Jerri’s and my parents grew up in the Great Depression, and they they did their best to teach us not to waste anything. In the kitchen this meant cutting the meat off the bones and cooking the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to make turkey broth. Mom would package the meat for sandwiches and use the broth for soup or other dishes in the weeks following the holidays.
Since there are just two of us at home today, leftover turkey is a challenge. For the holiday dinner I like to carve a turkey that does not look like a big chicken. No ten or twelve pound midget for us, which leaves us with enough leftover turkey to feed a large family.
Every year we find a package or two of carefully packaged turkey meat or a container of broth from last year that got lost in the freezer. We don’t feel as bad today about throwing out these overlooked treasures, since we feed them to the gray fox or the mother bear and her cubs who wander past the cabin in the summer. “Nothing goes to waste in nature,” I say virtuously as I leave the food in the woods across the brook.
But now that we are in something that resembles that depression of 80 years ago, we are trying to do better about using leftovers. Since it is my fault that we end up with so many leftovers, it is my responsibility to help find ways to use them.
We like chicken enchiladas. One day I decided to try making them with leftover turkey. I did wonder if the hint of sage and allspice in the meat would be a problem, but the result was delicious. You can poach a chicken breast or some thighs in a little water with a bouillon cube if you don’t have any leftover turkey, but think of those starving children in China that my folks used to remind us of when we had leftovers and make a point of saving some leftover turkey for this great cold weather dinner.
8 large flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped leftover turkey
1 cup sour cream, divided
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 jalapeño pepper
2-3 T finely chopped green onions
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot sauce
1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the seeds and white membrane from the jalapeño and chop fine. Clean and chop the green onions. In a large bowl, combine and mix thoroughly 1/2 of the soup, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, the Monterey Jack cheese, chilies, turkey, jalapeño , onion, black pepper and salt.
Spoon about 1/2 cup of filling off center on each tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
Mix the remaining soup with 1-2 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup sour cream, the cumin, hot sauce, white pepper and chili powder and spread the sauce over the enchiladas.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese and bake six to eight minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
NOTE: Serve with a green salad and glass of beer or white wine.