WRITTEN ON November 30th, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Dinner, Holiday, Italian, Leftovers, Pasta, Turkey

Our Thanksgiving was everything I’d hoped it would be. A house full of family, an adorable and well behaved baby girl, a long morning walk, a gorgeous table (she said as she pats herself on the back), and heaps of good food.  We had roast turkey and deep fried turkey. It rained, so we had to deep fry in the garage, which didn’t stop us from drinking Long Trails and gazing into a vat of hot oil, fingers crossed and fire extinguishers at the ready. We gorged on fluffy mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing, buttered green beans, almond topped sweet potatoes, my jack’n’cran sauce, soft rolls, and my family’s Maryland-style tradition, tangy saurkraut baked with onions and apples. All smothered in my favorite part of the meal, a rich gravy laced with white wine. Everyone contributed, and by the time the pies and magic bars were served with coffee, we were content, sleepy, and not all that focused on the Jets game (though I heard they won.)

Friday dawned crisp and cold, and I couldn’t wait for everyone to get the hell out and give me my house back.  Ooops.  Sorry family.  Love ya!

My turkey sized secret? I’ve never been big on leftovers. Especially when I’m the one who has cooked the meal in the first place. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, there are two things I avoid at all costs: malls and turkey.  I steered clear of the fridge all day, craving nachos, pizza, sushi, in that order. Over the weekend we did a lot of drinking and laughing and holiday-partying, but very little eating.  So it wasn’t till Sunday night that I made one of the few dishes I actually do crave post-tryptophan coma: turkey tetrazzini.

This dish is a total throwback.  As I put it together, I felt like I should be wearing pumps and a frilly apron.  My mom (who never wore either of those things) made this every year, would sometimes freeze it and pull it out on a cold night in February when we weren’t thoroughly sick of turkey. Don’t be deterred by it’s kitschy quality.  While I’m sure there are lots of terrifying versions of this dish out there involving cans of cream of mushroom soup, my mom’s recipe is as homemade as it gets. It’s wine-y and creamy (though we substitute fat free half and half with surprisingly delicious results) and just elegant enough to make you forget the fact that you’ve been picking at this same bird for days.

So for those of you who are still plowing through your leftovers, try this one on for size.  While it bakes in the oven, you could finish ironing all those fancy linen napkins you won’t use again till this time next year.

Talkin' turkey

Turkey Tetrazzini (serves 4)
2-3 cups leftover turkey, shredded
3 cups leftover turkey stock (or low sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup white wine
1 small onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 cup cream (or fat free half and half)
1/2 cup fresh grated parm
1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
1/2 lb vermicelli or other thin pasta noodle, cooked
10 cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Steam onions and celery in 1 cup well seasons stock until they are soft. In sauce pan, melt 3 tbsp butter.  Do not let it brown.  Stir in 3 tbsp flour to make a roux. Cook about 1 minute, stirring.  Slowly add 2 cups turkey stock, whisking or stirring continuously to avoid lumps.  Add1/3 cup white wine, bring mixture to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer, season with salt and pepper. Add cream, stir to combine but do not boil.  Remove sauce from heat. In a large 9×13 baking dish, spread vermicelli. Sprinkle with half the parmesan cheese. Arrange cooked celery, onions, turkey and mushrooms over top of vermicelli.  Pour sauce over vermicelli and sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake 30-45 minute until cheese is golden and bubbly. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving, in squares, like lasagna.

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