We won’t waste a scrap of pastured turkey

After years of shopping sales at Thanksgiving to get her turkey for free, my mom made an about-face this year and purchased a bird raised on pasture near Bandon.

The 18-pound bird cost about $75, which included some of the farm’s first fresh cranberries. At that price, we vowed to use every bit of it, starting by boiling the neck for stock to thin the gravy. Although this is a basic maneuver for many cooks, my mom usually doesn’t bother.

She not only used the rich liquid but added the tender neck meat to the stuffing. I feasted on the large liver fried in garlic butter for breakfast Thanksgiving morning.

On the farmers’ advice, she also took the time to brine the bird a day ahead and test-drove a new countertop roaster to keep the meat extra moist. Packing a little herbed compound butter under the skin, we had the most flavorful, moist turkey in Thanksgiving history before my mom even realized it was ready.

A countertop roaster, we found, cooks meat faster than a conventional oven. Of course, it helped that this bird had never been frozen.   

With such delicious turkey to savor, I’m brainstorming ways to extend the turkey this week, starting with last night’s quinoa-black bean bowls. A story on our Holiday101 page gives step-by-step instructions for potpie (this one has bacon). I’ll likely pull up a favorite recipe for creamed turkey crepes. And sandwiches are always contenders, provided they put a fresh spin on the seasonal flavors rather than just repeating the big feast.

Here’s a recipe courtesy of McClatchy News Service that does just that. It reminds me of a take on the leftover turkey sandwich that was featured on Food Network’s “Giada at Home.” Leftover cranberry sauce became the base for Giada’s barbecue sauce to coat the turkey. Then she topped it with apple-celery slaw.

In this dish, fresh cranberries become chutney, and the slaw is constructed from sliced Brussels sprouts and carrots.       

Db Bistro Moderne’s Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup orange juice

1 pound fresh cranberries, rinsed

1 tablespoon peeled and freshly grated ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts

1/4 cup grated carrots

1/2 small red onion, peeled and minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

6 toasted brioche buns

1 pound leftover roasted turkey, thinly sliced

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar and maple syrup, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Carefully add the orange juice and bring to a simmer. Add the cranberries, ginger and spices. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Check consistency, occasionally adding water if necessary (sauce should be thick, but not so a spoon will stand upright in it). Chill.

In a medium bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, carrots, and onion with the mayonnaise and vinegar to combine; season to taste with the salt and pepper. Chill, covered, for at least an hour before serving.

Spread cranberry chutney onto bottoms of the freshly toasted brioche buns. Divide the turkey on top. Top turkey with slaw and place bun tops on sandwiches.

Makes 6 servings.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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