TND – Early Solution for Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 4, 2011

The boys over at The Bitten Word have helpfully indexed the 250 Thanksgiving recipes that debuted in this month’s cooking magazines. For the record, that is an insane number of new recipes for a holiday in which generally speaking nobody wants anything but what they always have – because, as we all know, everyone else’s Thanksgiving is wrong and ours is the only right one. For example, my cousin’s husband’s family doesn’t do gravy. She called to tell us this the first holiday she spent with them, and I think our collective appalled gasp could be heard across state lines. She ended up marrying him, so clearly his family’s bizarre stance on gravy wasn’t a deal breaker, but I’m pretty sure that she spent some quality time impressing on him the importance of gravy.

Aside from not making a horrified face when presented with whatever strange thing your in-laws think are appropriate for the Thanksgiving table (when clearly they are wrong wrong wrong because as stated earlier yours is the only correct Thanksgiving), the big dilemma with Thanksgiving is what to do with the leftover turkey (disposing of leftover stuffing is not a problem with which I have any familiarity).

Growing up we only sporadically partook in Thanksgiving, so we generally had the big Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner at Christmas instead. The standard menu progression in my house (translated for Christmas not Thanksgiving) is Turkey Dinner – Take I on Christmas Eve, Turkey Dinner – Take II on Christmas Day (so my mother and I can relax and enjoy the day), something completely different on December 26th, and then Turkey Tetrazzini on December 27th. By this point most of the turkey has been disposed of and all that’s left is boiling the bones for stock.

Last year I hosting Thanksgiving at my house and then engaged in some minor heresy when I didn’t make Turkey Tetrazzini from the leftovers, and instead incorporated them into Butternut Squash Chili (it was excellent). This year I’m not making Thanksgiving, which is almost too bad because I have such an excellent solution for leftover turkey. Actually, this is so good that I wouldn’t recommend waiting until you have leftover turkey to make it. I barely made it 10 days between the first time I made it and making it again for Dinner.

Turkey Enchiladas w/ Pumpkin Sauce
Green Beans
Apple Fennel Slaw

Turkey Enchiladas w/ Pumpkin Sauce
(serves 4 – I made 2.5 x the recipe (= 20 enchiladas) with the idea of leftovers in mind)

Writing out this explanation makes this look so much more complicated than it actually is.

If you are making this out of leftover turkey I might suggest sautéing some onions and apples to add to the filling since you probably won’t have any roasted vegetables to add to it (the vegetables roasted with the turkey are generally understood in my house to be the perk of the cook and have never yet made it to the dining room table).

Filling (or use a generous 3 cups of leftover turkey, shredded)
2 lb (bone-in/skin-on) chicken breasts
1 ½ lemons
1 (medium-large) onion, peeled, cut into sixths or eighths (depending on the size of the onion)
1 ½ apples, peeled & quartered
Thyme (dried)
Olive oil

6 scallions
½ apple, peeled and diced small

Preheat oven to 400.

Generously season chicken breasts with salt, pepper & thyme.

Place chicken breasts, onion, and apples in a small roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and juice of lemons.  Toss to coat thoroughly then arrange so that chicken breasts rest bone side down on top of onions and apples.  Add the juiced lemon halves to the pan.

Roast until a meat thermometer reads 170 (about 35-40 minutes)

Discard the lemon halves.  Scoop onions and apples from pan to a rimmed plate (I usually use a pie plate), trying to drain as much fat as possible.  Add chicken to pie plate and allow to cool.  Remove skin (if you’re me, eat the skin).  Remove chicken from bone and shred into bite sized pieces – I usually just do this with my hands.

Chop the roasted apples and onions roughly and add to the chicken (the apple will mostly just disintegrate into mush at this point, that’s fine it helps keep the chicken moist).

Finely mince the scallions and remaining ½ apple.  Add to the chicken mixture.

Season generously with salt & pepper, mix well and set aside.

Note: I roasted the chicken breasts on Sunday, allowed them to cool overnight and made the filling on Monday. Then I assembled the enchiladas on Tuesday just before I baked them.

Pumpkin Sauce
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 jalapeno, ribs & seeds removed (or left in if you like heat)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch cloves (optional)
½ – ¾ cup chicken stock (you can also use all water)
½ – ¾ cup water
Juice of ½ lemon

Puree all together. How much water/stock you will need to add will depend a lot on how thick your pumpkin puree is. I would suggest starting with the lesser amount of water & chicken stock and adding more if you think it seems too thick – you want the sauce to have substance, but not be as thick as a puree. Season to taste with salt/pepper and more cumin/cinnamon.

6 oz white cheddar cheese, grated
8 (6”) tortillas

Preheat oven to 425.

Equally divide chicken filling between the tortillas (about a ½ cup per tortilla).  Roll up.

Spread 1 cup of pumpkin sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Place rolled tortillas in pan, seam side down.  Top with remaining sauce, spreading to make sure that all the enchiladas are covered.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is melted & browned and sauce is bubbling.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Apple Fennel Slaw

Recipe previously given: Ant Parade


One comment

  1. […] Recipe previously given: Early Solution for Thanksgiving Leftovers […]

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