Holiday leftovers are main dishes of the future

December 2015
By: Andy Macdonald, Lagniappe Weekly

My favorite holiday has come and gone. Everyone I missed has returned safely from trips to Macy’s and Sandinista Thanksgiving dinners, the former complete with ice skating and record-breaking NYC crowds, the latter with sparsely crowded beaches, cloudless skies and no sign of cornbread dressing anywhere. 

I made it back from a fruitful trip to Laurel, Mississippi, where my brother and I joined forces to fry only two turkeys this year. It was not without incident. We’d become a little cocky about the task since we had no responsibility to anyone but ourselves, and a couple of things were overlooked. 

In last-minute preparation, we stupidly forgot to inject turkey Number 1. I remembered as soon as the bird was submerged in the peanut oil (the oil I got at the last minute, as we mistakenly thought we had plenty the week before). About 10 minutes into a 33-minute fry for an 11-pound hen, the flame extinguished. We’d run out of propane. We tried another tank hoping there’d be enough juice to get us to our internal temperature goal of 165 degrees, but this tank wouldn’t even hiss.Of course the centerpiece, the turkey, can be incorporated to millions of dishes. Tetrazzini is one of my favorites. Turkey, rice and cheese casserole is a good comfort food. Pot pie is always a crowd pleaser, and if you make it from scratch be sure to use a light roux. But if you decide to make turkey gumbo, a darker roux is a must. I go for a lot of lighter roux gumbos these days but the turkey gumbo deserves a darker roux. As a matter of fact, I am enjoying mine now, which I just made based on the latest John Besh cookbook, “Besh Big Easy.” It is amazing.