The Simple Art Of Cooking Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftovers Become Asian Treat

For the lucky people who cook Thanksgiving dinner, the remains of the day can prove to be inspired creations rather than holiday leftovers. I know, there is always the ubiquitous turkey sandwich, salad or soup. But have you made a turkey and rice stir-fry lately?

It’s important to note that turkey, or chicken for that matter, should be removed from carcass and bones as soon as possible before storing in the refrigerator. Carve off all the meat and refrigerate as promptly as possible in a suitable container for a day or two. The less air that gets into any container or wrapping, the longer the meat will stay fresh. And don’t throw the carcass and bones away. Cover with water and a carrot, a rib of celery or two and some parsley sprigs that are probably sitting in your refrigerator vegetable drawer, along with an onion, a couple of cloves, peppercorns and a bay leaf or two and you have the beginning of a fine broth to use in a soup or stew.

For an Asian twist, fried rice is a tasty way to incorporate your leftover turkey with pre-cooked rice, some chopped garlic and ginger and any leftover vegetables you may have lying around such as cooked carrots and broccoli. Add some water chestnuts, a generous splash of soy sauce and a dash of dark sesame oil and you’ve created a tasty way to clean out the fridge. In keeping with the theme, spinach salad with soy and sesame seeds will add color and crunch to your Asian stir-fry. How thankful we are—even for turkey day excesses!

 

ASIAN TURKEY FRIED RICE

Fried rice is indeed a flexible dish. It can be prepared with almost any protein and/or vegetable leftovers. Day old cooked rice works best for fried rice.

Serves 4

 

3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 bunch scallions, light and green parts, thinly

sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

3 to 4 cups cold cooked long grain or basmati rice

1 cup cooked sliced carrots

1/2 cup julienne of snow peas

1/2 cup coarsely chopped water chestnuts

2 cups cooked diced turkey

1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

 

Note: Place all the ingredients on a prep tray or platter arranged side by side. This classic Chinese technique will allow for swift cooking.

 

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-size wok or large non-stick skillet. Stir fry eggs in the oil cutting them coarsely with the side of a large slotted spoon until curds form; remove from pan and set aside.

 

2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same pan the eggs cooked in and add scallions, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry about 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are a bit limp then add the rice breaking up the lumps. Add carrots, snow peas, water chestnuts, diced turkey and salt to taste; cook over medium heat, turning and mixing with 2 large spoons until contents are well mixed and heated through. Add soy sauce and stir to coat the grains of rice. If at any time the mixture sticks to the pan, tilt pan and add a bit more oil along the inside of pan and heat. Drizzle sesame oil over and toss to mix. Taste to adjust seasoning as necessary and serve hot.

 

SPINACH SALAD WITH SOY AND SESAME SEEDS

This standard dish is typical in homes and restaurants throughout Japan.

Serves 4

 

1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed and

washed well

3 tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 teaspoons superfine sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce (Japanese soy if possible)

11/2 teaspoons lemon juice

 

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and blanch spinach for 1 minute. Drain and refresh leaves under cold running water. Squeeze excess moisture from the leaves and chop coarsely.

 

2. In a small skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium-high heat, shaking pan until the seeds begin to pop, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a bowl (or a mortar and pestle, if available) while still warm and crush with the back of a spoon as well as possible. Add the sugar and continue to grind until mixture is a little pasty. Add the soy sauce and lemon juice and blend well. Toss the chopped spinach in the dressing, refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve slightly chilled.

 

Recipe adapted from Elizabeth Andoh’s At Home with Japanese Cooking, Knopf.

 

Visit Silvia’s website at www.savoringthehamptons.com to read her blogs and more recipes.

 

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