Monday, 7 December 2009

The 21st Century Housewife's© Creamy Christmas Turkey with Rice

I love leftovers - anticipating well in advance what I will do with them - so Christmas is a great time for me. It's the season of leftover everything - and the only limit is my imagination! The key to using up your leftovers is to be sure to cool them quickly and refrigerate them promptly. This keeps them fresh, safe and appealing. Also remember to buy extra fresh vegetables so that you can use them creatively with your leftovers - after all, you can only eat so many sandwiches!

Because the cream sauce is pale and delicate, I use only light meat turkey for this recipe. It's reminiscent of Chicken A La King, but with a much more evolved flavour and texture. Please don't omit the nutmeg - it adds a fantastic hit of spice that suggests Christmas, but is not immediately identifiable. It's one of those - "what is that?" flavours that takes a recipe from good to great.

It goes without saying that this works very well with leftover cooked chicken too. And please do not feel you have to make the stock from scratch, ready made or from a cube is fine.

To serve four people you need:-

2 tbsp butter (unsalted if possible)
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock (you may not need it all)
½ cup light cream or half and half (again you may not need it all)
Leftover white meat turkey – roughly 2 cups chopped
1 red pepper
3 – 4 leeks, washed, thinly sliced and drained
1 cup frozen peas, measured into a cup and set aside to thaw a bit
½ tsp dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the leeks and cook slowly, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook the leeks in the butter, the softer and more meltingly tender they will get. If you can leave them for about fifteen minutes that is wonderful. If you are in a hurry, ten will do.

Sprinkle the flour over the leeks and stir to coat. Add the stock gradually, stirring and allowing the sauce to thicken after each addition. You want it to be fairly thick, but remember you still have cream to add, so don't feel you have to add all the stock. Just go slowly.

Meanwhile, cook enough rice four people in boiling water according to package directions. (I usually find about a cup and a half of rice is more than enough for four, but check the package directions.)

Add the red pepper to the creamy leeks and sauce and cook for about five minutes. Add more stock if necessary.

Now add the turkey, frozen peas, oregano, nutmeg and about half the cream. Stir together and heat over low heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally if necessary. After about five minutes, add more cream if you feel it needs it. You want a nice consistency; not too runny, not too thick.

When you get your desired consistency and everything is heated through, take a small spoonful to taste. (Careful, it's hot!). Add salt and pepper if necessary. (I highly recommend a bit of pepper, but I've always skipped adding any more salt to this recipe. However taste is a personal thing so you should do as you like - except if you are on a low-sodium diet - in which case, please be good and don't add any salt! )

Serve the Creamy Christmas Turkey on a bed of rice.