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Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2004 03:57 pm

The day after


Travis Schutte and Dave Linn, co-owners of Secret Recipes Inc. of Chatham, were up to their elbows in turkeys in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. They prepared more than 85 complete turkey dinners for customers who wanted to eat a home-cooked meal at home without having to cook.

But having lots of leftover turkey isn't a problem for the two chefs. They see it as the perfect excuse to make turkey noodle soup with egg noodles, corn, celery, onion, and turkey stock. Mashed potatoes are added to the soup to thicken it. "You can make a large pot and it will last a while," Schutte says. "Our soups are very popular."

They suggest other ways to use extra turkey: turkey Devonshire (toast points topped with sliced turkey, cheese sauce, and bacon), pulled-turkey barbecue (honey, Cajun seasoning, and your favorite barbecue sauce, mixed together, heated, and poured over turkey pieces and served on a roll), and turkey divine (turkey with broccoli and creamy cheese sauce).

"These are ideas that you can do at home. You can do anything you want with turkey -- it's like chicken, basically," Schutte says.

For culinary expert Julianne Glatz, leftover turkey is a perfect excuse to make scrapple, a fried cornmeal dish containing turkey stock, bread stuffing, cooked turkey, and gravy. The dish is "very Americana," she says, something she always looked forward to as a child and still enjoys today. The recipe was given to her by friends of her grandparents' who originally made it with pork during butchering season.

After the big meal is over and all that's left is a half-eaten bowl of cranberry relish, a few bites of stuffing, and a cold bowl of mashed potatoes, you'll feel as if you'll never eat again. Oh, but you will.

And for those who can't stand the thought of one more turkey sandwich, there are plenty of interesting recipes to perk up the palate that won't taste like Thanksgiving warmed over. Here are just a few:

Curried turkey and dried cranberry salad

Chopped cooked turkey, smoked or roasted
Dried cranberries
Vodka or orange liqueur (e.g., Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec; optional)
Minced canned jalapeño peppers (optional)
Curry powder
Slivered almonds (or natural pistachios), toasted in a 350ûF oven
until lightly browned (about five minutes)

Mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder with 1/2 cup mayonnaise, which should be enough for 2 cups of turkey. Curry powders vary widely in their intensity, both in heat and flavor; judge accordingly. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon minced peppers, if you are using them, to the mayonnaise. (I like to use about 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds. If at all possible, add them just before serving the dish). If you're using the recipe as an hors d'oeuvre, mince the turkey. If it's to be used as a sandwich filling, chop the turkey more coarsely. For 2 cups turkey, use about 1/3 cup dried cranberries. If desired, toss the cranberries with 1 tablespoon of the vodka or orange liqueur, cover them, and microwave for 1 minute.

Serve salad as a sandwich filling or as an hors d'oeuvre with crackers or toast points. A nice presentation: Put tablespoons of the salad in individual Belgian-endive leaves or apple slices and arrange them in concentric circles on a round platter.

-- Courtesy of Julianne Glatz, Real Cuisine

Turkey stock

After the holiday feast, save the turkey bones for broth or soup. Leg, thigh, and wing bones and the main breastbone and backbone are excellent sources of a broth base for soup. If you have neither the time nor the inclination to make soup immediately after the hassle of the holidays, freeze the bones in a zip-closure bag for soup on a later date.

Turkey carcass and all bones from leftover turkey
2 coarsely chopped carrots
1 celery rib with leaves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley, with stems
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Water or canned chicken broth (if you are short on bones)

Break up the turkey bones and place them in a large pot. Add the remaining ingredients and cover with 2 quarts water, canned broth, or a combination of the two. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, skimming, for 2 hours. Strain and boil down to 1 quart.

-- From the University of Illinois Extension Service

Turkey and Black Bean Wraps

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 10-ounce can of tomatoes with green chilies
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
12 flour tortillas

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell peppers, garlic, oregano, and cumin; cook, stirring, until pepper softens, about five minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and vinegar; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet; add turkey and sprinkle with chili powder. Heat and stir for about five minutes. Cover and set aside.

With the back of a spoon, coarsely mash some of the beans. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet or microwave. Spoon bean filling onto tortillas and layer with seasoned turkey. Wrap and serve. Makes six servings.

-- From the University of Illinois Extension Service

Just the facts

• Turkey's good for you. Turkey is low in fat, high in protein, and an inexpensive source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins.

• Watch out for the other stuff. If you're brave, calculate the calories, total fat, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in your Thanksgiving Day meal using the University of Illinois Nutrition Analysis Tool: www.ag.uiuc.edu/~food-lab/nat.

• Remember, nothing lasts forever. Here's how long you should store leftovers in the refrigerator:

Roast turkey: three or four days
Stuffing: one or two days
Giblet gravy: one or two days
Cranberry relish (homemade or canned): five to seven days
Baked ham: three to five days
Cooked vegetables: three to five days
Fruit desserts and pie: three to five days

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