Last year about this time, I wrote about discarded turkey carcasses and explored how very easy it is to make turkey stock. If you've not adopted the habit yet, I highly recommend it and you can read all about it at Eat This Now, Seasonal Pantry's companion blog at <a href="http://pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com" target="_blank">pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com</a>.
If there is a lot of meat still on the carcass, it makes sense to cut it or pull it off before you simmer the bones. The reason some people don't is that they don't know how and often don't want to admit it. You can ask for help or you can use well-washed hands to simply pull off as much meat as possible. It's not difficult.
Once you have the meat, use it for salads, tacos, enchiladas, sandwiches, quiche, soups, stews, chili, mol? risotto, gumbo and any other dishes in which you use turkey stock. Leftover turkey is so good and so versatile that many people I know buy a much larger bird than dinner warrants just so they'll have plenty left.
Today's recipes focus on the dishes I'm looking forward to making this year, after the feast is but a lovely memory. Happy Thanksgiving!
Wild rice has a beautifully earthy flavor that pairs beautifully with turkey, especially the darker meat. I prefer this salad with pomegranates but it is also delicious with cranberry relish; just substitute one-half cup of homemade cranberry relish for the cup of pomegranate arils and make the dressing with cranberry vinegar and juice instead of pomegranate vinegar and juice. Both are readily available in most markets these days.
<strong>Wild Rice Salad with Roast Turkey, Pomegranates & Walnuts</strong>
<em> Makes 4 to 6 servings</em>
1 cup wild rice
— Kosher salt
— Pomegranate Vinaigrette, recipe follows
2 cups roasted turkey meat, torn into small pieces
1 cup fresh pomegranate arils
1/2 cup shelled walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
— Black pepper in a mill
Put the rice into a medium saucepan, add 3 cups of water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes before uncovering. Turn the rice out into a large salad bowl, fluff it with a fork and set it aside to cool.
While the rice cooks, make the vinaigrette.
To finish the salad, add the turkey, pomegranates and walnuts to the rice and toss gently. Add the dressing and the herbs and toss again. Season with several turns of black pepper, taste, correct for salt and serve immediately.
This recipe is adapted from one in "Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings" (Harvard Common Press, 2013). I've reduced the amount so that you have just enough for this salad. It is very easy to extract the juice of a pomegranate; just crush the arils in a large mortar or suribachi and then strain the juice into a glass or cup. It takes mere moments.