The scent of it roasting in the oven has filled your kitchen with a mouthwatering perfume for hours until, golden brown, it is taken from its incubator and brought to the table: the Thanksgiving turkey.
Bring on the knives!
About an hour later, all that remains are a few errant slices and shreds and the bones of a naked carcass. Poor Tom. We hardly knew ye.
But there's no reason that the leftovers can't be the basis for yet more Thanksgiving deliciousness. Chef Francine Marz, Director of the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College says that those bits of bird can be the basis for meals that satisfy long after the last parade and bowl game on TV.
- Turkey soup, which can be either cream- or broth-based for a variety of taste combos. "I use whole wheat noodles in the broth-based version," Marz says. "They seem to hold up better."
- The classic turkey sandwich: open faced and topped with stuffing and gravy. Marz bumps these up a culinary notch, however, by recommending the nontraditional approach of a grilled turkey Panini with brie or Fontina cheese and cranberry sauce. Or even a turkey and avocado BLT. Mmm.
- Tuck that tender breast meat under a blanket of pie crust, marry it with some vegetables and pop it into the oven. The result is a tempting turkey pot pie. For a true time-saver, though, Marz advises, "Make the creamy version of turkey soup for one night's dinner, and then use that to create a pot pie for the next night. You've gotten two meals out of the effort needed for one."
- Take your bird south of the border with Southwest turkey tacos, turkey tostadas, turkey chili, or turkey enchiladas.
- And then there's the good old comfort food of layered turkey casserole or turkey shepherd's pie.
The Culinary Arts Institute offers a hearty serving of demonstration classes, including several that are timed to ease the task of entertaining during the holidays. The Pursuit recently blogged about its memorable - and delicious - experience attending one; the roster for December is here.
The notion that the tryptophan in turkey leads to after-dinner drowsiness is not altogether true; turkey, it turns out, has about the same level of the amino acid as other meats. So the real culprit of those droopy eyes after you push back from the Thanksgiving dinner table is probably all the carbs that accompanied the turkey.
Regardless, if your idea of a perfect end to a delightful meal with family and friends is to make a pilgrimage to an area hotel, consider the recommendations on our website. If nothing else, you'll be in a prime spot to hit the turf running at the Black Friday sales at the area malls like King of Prussia.