Saturday, May 07, 2016

Using Up Roasted Turkey

This should probably be a post for November, but the truth is that I love turkey and eat it year 'round. With the easy availability now of turkey parts at my local market, it's easy to pick up a pack of turkey thighs and cook them in the toaster oven until roasted. Since my toaster oven is located in my studio, away from the house, this works well when the temperature is in the upper 80s as it was earlier in the week.

Once the initial dinner of roast, sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and peas passed, I still had plenty of turkey to use and it was more easily cut into chunks than sliced. Perfect for putting into a pasta sauce. In the past I've made a cream based pasta sauce with herbs and mushrooms, so I decided to try that but to use rice milk and soy creamer instead of milk, creating my own recipe as I went along.

It worked really well and since I included fresh rosemary along with dried thyme and sage, plus a large amount of green garlic (a gift from a neighbor), it was pungent in fragrance as well as delightful in flavor. Because this kind of sauce can be a bit staid, even with all of those ingredients, I used two strips of local bacon for added depth of flavor. I cooked the bacon first and used the drippings (after removing the bacon itself) to saute the mushrooms, celery and green garlic.

This made a wonderful pasta sauce and went well with a fresh green salad embellished with orange segments, avocado and a balsamic dressing. Although I did use gluten free pasta, I used regular flour for the sauce. I've figured out that I need to keep my gluten down to a low level but don't have to eliminate it altogether. If you do, just substitute a GF flour mix in the sauce and cut back the milk by a couple of tablespoons. Then, once the liquid has thickened, add more if needed to make the sauce the consistency you like.

Turkey Mushroom Pasta Sauce with Green Garlic

2 strips of bacon, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1/2 cup finely chopped tender green garlic bulb (no roots or skin or tough parts)
(if green garlic not available, used 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, plus 2-3 minced garlic cloves)
2 cups diced (bite sized) cooked turkey
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 tespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rice milk or other non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons soy creamer, unsweetened and unflavored
salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy bottomed pot cook the bacon over medium-low heat until browned and fat rendered. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon to a piece of paper towel to drain.

Increase heat to medium-high and add the celery. Stir to coat with oil. Cook, uncovered 1 minute, stirring as needed. Add the mushrooms, stir to combine with the celery, cover, and cook 3 minutes. Remove cover, stir well, cover and cook 1 more minute. Uncover, stir in the green garlic, cover, lower heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir in the turkey, thyme, sage and rosemary. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning or sticking.

In a large measuring cup, whisk the milk into the flour slowly to avoid clumping. Uncover the pot, raise heat to medium, and pour the milk mixture in all at once. Immediately stir vigorously to combine all the ingredients in the pot with the milk mixture and continue stirring until the liquid thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat to lowest setting and cook 1 minute to combine flavors. Uncover, add the soy creamer if needed to make the sauce the consistency you like.

Serve over cooked pasta or rice. Sprinkle each serving with chopped Italian parsley if desired.

Serves 4.

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