horizontally and have them ready to toast. Warm 2 tablespoons of butter in a deep skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. When it is just melted, put in the onion and carrot, and celery. Sauté, tossing occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the herbs and a generous grating of nutmeg and stir.

2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir until they are coated with it and there are no lumps of flour in the pan. Slowly whisk in the leftover gravy and broth. When it begins to thicken, slowly whisk in the milk. Season it well with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. When it is thickened, add the turkey and let it simmer 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and let it heat a minute longer. Reduce the heat to just keep it warm.

3. Melt the remaining butter in a large, well-seasoned iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium heat. Put in the dressing cut side down and let it toast until it is golden, about 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook until it is hot through and toasted on both sides. Transfer the dressing to warm plates, spoon the creamed turkey over it, and serve immediately.

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