December 18, 2020
Even though we won’t be feeding large gatherings of friends and family this holiday season, the ritual of stuffing and roasting a turkey helps anchor this time and place, even if there are only a few at your table. The holidays are so deeply rooted in culinary tradition, there’s no reason to skip that turkey dinner spread, particularly now that we have more time at home, without the bustle of the usual festive social schedule.
Besides, leftover roasted turkey can be transformed into so many things, and a carcass will keep you in stock for a good chunk of the winter, so it makes sense to cook a large bird and stock your freezer with enough meat to start several other meals over the winter.
When you’re prepping your turkey, set a bowl on the counter to catch onion skins, carrot tops and celery ends; toss those bits into the pot with the bones, cover it all with water and bring to a simmer for an excellent stock that can be used in soups, stews, sauces, gravy and other dishes. Once it cools, strain it and keep it in the fridge or freezer. (Simmering will coax even more meat off the bones; you could keep some meaty stock as an excellent starting point for soup, or to thicken with flour to make a turkey shepherd’s pie.)
After you’ve had your fill of sandwiches, roasted turkey can be used in place of chicken in most recipes, even casserole-type dishes that begin with diced skinless, boneless chicken breast. Add it to veggie stir-fries, salads and cold noodles with peanut sauce and crunchy iceberg lettuce, turn it into pot pies, or simmer it in saucy gravy to spoon over split biscuits. Or make a cheesy, spicy buffalo turkey dip to bake until bubbly and scoop up with tortilla chips next time you’re on the couch watching a movie.
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