Leftover Turkey Curry

Leftover turkey got you flummoxed? You can pretty much throw all your Thanksgiving leftovers into this delicious curry. And then invite us over to eat it.

I don’t mean to get all romance-novel on you or anything but you know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you just know that something is right? Like it’s just the most perfect version of whatever it’s meant to be? That’s what it felt like the day, so many years ago now, when Matt said the words. Those perfect, beautiful words.

“Should I whip up a curry with the thanksgiving leftovers?”

Sigh.

Of course I said yes! I’m no fool.

We were still living in Astoria at the time, in an apartment that in all fairness can only be described as a “goat infested rat-hole”.  The place was grim. It was dark all the time because there was only about a foot of space between our our windows and the building next door (although when I didn’t have cable, I appreciated being able to see my neighbor’s TV from my couch. I think we watched a whole season of The Sopranos “together”).

Leftover Turkey Curry

Anyway, back to the magic curry. It was one of the first Thanksgivings we had spent together and even in that tiny, tenement-barbie oven we had managed to cook a full-sized turkey, roast potatoes, brussels sprouts and pearl onions. We ended up with way more leftovers that we knew what to do with. After a couple of days we had gone through all the usual suspects (turkey sandwiches, turkey and stuffing hash with eggs, etc), but somehow we still had what looked like half a turkey left and we were both getting mighty sick of it.

So Matt’s curry was perfect. It was spicy and warm and the flavor profile was so different from “thanksgiving” that it felt like a whole new thing even though 95% of it were the same ingredients we had been heating up for days. And let me tell you, he threw all the leftovers into that pot. Sprouts, potatoes, butternut squash. And it was amazing. See? Magic.

And since everything is pretty much cooked already, the whole thing takes about 20 minutes to throw together. Easy peasy.

Nerd Tips:

  • Don’t chop the turkey pieces too small or they will fall apart.
  • The amount of liquid you need depends on how much stuff you throw in so have a little extra stock on hand, just in case.
  • If you don’t do dairy, you could use coconut milk instead of cream.
  • I sometimes finely grind a 1/2 cup of almonds and add it to the sauce to thicken it even more.
  • This is also perfect with leftover roast chicken.
  • A heavy-bottomed dutch oven is perfect for this but you could use a deep, wide skillet as well.  Make sure you have enough room to stir without spill-over.
  • I like Sun Brand Madras curry powder but use whatever one you like best. Of course you could make your own blend if you roll like that.

Leftover Turkey Curry

Quick, Simple and Delicious Leftover Turkey Curry
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite curry powder (I like Sun Brand Madras)
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 4 - 5 cups roast turkey or chicken, roughly chopped
  • 1 - 2 cups of any leftover roasted vegetables (brussels sprouts, potatoes, squash)
  • ½ cup flaked almonds, toasted
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large dutch oven or large skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is very soft, being careful not to burn the curry.
  2. Add the stock and the cream and bring to the boil. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 - 7 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced. Stir in the yogurt and the lemon juice. Add the peas, the roasted vegetables and the cooked turkey, fold in and simmer to heat through. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro and serve immediately.