Friday, November 25, 2011

Leftover Turkey Jambalaya

It's officially a tradition (2 years running)! Glutenless Goddess hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for our friends and brines a turkey using my recipe. At the end of the night, she lets me take the scraps (a couple of cups of dark meat and the carcass). Then, the next day, I invite everyone over to my place and make a giant pot of jambalaya with the leftover turkey and stock made from the bones.

I really like the idea of using every last bit of the turkey and creating something that really takes advantage of its flavor. I use my usual brown rice chicken and sausage jambalaya recipe, and just sub in turkey meat and turkey stock for the chicken and stock. It is really the best jambalaya I've made. Turkey is even better than chicken in this recipe because of its extra richness and slightly bolder, gamier flavor. Dark meat is best in the jambalaya because it stands up to lots of cooking without getting bland or dry. Plus, most people prefer white meat (not me!), so there's always lots of dark meat leftover.

I'm going to bestow one of my favorite tips upon you: make stock in a slow cooker. The best thing about this stock is it's virtually free, made with stuff most people throw away! It takes one minute to set up. All you need is bones and water. A turkey carcass should just about fill up a medium to large stockpot. I do this with chicken too. In that case, I hoard chicken carcasses that I've roasted in the freezer until I've accumulated 2 or 3. You might have to break the breastbone down or smash some of the big pieces into smaller pieces. This is only mildly disturbing to do. The object is to squish down the bones enough so the lid will close and you can cover them with water. Many stock recipes call for adding aromatics like onion, garlic, and herbs to your stock. I prefer to just cook bones and water and have a neutral-flavored stock. I can add whatever flavors I want when I add it to a dish. Set the slow cooker for as long a time as you can wait. After it stops cooking, leave the cover off for about an hour or so to let it reduce and cool. Then strain and skim off the fat. Freeze in baggies or containers in manageable increments of a cup or two.

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