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THE LEFTOVERS: TURKEY RED CURRY IN PUMPKIN BOWLS
There are a lot of delicious (and not delicious) way to use up turkey leftoversbeyond the AMAZING sandwiches you can make. I try to look for ways that are outside of the typical “American palate” because, let’s face it. you just ate the pinnacle of American dinners.
Turkey enchiladas would be great or how about a Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich using stuffing in place of the pâté and topped with quick pickled carrots and radish, cilantro and jalapeños… YUM! I grew up with turkey noodle soup with stock made from the leftover turkey carcass. Turkey in red curry with cashews is my alternative to that. is my alternative.
This recipe by Bull Chef, Jeff Parker, is a delicious and nontraditional way to use up leftover turkey and vegetables post Thanksgiving BTW – it would also be great with most leftover meat, poultry, or seafood... or even a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. I love the idea of grill roasting the stew in pumpkins because you can eat the bowl. You can do this in a number of winter squashes.
I tested sweet pie pumpkins and both red and green kabocha squash. The green kabocha took the longest to cook and, although I enjoyed the flavor of the red kabocha the most, it too took awhile to cook. My recommendation is definitely the sweet pie pumpkins for shortest cooking time, flavor and it is readily available in most grocery stores this time of year.
4 to 6 sweet pie pumpkins, red kabocha squash, or other similar sized winter squash
For red curry broth:
2 tablespoons coconut or canola oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Fresno or jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 to 4 tablespoon prepared red curry paste
2 cans (15 ounces each) coconut milk
1 cup chicken, turkey or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Juice and grated zest from 1 lime
½ cup chopped herbs - basil, cilantro, and/or mint + more for garnish
2 to 3 cups diced or shredded turkey
½ cup cashews
2 to 3 cups leftover vegetables (or see below**)
Lime wedges, for serving
Cut tops from squash or pumpkins and scrape out seeds and pulp; if necessary slice a very small amount from the bottoms so they won't fall over. Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet on high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and jalapeno and stir fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add curry paste and stir fry for another minute. Stir in coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, sesame oil. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. If using fresh vegetables, add them now and simmer for a few minutes until just al dente.
Set up grill for indirect heat cooking with medium-high heat.
Stir the lime juice and zest, herbs, turkey, cashews, and leftover vegetables into the curry. Ladle curry into the pumpkins and place on grill away from the heat. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the tops (no need to do individually) and close the grill cover. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the flesh of the pumpkin can be easily pierced with a sharp knife. Carefully remove from grill and serve plated with lime wedges and a hit of fresh herbs.
**Ideas for extra vegetables if not enough leftover (choose as many as you like):
Japanese eggplants, ½-inch dice
red bell pepper, chopped
russet potato or sweet potato, peeled and ½-inch diced
Large handful for green beans or snow peas
cups baby spinach