leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Ah Black Friday, one of the most feared and anticipated days of the year.  Of course I am referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving – the annual quest to figure out what to do with all of those Turkey Day leftovers.  I’ve never understood why people get so worked up about it.  Seriously, all that media coverage just because of a few leftovers?  Madness!

I watched some of the innovative ideas that the TV chefs offered this past week during the barrage of Thanksgiving food shows that permeated cable.  Some were pretty good.  I especially liked Sunny Anderson’s idea for taking leftover dressing and deep frying it.  Perhaps it is because I am from the Eat TurkeySouth where we fry everything and I mean everything – alligators, dill pickles, chicken gizzards.

The problem with most left-over recipes is that they still taste like Thanksgiving dinner.  However, soups can offer an escape from that trap.  Do you have a leftover can of pumpkin pie filling?  Make pumpkin soup.  Do you have leftover potatoes?  Make loaded potato soup.  Leftover turkey?  I have got a soup for that as well.  It was an improvised soup of the day I did at a restaurant once that people liked so much it went on the permanent menu.  It’s called Turkey Queso Soup and it’s easy.

Turkey Queso Soup
Recipe Type: Appetiser
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 8
This soup toes the line between chowder and the cheese dip you get at Tex-Mex restaurant. You can bumb up the heat by adding diced chilies or tone it down by using regular chili powder instead of the hotter chipotle powder. You can add as much or as little turkey as you want. Be careful not to let this soup come to a full bowl as it can break.
Ingredients
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded or diced
  • 1 TBL Cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked parika
  • 1 tsp Chipotle chili powder
  • 1 cup leftover turkey meat, pulled or diced
Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, combine the cream of chicken soup, evaporated milk and cheese. Bring slowly to a simmer.
  2. Once the cheese has melted into the soup stir in the cumin, then smoked paprika and finally the chili powder. Let simmer for a few minutes then stir in the turkey.
  3. Allow to simmer a few minutes more and then serve with tortilla chips on the side.

Or you could do what I do with leftover Thanksgiving dinner, reheat and eat. Come on we wait 365 days for Thanksgiving dinner because we love the meal. Why not enjoy it another time or two before moth-balling it for another year? Now that I have helped you to put your leftover fears to rest you can spend Black Friday doing something fun like going shopping. I bet you’ll have the stores to yourself.

Going Coastal Recipe: Texas Smokehouse Soup

According to legend, Brunswick Stew was first created in Brunswick Bounty, Virginia in the 1820’s. The original recipe varies vastly from the contemporary. That first stew was made with squirrel, stale bread and butter while today’s stew is made using potatoes, chicken and corn. It is the perfect day-after recipe for that weekend cookout as it’s prime ingredients are usually leftovers. This is why it is a staple at BBQ joints from Charlotte to Tulsa.

When I ran the kitchen at Mars Hill Cafe I did a variation on a theme with Brunswick Stew that replaced the chicken with brisket, smoked sausage and smoked turkey meat or pulled pork, replaced the potatoes with kidney beans and replaced the corn with Cajun trinity (onions, celery and bell pepper). Too add to the BBQiness of the soup I use BBQ sauce in the broth.  Since BBQ along the Third Coast tends towards walking meat as to flying meat this recipe is better matched to our lifestyle.  The beauty of this soup is that you can use any smoked/grilled meat – chicken, turkey, brisket, beef ribs, steak, ham, pork ribs, chops, pulled pork and even leftover burgers.  You’ll find the recipe is a perfect use of Fourth of July leftovers.  Happy July 4th!

Texas Smokehouse Soup
4 ounces diced smoked sausage
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion,chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
4 ounces diced smoked brisket or beef rib meat
4 ounces chopped smoked turkey and/or 4 ounces pulled pork
2 quarts beef broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup BBQ sauce; adjust for taste
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large soup pot render the sausage over medium heat until browned.  Add the trinity (onions, celery & bell pepper) and sauté for roughly five minutes or just until soft.  Then add remaining meats and cook for another 5 minutes.  Pour in half of the beef broth, the diced tomatoes, the beans, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder then simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in half the tomato paste, the BBQ sauce, liquid smoke (if using), Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Taste!  If the soup is too thick add some of the remaining beef broth.  If the soup is too thin add more tomato paste.  Serve with Texas toast.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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