After the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey dinner is over and family or friends have gone home, Jerri and I attack the turkey carcass. We slice off as much meat as we can , dismember the skeleton and put the bones in a soup kettle. We add enough water to cover the bones and simmer them for two hours or so.
We package the white and dark meat in meal-sized portions sealed in freezer bags. At least one bag consists of small pieces of mixed dark and light meat that we will use in Turkey Wild Rice Soup or Turkey Tetrazzini. The larger pieces usually end up in more elegant dishes like Jerri’s Turkey A la King or Turkey Curry.
Here is a simple way to use up some of those smaller mixed pieces of leftover turkey. Don’t let the two jalapeño peppers frighten you. Mixed with the other ingredients, they add a bright flavor without torturing your tastebuds.
2 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups leftover turkey
2 medium jalapeños
1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
3 green onions
1 small yellow squash (about 1 cup chopped)
1/2 Roma tomato (1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. Mexican seasoning
1/4 tsp. chili powder?1/3 tsp. salt
2 T salsa
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 burrito-size flour tortillas
Sour cream and salsa for serving
Start by preparing the meat and vegetables. Cut the turkey into small bite-sized pieces and put them into a medium-size bowl. Wash the peppers, onions, squash and tomato. Cut the stems off the jalapeños and slice them lengthwise into quarters. Remove the seeds and white membranes, slice each quarter lengthwise in half and chop the jalapeños into an eighth inch dice. Put them into the bowl with the turkey.
Remove the seeds and white membrane from the bell pepper and chop about a half cup of pepper into a quarter-inch dice. Remove the root ends from the onions and chop them into eighth-inch rounds. Remove the stem and blossom ends from the squash, slice it lengthwise into quarters, then chop it crosswise into eighth to quarter-inch pieces. Put these vegetables into the bowl with the turkey and jalapeños.
Remove the stem scar from the tomato and chop a half of a Roma tomato into a quarter to half-inch dice. Set the chopped tomato aside in a small bowl.
Grate the cheese and have it ready to add to the meat and vegetables just before serving.
To make the filling for your wraps, warm the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the turkey and all the vegetables except the tomato. Stir to mix everything together. If it seems dry, you can add a tiny bit more oil. Stir in the cumin, Mexican seasoning, chili powder, salt and salsa and cook over medium heat for three or four minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for a minute to release their juice. Stir in the cheese and cook briefly until it has melted.
Warm four tortillas while the filling is cooking. To make the wraps, spread a thin layer of sour cream to within a half-inch of the edge on each tortilla. Spoon about a a half cup of filling starting about a third of the way up from the bottom edge across the center and ending about an inch from the top edge. Top with a tablespoon or two of salsa, fold the bottom edge up and each of the sides over to make a convenient pocket with the top open to tempt the diner.
Serve with a green salad and beer for a good light dinner or lunch.
NOTES: One simple way to adjust the spiciness of these wraps is by your choice of salsa. We prefer medium salsas, but mild or hot will work just fine if that is your preference.
If you like quesadillas, tacos or burritos, you might want to make your own batch of Mexican seasoning. It is a blend of spices that saves a lot of time. Instead of measuring a quarter teaspoon each of oregano, garlic powder, red pepper , cumin, etc, you simply stir a teaspoon or two of Mexican seasoning into your tacomeat, perhaps with an extra teaspoon of chili powder, some salt and tomato paste.
You can find Mexican seasoning in most supermarkets, of course, but you can make enough to spice up a lot of dishes in a few minutes. Here’s how to make it.
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1?2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1?2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. paprika
1 1?2 tsp. ground cumin
1?2 tsp. sea salt
1?2 tsp. black pepper
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
Grind the pepper flakes and oregano in a mortar. Add the salt and black pepper and grind more to mix well. Add the other ingredients and grind briefly to mix everything together. Store in a tight container in a cool place out of direct sunlight.