The second best part of Thanksgiving
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
We all remember that episode of Friends; you know, the one where Monica makes Ross a sandwich from Thanksgiving leftovers (with an extra layer of gravy-soaked bread in the middle) and then someone at work eats it. Ross loses his mind—and rightly so—which leads to him taking a much-needed sabbatical for his rage-related issues. You can avoid this same scenario by opting out of the traditional turkey leftover sandwich in favour of a discreetly packaged bowl of turkey leftover stew!
Stew is delicious, stick-to-your-ribs autumn fare—perfect for blue-skied October days when the cold wind permeates your coat and orange leaves crunch underneath the Uggs you just brought out of storage. It’s also easy to make from the package of leftovers your parents undoubtedly sent home with you after your family turkey feast. And finally, it’s a filling dish that packs to school easily in Tupperware or a Thermos if you want to keep it hot all day.
A stew like this is hard to mess up. Pretty much anything is good to go in this stew, but if you’re working with already-cooked vegetables (leftover root veggies) as well as some new, raw vegetables, you’ll have to add the cooked ones at the end. Leftover stuffing is also a delicious addition to this recipe, although if your family is anything like mine, the butter-soaked bread is probably the first thing to get gobbled up on Thanksgiving Day. You can put as much turkey as you want in it, depending on how much extra you have lying around. Vegetables are also negotiable: I’ve only included the standard stew vegetables in the recipe, but use your imagination and add seasonal options like parsnips, Brussels sprouts, or green beans.
To make the stew, you’ll need a large soup pot. Heat the oil in the pot, then add the garlic and onions and cook for a minute or so, until the garlic is slightly browned and the onion is translucent. Then add the hard vegetables (carrot, celery, and raw potatoes, if that’s what you’re using), pouring the stock over them. Let the veggies cook in the stock, covered, until they’re soft to the fork, about 15 minutes. Then it’s time to add any leftovers you have, along with spices. Throw in the potatoes, stuffing, gravy (which will thicken the stew), spices—anything, really. If you have yams, they make for a wonderful addition. Add the turkey last, stir it all up, and let it stew together for another 10 minutes. Serve with some cranberry sauce on the side—tasty!
Note: leftover gravy will help thicken the stew, but if you don’t have any, you can make a simple roux out of flour and water. Whisk together two tablespoons of all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup of water until the mixture is smooth, and then stir it into the simmering stock.
Recipe: Turkey Leftover Stew
You will need:
1/2 lb – 1 lb leftover turkey (dark or light meat), cut into cubes or shredded
A handful of leftover stuffing
1/4 cup leftover gravy
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
4 cloves (or more) of garlic, sliced or minced
2 cups cubed potatoes (leftover or raw)
4 cups turkey or chicken stock
Spices to taste: sage, thyme, tarragon, salt, and pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or butter