And now another word about bird.
Chances are there are still somewhere between 12 and 20 pounds of turkey still left in your fridge. Chances are also that it’s pretty dry by now… it’s old, you overcooked it, you didn’t feel like brining it again… bla bla. Anyway, you can only eat so many turkey sandwiches before you move on to any other dish you can think of to stew your leftover turkey in. I turned to curry…
I decided I wanted to cook the turkey into the curry – I wanted to stew it instead of having big, still dry chunks of meat. I also decided that I wanted a sort-of winter-ish, holiday season-y curry with lots of spice flavors and a little bit of sweetness.
I also needed rice. Stef recently got me hip to mixing different types of rice together, which I had never even thought of before… I like brown rice alright and I know it’s healthier but I just can’t get into eating whole bowls of it – the texture just doesn’t do it for me. At the same time, sometimes a ton of sticky white rice is a little bit overwhelming too… so I’ve taken to mixing about half and half, brown jasmine rice and white short-grained Japanese or Korean rice. I would have thought the cooking times and water needs wouldn’t work out but somehow it just does. I don’t ask questions – I just pop the rice cooker shut and let it do its thing – magic.
So I made my half and half rice and to go along with the seasonally spiced curry, I tossed half a cinnamon stick and a couple of smashed cardamom pods in with the rice and set it to do its thing.
Brief interlude – after dicing my vegetables and preparing my ingredients, I took the skin from the giant turkey breast I was planning to use, spread it on a piece of foil and tossed it under the broiler on the low setting. We’ll come back to that later…
I started with butter, simmered it for a bit and skimmed the foam a couple of times (the lazy man’s ghee). I tossed in a cinnamon stick, a couple of cardamom pods and some red pepper flakes. Then I threw in finely diced red onion, also fairly finely diced celery (because there’s always a ton of that leftover too) and some grated ginger. Sauteed that until it was all soft, tossed in the roughly chopped turkey, sprinkled it all liberally with garam masala and a little bit of turmeric, and tossed it all around a bit.
If you’re following along in the kitchen, duck down low now and flip that skin that’s starting to burn in the broiler… and back to the curry.
Now comes the good stuff – turkey stock that I made Thanksgiving night after dinner with my leftover turkey carcass (you could easily substitute canned stock or whatever you have – I just love the idea of using one more thing from that same turkey to tie it all together) and roasted cashews that I ground into a paste to thicken the curry. Nuts are a really great way to thicken sauces and add some extra depth at the same time.
And then comes the seasoning – salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, a little bit of sugar, and some molasses. Yes, molasses. I don’t know why, it just seemed right. I have no good explanation at all except it was in the cabinet and seemed like a good idea at the time. It seemed to go with the spices I was using and the holiday theme, so I went for it. This all simmered for around 5-10 minutes while it cooked down a bit and got to the thickness I wanted it.
Shit! Grab that burning skin in the broiler!
At the last minute I decided to toss in some bok choy that I also had leftover from last week. That also turned out to be a good call because the curry needed some green and it needed some crunch – the bok choy brought it. Simmered this for a few minutes more and then it was ready to go.
Rice. Curry. Top with crispy skin. Eat.
Very loose recipe/list of ingredients in order of appearance:
– 1/2 cup brown rice
– 1/2 cup white rice
– 2 table spoons butter
– half of a cinnamon stick
– 2 cardamom pods
– 1 small red onion
– 1 decent size stalk of celery
– 1/2″ nub of ginger, finely grated
– turkey skin!
– 1-2 cups or so of cooked turkey, roughly chopped
– 1 table spoon or so garam masala
– 1 tea spoon ground turmeric
– 1/2 cup cashews ground to a paste
– salt, pepper, cayenne
– 1 tea spoon molasses
– 1 cup chopped bok choy
Follow steps above to create delicious turkey curry. Don’t burn the skin. Don’t forget to stir. Omit whatever you don’t have. Add whatever you do. Freestyle like you’re Eminem in 8 Mile.