Five French Ways with Leftover Turkey

French Chicken and Noodle Casserole

Non. The French do not celebrate Thanksgiving. But if they did, I’m sure the bonne femme would have many great ideas for using the leftover dinde (turkey). Here is what she might do with it:

1. Make it into a cassolette. Here is one of my favorites (just substitute leftover turkey for chicken).

2. Make crèpes: Fold turkey it into a creamy Béchamel sauce with some tarragon; use this mixture to stuff crêpes. Here’s a recipe for crêpes. See page 389 of my book, which offers a recipe for Béchamel, along with many ideas for using this versatile white sauce.

3. Make vol-au-vents: For a variation on idea #2, make the turkey-tarragon Béchamel, but use this creamy mixture to top puff pastry shells.

4. Make Turkey Tetrazzini. Even though that sounds Italian, the dish was said to have been made by the great French chef, August Escoffier, in honor of the opera singer, Luisa Tetrazzini.

I don’t have a Tetrazzini recipe in my book–but Martha Stewart’s recipe looks pretty easy and classic—substitute turkey for the chicken. Of course, I’d French-ify it a little more by using Comté cheese (gruyère will work, too) instead of Parmesan, and using 1 teaspoon dried tarragon instead of 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. A French woman would probably bake the casserole in individual cassolettes—small baking dishes, which adds a little elegance to the homey-ness of the dish. You can too—just start checking for doneness after about 20 minutes.

5. Make a quiche. See my Bacon, Chive, and Caramelized Onion Quiche, on page 310 of my book. Be sure to bake the recipe in a deep-dish pie plate, as directed, and add 1 cup finely chopped, cooked turkey to the egg mixture.

And if the weather remains unseasonably warm, I might even be tempted to fold the extra turkey into my Turkey Salad Veronique (page 62), with red grapes, hazelnuts, celery, and fresh tarragon. I’m also going to be sure to stash some in the freezer to serve sometime this winter in my Chicken-Rice Soup Tout Simple (page 89). Just skip the chicken cooking instruction and use turkey instead.

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