Turn Thanksgiving Leftovers Into Turkey Tortilla Soup
Posted on November 17, 2015
Did you make too much turkey again this year, or did your
overly generous host send you home with more of the seasonal poultry than you
know what to do with? Fear not! There’s no reason to dread having days and days
of microwaved leftovers or sandwiches. There are plenty of other easy,
delicious ways of turning extra roast turkey into satisfying senior friendly meals that you’ll
actually want to eat.
What can you do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey?
For beginners, try thinking of leftover roast turkey as you
would leftover roast chicken, except that it’s generally blander, the white
meat is drier and the dark meat is gamier. On Thanksgiving, smothering the
turkey in gravy and serving it alongside a variety of side dishes keeps things
interesting. When giving that bag of roast turkey pieces in the refrigerator a
new life, try thinking along the same lines: use it in dishes and with ingredients
that inherently have lots of flavor. And because the meat has already been
cooked once, reheat it gently to avoid drying it out even further.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Dice and use in your favorite chicken salad
- Shred and use in enchiladas or quesadillas.
- Chop finely, season well and add to your
favorite breakfast hash recipe, topped with a fried egg.
- Shred, reheat with barbecue sauce and serve on
hamburger buns with slaw or bread and butter pickles for “pulled turkey”
- Dice and use in a coconut milk-based curry.
- Dice and use in a turkey pot pie.
- Shred and use in a Chinese cold sesame noodle
dish, along with sliced cucumbers, green onions and bean sprouts.
- Shred and reheat with marinara sauce for another
take on spaghetti and red sauce.
- Dice, combine with cooked fusilli pasta and
cherry tomatoes, and toss with pesto sauce.
- Chop and add to risotto, cheesy grits or rice
- Slice and serve with hoisin sauce, sliced green
onions and steamed folded buns for Peking-style turkey.
- Shred or dice and make into a turkey Caesar
- Shred and add to miso soup with udon noodles.
Alternative Solution for Thanksgiving Leftovers
If you are still stumped, the senior friendly recipe below for Turkey Tortilla Soup is another great way to repurpose roast turkey. The method for this Mexican soup has been streamlined—sautéing raw (rather than roasted) onions and jalapeños, using store-bought chicken broth and canned diced tomatoes, and of course, shredded roast turkey.
While unconventional, baby greens are added toward the end for a nutritious boost. Easy-to-find baby spinach can be used, but if your local supermarket carries it, try adding a bag of mixed baby chard, kale and spinach instead.
This clean, one-pot meal comes together relatively quickly and tastes like comfort food without all the heaviness. While the soup is delicious on its own, feel free to use any or all of the suggested toppings to incorporate additional flavor and crunch to the final dish. Just as at Thanksgiving, it’s the extras that keep things fun.
Turkey Tortilla Soup
Shredded leftover roast turkey from Thanksgiving dinner
stands in for chicken in this recipe remake. Both light and dark meat will work.
If using turkey breast, be sure to cook the meat until just warmed to prevent it
from becoming dry and stringy. If you cannot find mixed baby greens, do not use
salad mix such as spring greens or mesclun mix. Stick to baby spinach instead.
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapeños, seeded and roughly chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
3 cans (14.5 oz. each) low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded roast turkey
1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
5 oz. mixed baby greens, such as spinach, kale, chard and
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado, shredded lettuce,
sliced radishes and lime wedges, for topping
1. Place the onion, garlic and jalapeños in a blender and blend over medium
speed until a thick purée is formed.
2. Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add
the onion mixture, cumin, coriander and salt and cook until excess moisture has
evaporated and mixture is fragrant, about 15 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth, increase the heat to
medium-high and bring to a boil. Add the turkey and corn, reduce heat to
medium-low and simmer 10 minutes, adding the greens halfway through cooking.
Off heat, stir in the cilantro.
4. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with desired
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