Food & drink: 101 uses for a dead turkey

Christmas dinner is a doddle. Michael Bateman suggests saving up inspiration for post-Boxing Day dinners, when an international selection of recipes can help you get through the turkey glut
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1 Let's start with a recipe, Pat Chapman's Turkey Jhal Frezee (in restaurants, it's sometimes spelled jalfri.) It could have been invented to beat post-Christmas blues and comes from his book Taste of the Raj (Hodder & Stoughton pounds 16.99) - which is possibly the best of a dozen publications from this prolific recipe collector and founder of The Curry Club. Chapman is neither Indian nor was he born in India, but he does nurse a nostalgia for ancestors he never knew. His great-grandmother, for example, was orphaned in Lucknow, north India, in 1857, the year of the Mutiny. Chapman's book, with its potted his- tory of the Raj, also helps to explain our feeling for its food - dishes which were never authentic by local standards, but made a huge contribution to the British table. This doesn't just mean curries, but ketchups, relishes, pickles, spicy soups, kedgerees and recipes like the one below. In the Raj kitchen, left-over meat would be spiced with chilli (jhal means pungently hot) and stir-fried (frezee).

This dish may be made with fresh turkey, as described below (which is tastier), or with left-over cooked turkey. Part of its appeal is that it takes only 15 minutes to make.

PAT CHAPMAN'S TURKEY JHAL FREZEE

Serves four

700g/1lb 9oz turkey or chicken breast, weighed after skinning and boning

3 tablespoons ghee or oil

2 teaspoons white cumin seeds

1 tablespoon curry masala mix (see curry powder below)

3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2.5cm/1in cube ginger, shredded

2 or 3 fresh green chillies, shredded

4 or 5 spring onions, bulbs and leaves, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped red pepper

6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 or 3 tablespoons coconut milk powder

2 teaspoons garam masala (see below)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves

salt to taste

To garnish:

chopped fresh mint leaves

Cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

Heat the ghee or oil in a large wok. Add the seeds and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the curry masala, and a few splashes of water, and continue stirring for about 30 seconds more. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies and spring onions, and stir-fry for about three or four minutes, continuing to add splashes of water.

Add the chopped red pepper and the pieces of meat, and stir until the meat is evenly coloured and sizzling. Then add the tomatoes and gently sizzle for about eight minutes, adding sufficient water to keep things mobile. Now add the coconut milk powder, garam masala, fresh coriander leaves and salt to taste. After a couple more minutes frying, it should be ready. Check that the meat is completely cooked by cutting one piece in half to ensure that it is white right through. Garnish and serve.

CURRY POWDER/PASTE

Makes about 250g/9oz powder

60g/2oz coriander seeds

30g/1oz white cumin seeds

20g/23oz fenugreek seeds

25g/34oz gram flour

25g/34oz garlic powder

20g/23oz paprika

20g/23oz turmeric

20g/23oz garam masala (see below)

1 teaspoon dry ground curry leaves

1 teaspoon asafoetida

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon yellow mustard powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

To roast the first three spices heat up a wok absolutely dry on the stove. Add the three spices (together) and stir continuously. Keep stirring. They will be "roasted" after about 30 to 45 seconds. They must not burn. Remove from wok to cool, then grind finely in an electric spice mill or coffee grinder.

Mix everything together and store in an airtight lidded jar kept in a dark place.

Add water to required amount of curry powder; fry the paste in a little oil before adding other ingredients.

GARAM MASALA

Makes 400g/14oz spice mixture

140g/5oz coriander seeds

110g/4oz white cummin seeds

50g/2oz black peppercorns

30g/1oz cassia bark

30g/1oz brown cardamoms

3 teaspoons mace

20 bayleaves

3 teaspoons dry ground ginger

Mix together all the ingredients except the ground ginger. They now need roasting. To do this, heat up the wok absolutely dry on the stove. Add mixture and stir continuously. Within seconds the spices will start to give off their wonderful aroma. Keep stirring. They will be roasted enough after about a minute or two. They must not burn. Remove them from the wok to cool, then grind them as finely as you can in an electric spice mill or coffee grinder.

Add the ginger and mix everything together. Store in an airtight lidded jar, in a dark place like a cupboard.

STOCKS AND SOUPS

2 Next recipe: stock. Of all the 101 ways with a dead turkey, this must be one of the best - the nourishing liquor adding depth to many rich soups and sauces. The bones from the uncooked bird make the better stock, and you may come by these if you first dismember the bird dividing it into various parts for separate uses: the breasts for roasting; the leg meat for pies or pates. If you're recovering bones from the already cooked carcass, you can add flavour by chopping them up, placing in a roasting pan and covering with chopped onion, carrots and celery, dribbled with olive oil. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes till they brown. Then place in a big pan, add a bouquet of herbs including a bayleaf, a dozen black peppercorns and several cloves of crushed garlic, fill to the top with water and simmer over a low heat for up to two hours. Skim the surface in the early stages, especially when using fresh bones. Strain. Leave the liquid to cool, and then skim off the fat, lifting it with a paper towel. Turn out into container bowls to freeze for use in soups or sauces. Or...

3 ... make it into a consomme. Add 225g (12lb) minced chicken breast or lean steak, and simmer for half an hour. Strain, leave to cool, and then clarify by stirring in a beaten egg white. Reheat. Turn off heat and let the white foam settle on top. Then pour through a muslin cloth. Taste the clear liquid and season to taste.

4 Use the stock to make great soups such as French onion...

5 ... root vegetable soup with carrots, parsnips etc

6 ... Jerusalem artichoke soup, usually a once-a-year experience (because of their extreme windiness). Peel the tubers, and cook in the stock until mushy, puree, sieve and season, especially with black pepper and perhaps ground fenugreek which, according to Indians, reduces the wind effect

7 ... game soups, using up some of the Christmas game

8 ... port and Stilton soup

9 ... thick leek and potato soup

10 ... garlic soup (a Christmas Eve speciality in Provence)

11 ... mushroom soup: a pound of chopped mushrooms sauteed in butter, a little flour stirred in, with added milk and stock, seasoned to taste

12 ... split pea soup, the yellow peas cooked with stock till mushy, put through blender, and seasoned to taste - with a ham bone for added North Country flavour

13 ... dozens of bean soups - use a can of almost any sort of beans, except baked beans, and puree with the stock, adding seasonings to taste, spices, tomato puree, garlic, herbs, for example

14 ... broad bean soup

15 ... Italian green flageolet bean soup

16 ... or with Brazilian black beans

17 ... and Italian cannellini bean

18 ... or lentils with Christmas chestnut

19 ... or chick-peas with olive oil, garlic and Middle-Eastern spices - coriander and cumin

20 ... or cabbage soups, such as Russian

21 ... and Portuguese caldo verde made with a kale-like cabbage

22 ... or the French soup, known as garbure, a meal in itself with cabbage, potatoes, beans and preserved goose

23 ... not to mention Scotch Broth with pearl barley (it's usually made from lamb, but turkey stock is fine)

24 ... and cock-a-leekie with leeks and prunes.

25 The turkey consomme we made earlier could go into a Russian borscht with grated raw beetroot

26 ... or Italian pasta in brodo (broth)

27 ... or even a bullshot: a shot of cold, concentrated consomme (boil down a cupful of clear turkey consomme in a wide pan to required intensity) served chilled with half its volume of vodka and salt, pepper and Tabasco.

COOKING AND STUFFING

28 What about the turkey itself? Compared to goose, duck and game birds, it does lack flavour, though this may be a relief to young palates. For adults this problem can be overcome. It helps if you have ordered a turkey that's tasty in the first place. Organic, by preference, because you can be reasonably sure they have been fed decently and that, along with breed, is the key to taste. The bronze turkeys seem to have the most flavour.

29 For the rest, it's really up to the cook to bring out the best of the flavour. Keeping the bird moist as it cooks is the sure way to make it appetising. Very serious cooks wrap the bird in a sheet of buttered muslin, rubbed plentifully with softened butter. This both bastes the meat and provides insulation to prevent the bird drying out.

30 Less messy is to slip an overcoat of aluminium foil over the bird, removing it for the last half hour to brown the skin.

31 Stuff it. This keeps the bird moist inside but increases cooking time. When you calculate your minutes per pound, you must also allow for the total weight of bird plus the stuffing. See roasting times (numbers 69- 75).

32 Assume that stuffing was originally devised to make the meat go further, containing cheaper ingredients such as breadcrumbs and sausage-meat as well as liver and perhaps other bits of the bird. The Victorians used generous amounts of minced veal and pork in their stuffings, however.

33 Stuffing adds flavour to a white meat which can be both bland and tasteless. Use to introduce the taste elements you require: sweet, sour, salty or bitter.

34 For sweetness use dried fruits such as apricots...

35 ... prunes

36 ... raisins or sultanas

37 ... or nuts such as chestnuts

38 ... hazelnuts

39 ... almonds

40 ... pistachios

41 ... or cashews.

42 Introduce sharp flavours such as redcurrant jelly...

43 ... or rowanberry jelly

44 ... cranberries

45 ... lemon juice

46 ... or white wine.

47 Make it salty and savoury with the addition of truffles...

48 ... onion

49 ... mushrooms

50 ... celery

51 ... or soy sauce.

52 Consider a bitter contrast to the blandness with mustard or...

53 ... herbs such as sage

54 ... or thyme

55 ... or marjoram.

56 Rowanberry and cranberry, again, are bittersweet, too.

57 For flavour, don't hold back on fat. You need it for basting as the bird cooks. Choose butter (as above)...

58 ... or oil.

59 Introduce extra and necessary flavours and textures in the accompaniments such as a string of crispy roast chipolatas...

60 ... giblet gravy

61 ... bread sauce

62 ... roast potatoes

63 ... roast sweet potatoes

64 ... roast parsnips

65 ... wild or cultivated mushrooms

66 ... creamed celery

67 ... creamed onions

68 ... or succotash - green beans cooked with sweetcorn.

ROASTING TIMES

69 The most important rule when roasting a turkey is don't overcook it. For a 5lb (2.25kg) bird, allow one and a half hours only.

70 10lb (4.5kg) bird - 2 hours

71 15lb (6.75kg) bird - 234 hours

72 20lb (9kg) bird - 312 hours

73 25lb (11.25kg) bird - 412 hours

74 How to cook it: lay the turkey breast down in a large roasting tray, and start cooking it in a preheated oven at 400F/ 200C/Gas 6 for 30 minutes...

75 ... then turn it down to 350F/180C/ Gas 4. Baste occasionally. Turn over for last half-hour to brown the breast.

USING THE MEAT

76 So you're left with the carcass, having eaten as much of the bird as you reasonably could on Christmas Day. On Boxing Day you serve it cold, delicious with pickles and chutney, those Italian pickled fruits (mostarda), spicy relishes and horse radish.

77 You slice it into sandwiches for guests who drop by.

78 You chop up any left-over meat and turn it into a risotto.

79 You make a hash with fried onions and potatoes...

80 ... or a shepherd's/cottage pie, using some of the turkey stock.

81 You pot it, layering the meat in a jelly made with seasoned stock and some gelatins dissolved in it.

82 With a deep-freeze at your disposal, you don't even have to cook all your turkey in one go. You could roast the turkey breasts on Christmas Day, thus cutting down on cooking time (two breasts serve six to 10 depending on size), reserving the legs.

83 Keep the rest of the bird in the freezer, to use at a later date in another form such as turkey pie.

84 Or mince the leg meat to make turkey burgers for grilling. Season with Cajun spices, maybe.

85 Mince could be served with fresh cheese sauce on baked pasta ...

86 ... used as a stuffing for ravioli mixed with pesto

87 ... or as a spicy, gingery stuffing with seafood in deep-fried filo parcels.

INTERNATIONAL TURKEY

88 No turkey is actually eaten in Turkey, there being much confusion in earlier centuries about the source of these odd birds; those which came from Spain were on boats which had originally travelled from Turkey. The French called them dinde, suggesting not that they were of Indian origin (ie d'Inde) but from the West Indies. In any case, these huge birds do not appear in the cuisines of India, China or the Far East, though turkey features in The Legendary Cuisine of Persia (an award-winning book by food writer Margaret Shaida) in a 6th-century recipe in which it is stirred into a wheat porridge.

89 The US is the best bet for turkey recipes, given the meat's role in the Thanksgiving dinner (held on the last Thursday in November). As well as roasts, you will find other traditional dishes such as cooked turkey- breast slices and cooked broccoli combined and reheated in the oven for 15 minutes with a rich cheese sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs.

90 From Patience Gray's classic book Honey from a Weed, comes this mouth- watering Italian recipe using a 1kg (214lb) breast of turkey. It should be "braised in olive oil and butter in a heavy pan with two slightly crushed cloves of garlic and a sprig of thyme, then flared with Vecchio Romagna (brandy). Pour into the pan a glass of Orvieto secco and cook, tightly covered on a fairly low heat on a wire mat to spread it, for say 40 minutes, basting occasionally. At half- time add a handful of rinsed capers or some juvenile mushrooms already simmered in butter." Serve with a salad of radicchio rosso.

91 From Poland, roast turkey with raisin stuffing; raisins and bread that have been soaked in milk.

92 From Armenia, turkey stuffed with rice, apricots, almonds and hazelnuts, flavoured with basil and cinnamon.

93 From Rabat, capital of Morocco, turkey braised and browned, oven-simmered with saffron, cumin, tur-meric, paprika, crushed garlic, grated onion, and completed with a paste of green coriander.

94 From Holland, turkey gelantine: boned turkey breast, slit to make a pocket and stuffed with calf's liver sausage, bacon, pistachio nuts, with garlic, tarragon, sherry; turkey is fastened in a roll in aluminium foil and baked in the oven for half an hour. Mix the juices with a teaspoon of gelatine dissolved in hot water. When cool, slice the turkey roll, and pour on gelatine glaze.

95 From Portugal, turkey stuffed with floury mashed potatoes, pork, bacon, onion, giblets and turkey liver, black olives, and seasoned with nutmeg, bound with raw eggs.

96 From Spain, marinated turkey, pavo adobado. The bird is first cut into serving pieces, marinated overnight in white wine, with peppercorns, garlic, chopped onion; then it is drained and sauteed and cooked in a casserole in a medium hot oven with its marinade (plus cinnamon and cloves) for two hours or more.

97 Leaving the classic till last, Mexican mole poblano which can made with either pre-cooked turkey or fresh. The chilli-flavoured sauce, thickened with nuts, has a famous touch of chocolate, not that you'd notice.

MOLE POBLANO DE GUAJOLOTE

(TURKEY IN HOT CHILLI SAUCE)

This Mexican dish is served throughout the country on Sundays and festive occasions. Every village or family has its own version, varying the richness, thickness and spiciness of the sauce.

The same sauce is often poured over chicken. It is worth hunting for these chillies which are flavoursome rather than hot. For a milder dish use half the specified quantities of chilli peppers.

Serves 8

3.6kg/8lb turkey, diced

50g/2oz lard

For the sauce:

6 mulato chillies, seeded and veined

6 ancho chillies, seeded and veined

4 pasilla chillies, seeded and veined

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

450g/1lb tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped

1 stale tortilla (or 1-2 slices stale bread)

pinch ground cinnamon

small pinch ground coriander seeds

small pinch ground aniseed

85g/3oz sesame seeds

110g/4oz blanched almonds

2 tablespoons raisins

coarse salt

freshly ground pepper

50g/2oz lard

25g/1oz grated plain chocolate

Prepare all the chillies the night before by frying them in 25g (1oz) lard for around six minutes, or until their skins pucker. Place them in a bowl and cover them with water.

Cover the turkey pieces with water and boil for one hour. Drain, and keep the broth. Dry the turkey pieces, heat 50g (2oz) lard in a frying pan and brown them. Transfer the turkey to a large casserole.

In a blender combine the chillies with their liquid, the onion, garlic, tomatoes, tortilla or bread, cinnamon, coriander, aniseed, two tablespoons of sesame seeds, raisins, almonds, salt and pepper, adding turkey broth if needed to make it into a smooth puree.

Heat the remaining lard in the same frying pan used to brown the turkey. Add the puree and cook over a high heat for five minutes. Add 450ml (34pt) of the turkey broth and the chocolate and season to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour the sauce over the turkey and simmer for 10 minutes.

Garnish with the remaining sesame seeds. Serve with tortillas, boiled rice, frijoles (fried beans) and guacamole for a veritable feast. INTERNATIONAL TURKEY

88 No turkey is actually eaten in Turkey, there being much confusion in earlier centuries about the source of these odd birds; those which came from Spain were on boats which had originally travelled from Turkey. The French called them dinde, suggesting not that they were of Indian origin (ie d'Inde) but from the West Indies. In any case, these huge birds do not appear in the cuisines of India, China or the Far East, though turkey features in The Legendary Cuisine of Persia (an award-winning book by food writer Margaret Shaida) in a 6th-century recipe in which it is stirred into a wheat porridge.

89 The US is the best bet for turkey recipes, given the meat's role in the Thanksgiving dinner (held on the last Thursday in November). As well as roasts, you will find other traditional dishes such as cooked turkey- breast slices and cooked broccoli combined and reheated in the oven for 15 minutes with a rich cheese sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs.

90 From Patience Gray's classic book Honey from a Weed, comes this mouth- watering Italian recipe using a 1kg (214lb) breast of turkey. It should be "braised in olive oil and butter in a heavy pan with two slightly crushed cloves of garlic and a sprig of thyme, then flared with Vecchio Romagna (brandy). Pour into the pan a glass of Orvieto secco and cook, tightly covered on a fairly low heat on a wire mat to spread it, for say 40 minutes, basting occasionally. At half- time add a handful of rinsed capers or some juvenile mushrooms already simmered in butter." Serve with a salad of radicchio rosso.

91 From Poland, roast turkey with raisin stuffing; raisins and bread that have been soaked in milk.

92 From Armenia, turkey stuffed with rice, apricots, almonds and hazelnuts, flavoured with basil and cinnamon.

93 From Rabat, capital of Morocco, turkey braised and browned, oven-simmered with saffron, cumin, tur-meric, paprika, crushed garlic, grated onion, and completed with a paste of green coriander.

94 From Holland, turkey gelantine: boned turkey breast, slit to make a pocket and stuffed with calf's liver sausage, bacon, pistachio nuts, with garlic, tarragon, sherry; turkey is fastened in a roll in aluminium foil and baked in the oven for half an hour. Mix the juices with a teaspoon of gelatine dissolved in hot water. When cool, slice the turkey roll, and pour on gelatine glaze.

95 From Portugal, turkey stuffed with floury mashed potatoes, pork, bacon, onion, giblets and turkey liver, black olives, and seasoned with nutmeg, bound with raw eggs.

96 From Spain, marinated turkey, pavo adobado. The bird is first cut into serving pieces, marinated overnight in white wine, with peppercorns, garlic, chopped onion; then it is drained and sauteed and cooked in a casserole in a medium hot oven with its marinade (plus cinnamon and cloves) for two hours or more.

97 Leaving the classic till last, Mexican mole poblano which can made with either pre-cooked turkey or fresh. The chilli-flavoured sauce, thickened with nuts, has a famous touch of chocolate, not that you'd notice.

MOLE POBLANO DE GUAJOLOTE

(TURKEY IN HOT CHILLI SAUCE)

This Mexican dish is served throughout the country on Sundays and festive occasions. Every village or family has its own version, varying the richness, thickness and spiciness of the sauce.

The same sauce is often poured over chicken. It is worth hunting for these chillies which are flavoursome rather than hot. For a milder dish use half the specified quantities of chilli peppers.

Serves 8

3.6kg/8lb turkey, diced

50g/2oz lard

For the sauce:

6 mulato chillies, seeded and veined

6 ancho chillies, seeded and veined

4 pasilla chillies, seeded and veined

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

450g/1lb tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped

1 stale tortilla (or 1-2 slices stale bread)

pinch ground cinnamon

small pinch ground coriander seeds

small pinch ground aniseed

85g/3oz sesame seeds

110g/4oz blanched almonds

2 tablespoons raisins

coarse salt

freshly ground pepper

50g/2oz lard

25g/1oz grated plain chocolate

Prepare all the chillies the night before by frying them in 25g (1oz) lard for around six minutes, or until their skins pucker. Place them in a bowl and cover them with water.

Cover the turkey pieces with water and boil for one hour. Drain, and keep the broth. Dry the turkey pieces, heat 50g (2oz) lard in a frying pan and brown them. Transfer the turkey to a large casserole.

In a blender combine the chillies with their liquid, the onion, garlic, tomatoes, tortilla or bread, cinnamon, coriander, aniseed, two tablespoons of sesame seeds, raisins, almonds, salt and pepper, adding turkey broth if needed to make it into a smooth puree.

Heat the remaining lard in the same frying pan used to brown the turkey. Add the puree and cook over a high heat for five minutes. Add 450ml (34pt) of the turkey broth and the chocolate and season to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour the sauce over the turkey and simmer for 10 minutes.

Garnish with the remaining sesame seeds. Serve with tortillas, boiled rice, frijoles (fried beans) and guacamole for a veritable feast.

AND FINALLY...

98 Chop any remaining turkey into small pieces and stir-fry them, thus getting in the mood for the Return of Ken Hom to our screens in early January.

99 ... cat food?

100 ... dog food?

101 ... errm. Another bowl of that delicious turkey soup, please.

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