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Dinner Together: Spicy and fragrant curry helps use up leftover turkey

Turn turkey leftovers into a spicy curry that will take your tastebuds far away from Thanksgiving dinner. (LORIE HUTSON Special to The Spokesman-Review)

When it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers there are two kinds of noshers: those who want to recreate the feast and those who don’t.

For those who don’t, it can be fun to turn the leftovers into a dish that will transport those tastebuds far away from the original comfort-food feast. A spicy and fragrant curry will help use up leftover turkey, and it can be a great place to fold in extra vegetables as well.

It’s also forgiving enough to stand on its own if someone ate all the leftover turkey.

This recipe is from Mark Bittman, a food writer and activist who recently left the New York Times to help start Purple Carrot, a company that delivers pre-portioned vegan meal kits. It appeared in Cooking Light magazine in 2011.

Thai Curry Stew with Turkey and Zucchini

The mashing step thickens the broth; skip it for a looser stew.

1 to 2 dried Thai or other hot red dried chiles, stems discarded

1/4 cup boiling water

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon grated lime rind

15 cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 ( 1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped

1 cup light coconut milk

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups grated peeled carrot

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped zucchini (about 2 medium), divided

3 cups chopped cooked skinless turkey (light and dark meat)

3 cups hot cooked brown basmati rice

1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

6 lime wedges

Combine chiles and 1/4 cup boiling water in a bowl; let stand for 15 minutes or until chiles are soft. Remove chiles; discard water.

Combine coriander and cumin in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes or until toasted, shaking pan frequently. Place spice mixture in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground. Combine the ground spices, chiles, rind, cilantro sprigs, garlic, and ginger in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add coconut milk, and process until smooth.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add carrot and onion; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk mixture, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to high, and cook for 4 minutes or until mixture reduces and begins to brown, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-high; add broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; stir in 2 cups zucchini. Simmer for 45 minutes or until zucchini is very tender.

Remove pan from heat. Mash zucchini mixture with a potato masher, or blend with an immersion blender. Return pan to medium-high heat. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups zucchini and turkey; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Spoon 1/2 cup rice into each of 6 shallow bowls; top each serving with about 1 cup stew, 2 teaspoons nuts, and 1 teaspoon cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Yield: 6 servings