Isn’t the “big” question always what to do with the leftovers from Thanksgiving. I mean really now…everyone has their grandmother’s gravy recipe, their mom’s stuffing recipe and pretty much everything else under the sun. Books have been written around holiday cooking and there are thousands of web sites offering up the “best new thing” for this holiday season. Bacon wrapped organic brussels sprouts with a mini nitrogen frozen hollandaise quail egg anyone?
Now, more often than not it is not how to cook the dinner itself but what to do with the sh*t-ton of food you have left over. And it is a sh*t-ton, cause I know you don’t wanna look cheap in front of your family and friends…So the questions till remains, what to do with all these leftovers? Sick of turkey tacos, turkey helper and turkey benedicts? Stuffing morning, noon and night got you down? Thinking yam souffle’s are the answer to the 5 lbs of yams your mother-in-law brought over? Not down this year with offering up your extra turkey day feast to the homeless who urinate on your lawn? Sticking to your promise of not feeding the dog (or cat) this year cause they puked last years dinner up on your carpet and you got stuck cleaning it up? If so then read on….
In reality, there are plenty of ways to reuse and recycle your leftover feast while “keeping it real” with the fam and offering up some unique and tasty offerings in the process. Remember, you really did learn something from all those hours of watching Food TV, right?
Aside from the turkey tacos, the cheesy broccoli casserole enchiladas and the sweet potato crème brulee is something magical. Something that will not only clear your fridge of some of the unwanted turkey but will delight you and your friends at some upcoming parties or lazy nights on the couch with a bottle of wine. This little taste of France will not only help you get your mind off the depression (yes I called it that) but will also put a smile on the faces of those who taste your rillettes.
Yes, rillettes…that oh-so French meat puree that is and is not like pate. Much like cassoulet, rillettes are packed into a container, here a ramekin and covered with a layer of duck fat. This will preserve your little masterpieces for months, but I do not think they will be laying around for that long. Pull them out a couple of hours before your guests arrive, arrange some sliced baguette and some homemade water crackers (yes we can make these too) and your off to a great night chatting with your guests or just chillin’ out on the couch.
The recipe we are going to use is very simple and straight forward. You can and should use your imagination to flavor these as you like (think truffles, 5 spice or garam masala) but for this, our first batch together simplicity is key. So lets grab a sturdy cooking pot and head to the kitchen, bringing along your beverage of choice.
- 1 turkey thigh (organic)
- 1 turkey leg (organic)
- If you only have one or the other, use the meat from the carcass and the neck. You will need around 1.5 to 2 cups of meat and one of the other items above.
- 3 cup turkey stock (used the bones from above if you didn't save the giblet broth.
- 2 ounces bacon, lardons (rendered fat reserved) and chopped when cooked
- 2 big leaves of fresh sage, minced, around 1 to 1.5 tablespoons
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 shallot, diced and caramelized
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup (more or less) of rendered duck fat or the reserved bacon fat.
- 1T canola oil
- some cognac, wild turkey or other flavoring agent (optional)
- sauce pot
- saute pan
- Remove and skin and bones from the turkey meat. Meat should be at room temperature.
- Add 1 T of oil to a saute pan and caramelize the shallots with the thyme.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic is mushy soft. Remove from pan and reserve.
- Place the sauce pot over a medium flame and add the oil.
- Place the bacon into the pan and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.
- Pull the bacon out and pour off the fat, reserving it for later.
- Pull the turkey meat and place in the bowl of the kitchenaid with the shallot/garlic mix.
- Turn it on to number 4 speed and begin to pulverize the meat.
- Add the chopped sage.
- Slowly add one cup of stock alternating with a ⅛ cup of fat. Keep mixing and adding stock and fat until this mass of turkey begins to look spreadable, like pate...chunky but like pate.
- When you have reached this or your desired consistency, season with the salt and pepper.
- Remove from the bowl and portion into ramekin or another serving container, packing firm.Chill for a hour or so until completely cooled.
- Leave an 8th of an inch or so on top and once you have the ramekin(s) filled pour the rendered duck fat or reserved bacon fat over the top to completely cover the rillettes. This acts as your shield and will preserve your turkey rillettes for quite a while.
- Place in the refrigerator to store.
Rillettes to great with fresh fall fruit, fleur del sel water crackers and a creamy cheese. These components, along with your favorite beverage and entertainment will keep you satisfied for hours. Who knew leftover turkey could be so good…?
Chef’s tip – When I did this recipe, I shredded the turkey meat by hand…yes by hand. I haven’t really unpacked since getting back from Dubai and there is no kitchenaid in sight. Honestly, yes there is but I wanted to do it by hand so there…It took roughly an hour or so to completely pick the meat and get it to the right consistency…FYI.
Thanks to Gustaf@ BarrellyMadeIt.com for the studio to shoot it…;)