Easy Leftover Turkey Curry

“Someone defined eternity as a ham and two people.” So wrote Irma Rombauer in Joy of Cooking. If you have cooked a whole ham and struggled to find ways to use the pounds of good meat and succulent bones, you will probably agree that she knew what she was talking about.

Jerri and I no longer buy whole hams. Our last one was a twenty pound country ham we brought back from Virginia, and I promised never to do that again. However, she still lets me buy the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys, and occasionally I pick out a sixteen or seventeen pounder.

Which leads inevitably to another fundamental truth. It is very easy to get tired of leftover turkey before it is all eaten. Yesterday we finished the last package of leftover Thanksgiving turkey, ten weeks and four days after the bird went in the oven. Now we can start on the remains of our Christmas turkey.

With luck we will have finished them before the Fourth of July. Otherwise we may have leftover turkey salad sandwiches instead of brats and potato salad for our picnic.

Fortunately we have a lot of good recipes for leftover turkey. Here is the one we made with the last of the turkey from Thanksgiving. It tasted so good that I may use the same recipe to start on the Christmas turkey. It makes five or six servings.

1/4 cup butter
2 to 3 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of black pepper
1 can chicken broth (a scant 2 cups)
2 cups leftover turkey, white or dark meat
1 tsp. minced lemon peel
2 T chopped pimiento or red bell pepper
3/4 cup long grain white or brown rice

For garnishes:
1/4 cup cashew pieces
2 eggs
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 flaked or shredded coconut


Clean and chop the onion medium fine and cut the turkey into bite-sized pieces. Wash the lemon and use a sharp knife to shave and mince a generous teaspoon of the zest. Drain the pimiento or chop the red bell pepper into a quarter inch dice.

Start cooking the rice according to directions on the package and put two eggs on to boil. Cook the eggs for five minutes, turn off the heat and allow the eggs to finish cooking for eight or nine minutes.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the curry powder and cook it over moderate heat for two or three minutes. Stir in the chopped onion and cook until it is translucent but not brown. Use a wooden spoon to blend in the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil.

Cook for three or four minutes and stir until you have a smooth sauce. Add the turkey and shredded lemon peel and bring the mixture back to boiling. Remove it from the heat and stir in the pimiento or red bell pepper.

Peel and chop the eggs and put small dishes with the eggs, cashews, raisins and flaked or shredded coconut on the table so guests can choose the garnishes they want.

Serve over rice with a salad and bread.

NOTES: Naan bread goes really well with curries.

Substitute brown rice for the long grain white if you want a more nutritious meal. The curry goes well with either kind. Brown rice takes longer to cook, however, so start it before you begin making the curry.

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