Christmas is over for another year and though I expect most of you will already have snaffled up any leftovers, there may be just a little turkey still lurking in the fridge/freezer. We always make far too much food at this time of year – it can be quite difficult to judge – but it’s always nice to enjoy cold meats and stuffing in the days following Christmas. Indeed, having Leftover Turkey Curry has become something of a tradition in our house and for good reason! This is a creamy and fragrant curry that packs quite a punch and brings out the best of a meat that can often be quite dry.
Being so large, turkey is a bird that requires quite come cooking. Accordingly, it is considerably less succulent than chicken and can be rather unpleasant when eaten cold. However, turkey does have a good flavour and works well in the right sort of dish. This leftover turkey curry recipe, for instance, makes use of coconut milk and has a great deal of sauce, which serves to keep the meat moist. A generous cooking time is also vital as this will allow the juices and flavour of the coconut milk to penetrate the large chunks of meat.
When using leftover meat in a dish like this I find it best to use the largest chunks possible. Be mindful that during the cooking process small pieces of turkey are more likely to break apart, their meatiness lost. Of course, chicken would also be appropriate here and it needn’t even be from leftovers. Indeed, if using raw chicken simply add the meat around 20 minutes before serving so as to retain any succulence.
I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are quite prepared for New Year revelry.
Leftover Turkey Curry
• 3 tbsp oil
• 6 cloves
• 10 cardamom pods
• 10 peppercorns
• 2 onions, finely sliced
• 2 tsp cumin seed, ground
• 1 tsp coriander seed, ground
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp red chilli flakes
• a large thumb of fresh ginger, minced
• 2 tomatoes, minced
• 3 bay leaves
• 400ml full-fat coconut milk
• 700g leftover turkey
• 1 tsp garam masala
• 5 cloves of garlic sliced
• 200ml water
• 1 tsp salt
• A handful of fresh coriander
• 1-2 red chillies
1. Heat the oil in a large, thick-based pan and gently toast the cloves, cardamom pods and peppercorns. Tip in the onions and cook until translucent and golden brown.
2. Scatter in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli. Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes before incorporating the ginger, tomatoes and bay leaves.
3. Pour in the coconut milk, followed by the chunks of turkey. Cook this gently for 30-40 minutes before stirring through the garam masala, garlic, water and salt. Cook for a further 30 minutes, reduce a little if too watery.
4. Finely chop some fresh coriander and red chilli together. Serve the curry with rice or flatbread, scattering over the coriander and chilli.
Cost: I never know whether to include the price of leftover ingredients in the cost of a dish. On the one hand, it is food that would otherwise go to waste. On the other, many people buy too much food to ensure leftovers. In the interest of being as honest as possible I will include the price of the meat, but keep in mind that it is food that would otherwise have ended up in the bin. As such, this delicious leftover turkey curry should set you back no more than around £10.