Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving and the Resulting Leftovers Recipes

This year, for the first time ever, in the twenty years Hubs and I have been married, I brined a turkey instead of roasting it.  I was a little wary of trying it, but it turned out to be EXCELLENT!  Here is the recipe/method that I used to brine our turkey:


  • 1 gallon chicken broth (I used chicken bouillon powder to reconstitute into chicken broth)
  • 3/4 C. table salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 gallon ice water


  1. In a large stock pot, combine the chicken broth/bouillon, sea salt, and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the bucket. 
  3. When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.  Sink the turkey neck first down into the brine, making sure the turkey's cavity gets filled with the brine mixture.
  4. After 12-24 hours, remove the turkey carefully, draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
  5. Cook the turkey at 350 degrees for 4-5 hours, depending on weight, and reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster than regular turkeys, so watch the temperature gauge.  Remember that the brined turkey drippings will be saltier than a regular turkey so you will have to add a lot of water for a good gravy.
With my turkey leftovers, I created two new meals:  Turkey Pot-Pie and Turkey Soup.  The recipes are as follows:

Turkey Pot-Pie
2 C. diced brined turkey
2 ribs celery diced
3 carrots peeled and diced
1 small/medium onion diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 TBSP flour
3-4 C. turkey broth/OR 8 C. chicken broth
1 qt. half & half
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 pre-made pie crust laid into pie pan or Petz Ritz Pie crust already in pie pan, NOT pre-baked
1 sheet of unbaked puff pastry

Saute' carrots, celery, onion and garlic until tender.  Sprinkle with the flour and saute' until light brown.  Add turkey broth, stirring until liquid is thickened.  Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.  Add brined turkey and cook until piping hot.  Pour turkey/veg/broth mixture into pre-made or Petz Ritz Pie crust.  Let cool 10 minutes, then top with puff pastry sheet.  Using a sharp knife, cut off corners of puff pastry sheet to make a circle, then pinch the rest of the sheet onto the bottom of the pie shell, making sure to securely seal the edges.  With a sharp knife, cut three slits into the top crust for venting.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-30 minutes, or until puff pastry is golden brown.  Let sit for 15 minutes, then slice into 6-8 portions.

Turkey Soup
3-4 C. leftover brined turkey
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 sprigs thyme, leaves peeled from the stems
1 tsp. pepper
8 C. water
1/2 pkg. dried extra wide egg noodles
6 TBSP. chicken bouillon mix (or 6 chicken bouillon cubes)
Boil chicken bouillon mix in 8 cups of water; once mixture comes to a boil, add brined leftover turkey.  Cook for at least 30 minutes to develop flavors.  In a separate pan, saute' onion, celery, carrots and garlic until tender.  Add to broth and bring to a boil.  Once mixture comes to a full boil, add in egg noodles.  Turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.  Soup is ready once egg noodles are fork-tender.
This is a modified version of my Grandma Sammon's chicken soup.  I use this recipe at least 3-4 times a month as a soup-starter for different kinds of soup--anything from regular chicken soup to Mexican foods to Polish foods.  It's an extremely versatile recipe!

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