Getting a fancy dinner out of your leftover’s leftovers

If you’re American, you’re probably all turkey’d out from Thanksgiving celebrations. If you’re Canadian, Thanksgiving’s long gone but still lives on in your freezer, and you’re most likely exhausted by the idea of Christmas on the way (the massive meals, the cocktails, the family reunion marathon).

You’ve eaten the left over turkey already and had a night off cooking wise. But as I mentioned in my earlier article on homemade stock, that turkey (or chicken) carcass still has great use, and can make you look like a leftover miracle maker.  Of course if you aren’t up for making home made broth, reduced sodium store-bought broth will work just fine (though it won’t really be leftovers then, will it?).

So here’s a spin on a leftovers dinner using your Turkey/chicken broth.

I’ve thrown in two simple salads because that gravy and mashed potato combo in your gut is begging for veggies – but don’t worry, there’s cheese involved, so it’ll still be delicious. Serve some wine and set a table in front of the TV and you’re good to go.

Leek and Girasoli soup:

  • Leftover broth (enough to put about 1 ½ – 2 cups per bowl)
  • 1 Girasoli (filled with ricotta and spinach) per person (home made fresh pasta, home made by the store…) Any other stuffed pasta will do, though I like that the Girasoli is large and fills up the bottom of the bowl. Ravioli would be great also.
  • 1 large leek, split in two parts length-wise and sliced
  • A dollop of olive oil to cook the leek
  • Fresh chopped chives
  • A little bit of parmigiano reggiano for seasoning
  • Ground pepper & salt for seasoning

Set your broth on the stovetop to heat and let simmer.

Heat a high edged pan and add a touch of olive oil before tossing in the chopped leek. Cook until tender and translucent. Remove from heat & reserve.

Using the same pan, add water and bring to a boil (using a pan here rather than a pot makes it easier to boil the large Girasoli and minimizes the quantity of dishes to be done).

Boil the Girasoli for about 5 minutes and remove from boiling water with a spatula or spoon with holes.

Place the pasta at the bottom of each service bowl and add cooked leek atop. Before serving, add broth, ground pepper, chives and parmigiano reggiano. Serve with spoon, fork and knife.

Girasoli cookingGirasoli

Girasoli & leekGirasoli & leek with broth

Burrata & green tomato salad:

  • A few tomatoes to your liking (I got green ones just for fun)
  • Chopped herbs (I used parsley and leftover chives from my soup)
  • A burrata cheese or buffala split into 2 portions (or more if you’re more people, half a burratta is a hearty portion for one person)
  • A drizzle of olive oil on each plate
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut your tomatoes whichever way you prefer. Add salt and pepper. Place Burratta cheese atop the tomatoes and add herbs & olive oil before serving.

Burrata cheese

Burrata & tomato salad

Endive salad with sweet and sour dressing:

  • Endives (I used 3 and that was ample, if not too much salad for the two of us)
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon
  • 1 garlic clove crushed and finely chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Ground pepper

Mix all of the acids & the garlic together first. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and finish by adding the maple syrup & ground pepper.

Chop the endives leaving out the hard end and toss into a large bowl with the dressing before serving.

Endive salad sweet and sour dressing

Since I didn’t have all that turkey this week-end, I cheated and added rillettes de canard and rillons with toasted rye bread to our TV dinner. It was my first time trying rillons, which is a piece of baked smokey pork belly resembling lard, (I bought it ready made). The French just slice it and serve it as appetizer nibbles, hot or cold… though I must admit that I had a piece and reserved the rest for some wicked brunch instead, where I’ll cook this stuff in the pan like bacon. Having it the “traditional” way was good, but a little on the raw fatty side for my liking. Maybe I would have preferred it as an appetizer if it had been cut into very thin slices with a charcuterie meat cutter (like this #happytizer from l’Avant Comptoir), and if the meat had been warm rather than cold, but this is my personal opinion on a first try. The rillettes, however, are always a good bet.

Rillettes & rillons combo #French


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Categories: Food


Aspiring food writer, serious traveler, media enthusiast and communications specialist from Montréal, Canada. Follow me on twitter @aalavoie

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