Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Thanksgiving Leftover Lovin': Turkey & Dumplings

Leftovers, you love 'em, or you hate 'em. While I most definitely used to hate leftovers, I've found over the years, and after living on my own, eating leftovers is an essential part of reducing food waste and staying on budget. More than that, I've learned that I can actually have the power to become a leftover lover if the leftovers are transformed into something that doesn't resemble the original dish. It was this discovery that inspired my blog series Leftover Lovin', which has been terribly neglected over the past few years, but must be brought back thanks to my most recent outrageously delicious leftover transformation, inspired by my Thanksgiving dinner and a delicious birthday dinner out!

While going wild and partying has never really been my thing for celebrating my birthday, what I do look forward to the most, come my annual day of birth on September 30th, is going out for delicious meals with my loved ones. Lucky for me, this included three fantastic meals spread across my birthday weekend. 

The first dinner out was on the night of my birthday with my boyfriend Chris, where we checked out Omaw, Chef Matt Blondin's latest restaurant, doing Carolina classics with a gourmet twist. Having been to and enjoyed Blondin's previous restaurant Acadia, we were eager to see how his most recent menu would stack up. Though I have to say, the service definitely left something to be desired, the menu was thankfully lovely. Though the Shrimp & Grits (an Acadia favourite that Blondin reintroduced for Omaw) was spot on, the standout dish of the night had to be Blondin's aromatic bowl of Turkey & Dumplings with onion likkar and black truffle - SWOON! With a rich and complex turkey broth, big chunks of tender and moist roast turkey, gnocchi-like pillows of handmade dumplings, black truffle oil, and fried onion matchsticks for crunch (this would be the onion likkar), this dish blew both Chris and I away! So comforting, so well-balanced, and so not enough in one bowl to satisfy us both. It was so delicious, we should have each ordered a bowl to ourselves! 

With Canadian Thanksgiving only one week away from my birthday, all I could think about the week following my birthday was how I could recreate that incredible Turkey & Dumpling dish with my Thanksgiving leftovers. While, no, I don't have a clear recipe for you this time, with so much experimenting during the process to get just the right flavour and mouthfeel, I still wanted to share my photos of the final dish, and a little bit about my process. The response to the photo of my bowl of homemade Turkey & Dumplings that I posted on my various social media accounts was so overwhelmingly positive, that I think it's only fair to share as much as I can with you, and hopefully I can refine it soon enough so you can have the real thing!
The great thing about a recipe like this is that it is so forgiving, allowing you to forget about measuring your ingredients (it's all about eye-balling it here!), and play around with what you happen to have on hand. For this dish, I started out with a basic mirepoix of onion, carrot, and celery (diced small), and to that added in some minced garlic, fresh Ontario corn niblets leftover from Thanksgiving, dried bay leaves, and fresh thyme. I then stirred in a roux, and slowly poured in homemade turkey stock (thank you to Chris' mom Tracey for the tasty stock!) and some leftover ham from Thanksgiving (diced small). At this point, I brought the soup to a boil and allowed it to simmer for about 20-30 minutes to let the flavours develop and the broth to thicken.

After tasting I felt the soup still needed more flavour and more of a creamy and rich mouthfeel. Now this is where things get a little hazy, as I began to scour my kitchen for anything I could possibly find to turn my soup into something incredible. I then added a pinch of cayenne pepper, a few pinches of ancho chilli powder, a large Parmesan rind (I always save them in the freezer for soups and sauces!), grated parmesan cheese, a few tablespoons of sour cream, and lots of salt and pepper to season. To aid with the mouthfeel issue, I dropped in a beurre manié, which is like a roux, but kneaded, and added after you have added in liquid. So basically, if you messed up your roux at the start of your process and your soup or sauce isn't thickening, a beurre manié can save the day! Check out Saveur's guide on how to prepare a beurre manié to learn about your new favourite hero in the kitchen.

Once my soup was at the right consistency and flavour, I quickly whipped together Tyler Florence's recipe for dumplings, and spooned them in. Once my dumplings were lovely, plump, and cooked through, I stirred in my leftover shredded cooked turkey from Thanksgiving (dark meat will taste best here!), which was added at this point so it wouldn't dry out. After a short simmer to allow the turkey to reheat my turkey and dumplings were ready to devour! And oh did we ever devour it! Chris and I went nuts over this dish. It was, to put it simply, outrageously delicious. A true winner and a recipe I look forward to refining and sharing with you soon! Is it safe to admit that I'm now counting down the days to Christmas dinner leftovers? 

Listening To:
Happier Podcast

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Please share your dumpling recipe. We make home made chicken and turkey soup all the time and we love dumplings.