pumpkin soup

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.
  • 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
  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.

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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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