I’m guessing you’ve already used your leftover Christmas turkey.
In a perfect world, I would have posted this recipe while you still had turkey in your fridge, and were looking for ways to use it. In a less perfect world, I’d shrug my shoulders and keep the recipe until next December.
But I have a great turkey recipe, and a great story to go with it, and neither can wait another eleven months.
Here’s the story:
For Christmas this year we had a small family gathering, so I requested a 12 to 14 pound turkey. When I went to pick it up, the assistant butcher searched high and low behind the counter. He conferred with the main butcher, who joined him in the hunt as I watched and waited.
They finally joined me at the counter and told me the expected smaller turkeys hadn’t come in yet that day. Hence, they had nothing smaller than a 20 pound bird. However, they’d give it to me for the price of 14 pounds. Which meant I had two things: a well-priced turkey that barely squeezed into my roasting pan; and a lot of leftover meat.
The next day, I pulled out my turkey tetrazzini recipe, the one I make every December. We love this casserole, but it’s equally terrific when made with leftover chicken – or with chicken cooked especially for the purpose of tetrazzini. Which means you (and I) don’t have to wait until next Christmas to enjoy it!
Turkey (or Chicken) Tetrazzini
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
Note: If you have loads of leftover turkey, double the recipe for two casseroles. The second one freezes really well, and makes an easy meal later.
1/3 pound (about 140 grams) linguine, broken in half
1 Tbsp butter (first amount)
3/4 pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4” thick
salt and pepper
2 - 3 Tbsp butter (second amount; use just enough to make a nice paste with the flour)
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups grated white cheddar or parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, cubed
1/2 cup frozen peas
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta until just al dente; drain and rinse in cold water (to prevent sticking) before draining again.
In the meantime, melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, about 6 – 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
To make sauce, melt remaining butter in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Continuing to stir, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and add 1 cup of the cheese and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
In the pasta pot, add sauce, chicken, peas and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. Pour into a shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
If baking now, bake about 30 minutes.
If freezing, let casserole cool to room temperature before covering with foil and putting in the freezer. To cook at a later date, place frozen casserole in a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour (longer if you aren’t using a shallow dish).