Jane’s Turkey Hash

If, like us, you roast a turkey for your family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you may already follow our after dinner tradition of simmering the turkey carcass to create a delicious broth and salvage some tender meat. While Jerri offers suggestions, I carve the last few pieces of meat from the bones and break the carcass into pieces. Then our roles are reversed, and I suggest how much meat should be included in each package that we will freeze for sandwiches or to make turkey a la king.

Eventually the turkey bones end up in the roaster with some water. We bring it to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer them for a couple of hours. When the broth has cooled to a warm room temperature, we remove the last bits of meat from the carcass and strain the broth.

The result is a quart or so of really flavorful broth and two or three cups of turkey meat. Since the meat has already given up some of its flavor to the broth, it is not the best meat from the turkey, but it works just fine for making turkey hash, particularly if you have some sliced turkey left over from the roast.

This recipe is another one from Jane Marsh Dieckmann’s Use it All: The Leftovers Cook Book, which Jerri’s niece Susie loaned to us. Turkey hash is easy to make, tastes good and helps make room in the freezer for other leftovers.


1 1/2 cups diced turkey or leftover turkey salvaged from the carcass
1 cup cooked diced potatoes
1/2 cup cooked chopped celery
1 T minced parsley
1 T finely chopped chives or a scallion
1 cup gravy or sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 T butter or olive oil


If you don’t have any leftover boiled potatoes, peel and chop one or two raw potatoes into a half-inch dice. Spread them in a pie plate, cover it with waxed paper and microwave on high until the potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a fork, about four or five minutes.

Clean and chop the celery into a quarter to half-inch dice and microwave it in a covered bowl until it is starting to soften, two or three minutes.

Clean and finely chop the parsley and chives or scallion and if necessary warm the gravy so it is liquid enough to mix with the other ingredients when you assemble the hash.

Make sure that the turkey is cut into pieces no larger than a half-inch dice and put it into a mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and celery along with the parsley, chives or scallion. Blend everything together, then stir in the gravy, salt and pepper.

Set a skillet or frying pan over moderate heat and coat it with the butter or oil. Transfer the hash to the skillet or frying pan. Stir to prevent burning, but allow the hash to crisp a little as it heats.

Serve hot and pass the ketchup.

NOTES: The first time I made this recipe, I used all the leftover gravy from our Christmas dinner. Nearly two cups of gravy produced a kind of stew. It wasn’t really hash, but it tasted fine and used up another leftover.

Since we don’t always have leftover gravy in the refrigerator or freezer, I make a satisfactory substitute with chicken bouillon. Dissolve a chicken bouillon cube in three quarters cup of hot water, season with dashes of sage and thyme and thicken with a tablespoon of corn starch dissolved in a quarter cup of cold water.

Cabin Pot Roast

This is the story of a pot roast cooked over thirty years ago by two men in a primitive cabin along the English River in Ontario, Canada.

I had persuaded four friends that it would be fun to spend a week catching lots of fish in a remote area that would remind them of their childhood. We would fish lakes with shorelines of trees and grassy meadows instead of cabins and docks. We would be the only boats in sight on lakes filled with fish that had never seen a Rappala and didn’t realize that those curved thingies above those juicy minnows were really nasty hooks.

We could hold the costs down by buying most of the food at our local supermarkets and use the savings to buy a couple of cases of Labatt Blue and some Crown Royal in Fort Frances after we crossed the border from International Falls, Minnesota, into Canada. I would cook breakfast and make sandwiches for lunch, and we would take turns cooking supper. I promised them that they would never forget the trip.

I was right. My fishing predictions proved accurate, but there was another event that left us with an indelible impression. I call it the incident of the broken butcher knife.

We had two boats. Doug, Ed and I shared one while Dick and Bud manned the other. On the second or third day of our adventure, Dick was scheduled to cook a pot roast for supper. I had bought a big roast from the butcher in New Richmond and frozen it to help keep things cold in a cooler on our way north. I checked the roast in the gas refrigerator before we headed out that morning and told Dick it would be thawed for him that afternoon.

About three o’clock, Dick and Bud headed back to the cabin to get supper started. The walleyes were hitting well, and the three of us not on dinner detail relaxed in a breeze over the lake that kept the flies and mosquitoes away from us as we caught and released enough nice fish to make a Wisconsin angler give thanks and go to church three Sundays in a row rather than tempt luck again.

About six o’clock, we motored leisurely back to the cabin, ready for the evening Crown Royal and water. The wonderful fragrance of pot roast greeted us as we came into the cabin. Dick and Bud scowled at us as we came in. We thought it was just because they had to quit fishing when the walleyes were hitting so well, but the problem was worse than that. They were sitting at the table, and the Crown Royal bottle looked less full than it had when we corked it the night before.??“Smells good,” I offered, “everything okay?”

“Well, not really,” answered Bud, who gestured toward the little counter and sink. On the counter in plain sight were two pieces of butcher knife.

“What happened,” I asked.

Dick’s answer didn’t make any sense at first. “Too big,” he said, “too damn big.”

Dave or Ed chimed in, “The knife was too big?”

“The roast,” answered Dick.

“It wouldn’t fit in the pot,” explained Bud, “so I got a rock to pound the knife through the damn bone.”

Once they had broken the knife in half, they used the rock to hammer the stub of the knife through the bone in the roast to make the meat fit in the Dutch oven.

“Why did you chop the bone in half?” I asked.

“It was too big to fit,” said Dick. “What would you have done?”

“Cut the bone out of the meat,” I replied.

“Oh,” said Dick, and had another swallow of Crown Royal.

The roast was delicious, but we were charged twelve dollars for the broken knife.

“I’m not surprised,” said Dick, who as a banker was appointed our treasurer, “they charged us twenty-five cents apiece for the minnows.”

But it was worth it. We caught a lot of fish and had a vacation to remember.

Here is how to make a really simple beef pot roast, the sort of dish you put together in a kitchen that has only the basics.


4 or 5 lb. beef chuck roast
3 – 4 slices bacon
1 – 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water + more as needed
1/2 – 3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 large yellow onion
4 – 5 russet potatoes
5 – 6 large carrots
5 T all-purpose flour


Cut the bacon into half inch pieces and cook them in a Dutch oven or stew pot over moderate heat until much of the fat has been rendered from the meat, but the bacon is not crisp. Remove the bacon from the grease and brown the roast on all sides until it is good and dark. If there is much more than four tablespoons of fat in the pan, spoon out and discard the extra.

Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on a three and a half or four pound roast or a teaspoon and half on a five pounder along with the black pepper. Return the bacon to the pan, pour a cup of beer and a half cup of water around the meat, and bring the pan up to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about two hours. Check occasionally and add more beer or water if necessary.

While the meat is cooking, clean and slice the onion and peel and chop the potatoes into inch and a half pieces. Scrape or peel the carrots and cut them into inch and a half pieces. If they are big carrots, I like to split the thick ends lengthwise before cutting them into pieces.

Arrange the vegetables around the meat after about two hours. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the vegetables and raise the heat to return the pot to boiling. Cover, reduce the heat and cook until the vegetables are tender, thirty to forty-five minutes.

Remove the meat and vegetables. Add more beer or water so there is about three cups of broth in the pan. Use a fork to whisk the flour into a quarter cup of cold water, then stir the mixture into the liquid. Bring the pan back to a boil and cook for about four minutes to make a smooth gravy. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with bread and beer or water or whatever.

NOTES: You can use water as the cooking liquid, but beer gives a much better flavor. Don’t worry about the alcohol. All of it will have disappeared before the roast is done. The alcohol will help tenderize the meat, but what you really want is the flavor. If you brought any beef bouillon cubes with you to the cabin, adding one would improve the flavor as well.