As I suspect was the case in many households this last week, we had lots of leftover turkey after Christmas Day. Actually, I'm not sure that "leftover" is really the right term, since it would be unreasonable to expect five people to devour a 5.2Kg turkey in one meal. We had always planned for there to be "leftovers", to allow us to make some other dishes using turkey meat. This post is about one such offering that I put together...
This was the starting point: we just happened to have a good quantity of brown (leg / thigh) meat from the turkey; some turkey stock; and one Cavolo Nero plant harvested from the garden earlier in the day. (Oh, and a home-grown chilli...)
Having had turkey breast in cheese sauce earlier in the week, I wanted to do something completely different. The Cavolo Nero suggested to me a dish along the lines of "Aloo Saag" (curried potato with spinach), and the rest followed from there.
I used the stock, an onion, the chilli, the turkey meat and some ready-made curry powder to make this dish:
It hardly needed any real cooking - just fry the chopped onion gently for about five minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer gently for about half an hour, or until the onion is fully cooked. During this time the cooked meat will soften a lot, so be careful not to over-do it.
To accompany my turkey curry I made a Tarka Dhal, using Urad (or Urid, or Urd) lentils cooked slowly until tender (approx an hour?), to which I added a Tarka made of fried onion and a "crackled" mix of whole spices. I used Cumin, Coriander, Fenugreek, Kalonji, White Mustard and Black Mustard, with a few flakes of dried chilli. To crackle spices you heat them dry in a small frying pan until they start to jump about. You will also hear them split open with a crack. At this point, remove the pan from the heat quickly otherwise the spices will burn. Tip the spices immediately into the Dhal and stir well. Then cook for a further half hour or so to ensure the flavours are fully infused. Add salt only towards the end of the cooking time or else the lentils will never soften completely. The texture I like for my Dhal is similar to a porridge - quite thick. If the lentils are properly cooked the Dhal will be almost creamy. If your dietary regime will allow this, you can add ghee (clarified butter) to enhance this effect.
Finally, the dish that started me along the curry route: Potatoes cooked in coconut milk with Cavolo Nero.
I par-boiled the potatoes in some water to which I had added about half a teaspoon of Turmeric powder. This gave the potatoes a subltle tint of yellow (I didn't want grey potatoes, as can sometimes happen when you boil old potatoes). About half an hour before serving time I put a tin of coconut milk into a saucepan, added the potatoes and brought the pan to a gentle simmer. About 5 minutes before serving I added the Cavolo Nero leaves (from which the tough central veins had been removed). The leaves only need a minute or two to cook - rather like spinach. The finished dish looked like this:
I think the key to this dish is cooking the potatoes to just the right stage. The potatoes should be of a floury variety, rather than a waxy one, so that they go "fluffy at the edges" when boiled. They should be soft enough to mash without too much difficulty - you'll definitely want to mash them into that lovely tasty coconut milk! and the greens should only be added at the last minute. If you cook them for too long they may go slimy and bitter.
So there we are: not "authentic"; didn't follow any recipe - but we liked it. Easy to make, full of flavour and concocted primarily from whatever was available...That has to be a winner.
We never have turkey at Christmas - just contrary really but we bought some turkey steaks this week so maybe a curry is on the cards!ReplyDelete
It has made me long for a decent curry, is there any room at your table?ReplyDelete
Sounds lovely and is now a traditional use of leftovers. I had a bit of a cooking frenzy on boxing day making turkey stock, turkey and sweet leek pie, turkey curry and a beef madras. Fortunately we had a few people over the day after to help us eat it all. And not seeing the turkey carcass for days after the main event was a welcome change!ReplyDelete
I have never eaten curry of any kind, I'm really not sure what it is but I do eventually intend to find out .I have never heard of almost everything you put in that second dish but the third dish I think I might like. I have never used coconut milk to make anything, I will have to give it a try. I did not have turkey for Christmas but I am having some of the turkey I cut up, tonight for supper.ReplyDelete
Becky; I was just saying to Jane "how would you describe curry to someone who has never experienced it?" and she said "does such a person exist?"!! Curry is hard to describe, because there so many different variations, but they all involve fragrant spices, and many also use hot spices (especially chilli). Our connections over the centuries with India have meant that curry is very much part of British culture these days, and we eat it a lot. Imagine Cajun, but hotter and spicier, maybe...ReplyDelete
Google the term "garam masala" and see what comes up.
Same thing happened when I asked people what they used pesto for; I got so many different answers that I never was sure what it really was for a long time and it still is not a part of our menu yet.ReplyDelete
Humm, I can understand what Cajun is but the only curry I have seen is a dish at the Chinese food restaurant and I tried it and don't like it, lol. I am sure you make better dishes with yours though.
So tell Jane "yes" those people exist, there are a lot of them here in the US, though, of course, not all, but no one I have ever met eats curry.
Wow. your potato saag looks really mouthwatering. This is the first time I am coming across this potato curry (thats saying something since I am an Indian.)I shall try this soon. Wishing you and Jane a very Happy new year.ReplyDelete
I'm not a curry fan but hubby most definitely is!!! He would have sat at your table with pleasure....for a VERY long time.....ReplyDelete
We didn't have turkey this year - I'm not really a fan (and cooking it in 30 plus degree heat warms up the house too much) - so we had chicken instead (and ham of course). We eat curry a lot though - I did a course when we lived in London - but I've never made it using already cooked meat - not sure why not......ReplyDelete
Your turkey curry looks good. We rarely eat turkey so I never tried them with curry. Your coconut milk dish looks good as well.ReplyDelete
Your curries look delicious. I'll be trying out your potato saag and dal recipes. It's funny but though I have lentils almost 7 days a week, I've never made tadka dal with Urad dal.ReplyDelete
I think the secret of making a curry with cooked meat is to get it so that the meat absorbs the flavours. Otherwise it is just cold meat with a sauce. Agreed?ReplyDelete
Elaine: Agree. The cooked meat does need some time to soften-up and soak up the flavours. I actually made my sauce a bit in advance and marinated the turkey meat in it, prior to heating it up to full whack again later on. Added bonus - this allowed me the opportunity to photograph it without being in too much of a hurry!ReplyDelete
The aloo-saag must have tasted heavenly. I know Indian food is big in Britain but it thrills me to see these pictures/recipes on your blog. The tadka dal looks most delicious!ReplyDelete
Nicely done! I love a good curry, and having dear friends from India doesn't hurt! Yours looks delicious (the food not the friends!)ReplyDelete
turkey curry must have been delicious! curry anythign is delicious! especially love that aloo saag. saag or palak is one of my favourite indian curries. I made quite a lot of it in spring/summer, called it my "super saag" because I could make basically a whole lot of curries by putting different main ingredients into that delicious green sauce. yum!ReplyDelete