Turkey with Tarragon in Cream Sauce

I think I mentioned recently that I’m all about the simple as far as food preparation goes these days.  Well, this recipe, which is has been around since the old “SAD” days, is quite simple, and is also quite good.  I just love the flavors of turkey and tarragon, and turkey breast is so lean that it really needs the richness of the cream sauce.

I also talked about how when we got our summer turkey this year, we broke it down into all it’s parts, vacuum sealed and then froze them.  Recently I’d taken one of the breasts out of the freezer with the vague idea that I’d butterfly it, pound it thin, spread it with a mixture of fruit and nuts, then roll it up and roast it.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen.  Instead, I merely sliced it and made this (since I had all of the ingredients on hand), and served it with roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and sautéed bok choy.  All in all, a wonderfully quick, easy and delicious dinner.

I realize not everyone has a skinned and boned turkey breast languishing in their freezer (and good for you if you do), so turkey cutlets are what is called for in the recipe; you can find them in the meat section of just about any grocery store.  Or, if you prefer, plain boneless, skinless chicken breasts will work just fine.

Note:  If you want to go dairy-free with this, omit the butter and sub the half & half and cream cheese with half a cup of coconut milk.  I think that would be quite tasty, actually.

Turkey with Tarragon in Cream Sauce.  Tarragon and a simple sauce truly elevates this quick and easy saute of turkey cutlets for a great weeknight meal.

Click the image to enlarge

Turkey with Tarragon in Cream Sauce
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound turkey cutlets
  • 1 tablespoons lard
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  1. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the tarragon.
  2. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium high and add the cutlets to the pan, frying until brown and done through, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
  3. Add chicken stock to the skillet and bring to boil. Continue cooking until the stock is reduced by half; reduce the heat to low, then add the half and half and cream cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Return the turkey to the pan and heat through.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 293 calories, 17.1g total fat, 88mg cholesterol, 1296.4mg sodium, 513.1mg potassium, 11.3g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 6.3g sugar, 23g protein

Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup

We get two turkeys a year from our poultry farmer – the first in the summer and the second usually a day or two before Thanksgiving.  Last year we roasted the summer turkey and canned it; I used the meat all winter long in soups, stews and casseroles.  It was incredibly convenient.

This year, we decided to break it down into its different parts, the way we do our chickens, and freeze them.  In the end, we were left with one bag containing just the wings – well, actually, a wing-and-a-half; it apparently suffered an accident in the processing.  Which was fine, but it left me wondering what to do with one-and-a-half turkey wings.

Our garden was also full of surprises this year, as we had all sorts of plants pop up that we never actually planted.  Not weeds, either, but actual food, mostly in the form of tomatoes and winter squash  (thank you, Mr. Compost).  Among the winter squashes, which was mostly butternut and spaghetti, we found a lone kabocha.  After Beloved picked it, it sat on my kitchen counter and, well…stared at me.  For about two weeks.

Kabocha squash makes marvelous soup, and since we’ve had quite the cold snap up here lately, it finally occurred to me what I could do with the turkey wings:  roast those suckers and put the meat in a nice, hearty soup with some of the kale that was also overflowing in our garden.  So one evening last week I roasted both the wings and the squash while cooking that night’s dinner, in anticipation of the next night’s dinner.

It worked like a charm, too, making the following evening’s meal a snap to put together.  What surprised me, though, was how much meat was on those turkey wings; I got a full 2 1/2 to 3 cups off of them when it was all said and done.

The soup turned out marvelously; rich and creamy, warm and comforting, it was simply delicious.  It was also incredibly nutritious, a serving providing 36% of your daily recommended amount of potassium, 561% vitamin A, 227% vitamin C, 28% vitamin E, 50% niacin, 47% vitamin B6, 692% vitamin K, 31% phosphorus, 25% magnesium, 43% manganese and 47% selenium.

If nothing else, it will leave you feeling quite smug, knowing you ate something that was so good for you.

Note:  You can, of course, use leftover cooked chicken if you prefer.  This also reheats very well.

Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup. An easy and hearty cold weather soup that is as nutritious as it is delicious.

Click the image to enlarge

Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup
Serves: 6
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium winter squash, such as kabocha, roasted
  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade
  • 3 cups cooked turkey, chopped
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces (about 1 pound)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a small stock pot or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, melt the ghee over medium-low heat and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook another minute more.
  2. Stir the roasted squash into the pot and increase the heat to medium; season lightly with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the squash is heated through. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock until the soup is smooth.
  3. Add the turkey, kale and red pepper flakes (if using) to the soup; simmer until the kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper before serving.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 350 calories, 10.9g total fat, 70.6mg cholesterol, 429.5mg sodium, 1272.5mg potassium, 34.5g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 8.6g sugar, 30.7g protein

Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash

Well, I’m in a good mood today, despite the fact I’m rather congested and have a bit of a sore throat this morning:  My Veal Stew is featured in the DailyBuzz Food (the fine folks who happen to be my sponsor over there on the left) Top 9 List today.  W00t!

Okay, enough celebration.  Moving forward…

Last night, I posted this on the blog’s Facebook page:

I still have a TON of leftover turkey. Would anyone be interested in a turkey, sweet potato, kale and bacon hash recipe?

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and since someone asked me to “please hurry” and post it, well…here you go.

First thing, what I thought was a bag of kale in my refrigerator turned out to be a bag of mustard greens.  Oops.  Really, though, you can use any hearty, leafy green in this recipe so if you want to use kale, go for it.  The mustard greens did lend the hash a nice spiciness, which I enhanced with a pinch of red pepper flakes – this balanced the sweetness of the potatoes really well.  Of course, if you’re sensitive to nightshades, you can leave them out.

Also, if you still have leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving, feel free to use them instead of the cubed and parboiled sweet potatoes called for in the recipe; this dish is all about convenience and utilizing leftovers.  It’s also pretty quick – if you’ve cooked the bacon ahead of time (I had some leftover in the fridge), this comes together in about half an hour, certainly no longer than 45 minutes.

Was this good?  Indeed, it was!  There’s really nothing better than a good, simple skillet supper, at least in my opinion.  And if you can use a bunch of holiday leftovers that are languishing in your fridge, well, then so much the better.  And it’s just so darn colorful and pretty – to say nothing of super nutritious.  A serving provides 28% of the recommended daily intake of potassium, 260% of vitamin A, 68% of vitamin C, 88% of niacin, 77% of vitamin B6, 32% of folate, 40% of vitamin B12, 356% of vitamin K, 57% of phosphorus, 22% of magnesium, 40% of zinc and 82% of selenium.


One last thing:  you may notice that the photos included with this recipe are a little smaller than those previously posted.  There is a reason for that – I have a bit of a surprise for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, have a great Tuesday, y’all.  And make this hash.  It’s so good, and good for you.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash
Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash
Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash, detail
Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash, detail
Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash

Serves: 8
  • 1 pound mustard or other hearty greens, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or other cooking fat)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • few grinds black pepper
  • 4 cups diced, cooked turkey
  • 4 ounces cooked bacon, chopped
  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat and sauté the mustard greens until wilted. Season with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir in the chicken stock. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  2. While the greens are cooking, Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and parboil the sweet potatoes for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander set in the sink and rinse with very cold water. Set aside.
  3. Once the mustard greens are done, remove them to a bowl and set aside. Increase the heat to medium high and add the ghee or olive oil to the pan and heat for a moment or two. Add the sweet potatoes and onion to the skillet
  4. and season with the remaining salt and pepper. Stir in the turkey, reserved mustard greens and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally and then pressing down on the mixture with a large spatula, until the potatoes are tender and
  5. the hash is beginning to brown and become crispy.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Nutrition (per serving): 522 calories, 28.9g total fat, 172.2mg cholesterol, 877.4mg sodium, 995.9mg potassium, 14.5g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 3.4g sugar, 51.7g protein


Curried Apple Soup

The name of this recipe should probably be “Curried Apple and Sweet Potato Soup with Pecans” but jeez – that’s kind of a mouthful, isn’t it?

Honestly, though, no matter what it’s called, it SHOULD be a mouthful, because omigod, this is GOOD.  And it’s one of those things I just sorta pulled out of my, um, refrigerator because we had no leftovers for lunch and I didn’t want to cook fish again.  It also gave me an opportunity to use one of those jars of roast turkey we canned a couple of weeks ago, but any leftover, cooked poultry will do.  Actually, I’ve made this twice so far, the second time with leftover smoked pork shoulder, and it was every bit as good.

I used a Japanese sweet potato for this, but I think it would be just fine with an orange-fleshed variety, although the soup will be a touch less sweet (not necessarily a bad thing).  The recipe calls for Fuji apples because that’s what I used, but you can use any sweet, firm apple that holds up well to cooking.  You can also, if you wish, substitute the coconut milk with half and half – and probably save a calorie or two in the process – but the soup is just wonderful as written; warm, hearty, filling and satisfying, and the servings are quite generous.  The curry and cayenne give it a bit of kick, too, but not so much that those in your household with tender palates won’t be able to enjoy it.

I topped the soup with toasted pecans, which gave it a marvelous textural contrast and another layer of flavor (and because I love them), but you can leave the nuts off – the soup won’t suffer at all.  Leave out the turkey and it will make a lovely first course dish.

Oh – it’s Whole30 compliant, too.

Curried Apple Soup
Curried Apple Soup
Curried Apple Soup
Serves: 4
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 small Fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a small stock pot, cook the onion in the ghee over medium heat until it begins to soften, about 2 or 3 minutes; add the apple and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to high and add the sweet potato and chicken stock to the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sweet potato is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until thick and smooth. Or, working in batches, transfer to a blender or food processor, puree until smooth, and return the soup to the pot.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne and turkey. Simmer until the turkey is heated through; season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted pecans, if desired, and serve.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 372 calories, 20.2g total fat, 64.4mg cholesterol, 247.8mg sodium, 682.5mg potassium, 23.9g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 10.7g sugar, 25.8g protein


Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

Busy, busy, busy today, so this will be a short one.

I told you I was on a casserole kick, and this one is even better than yesterday’s Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole, although it also falls into the “tastes a lot better than it looks” category.

I’m also still carrying on my passionate love affair with Japanese sweet potatoes, but if you can’t find them regular will do, although you’ll miss the sweet richness the Japanese sweets impart to the dish.  And because they are so sweet the red pepper flakes are also a must, although you can adjust them to your taste, of course (I made ours pretty spicy).  Naturally, if you don’t care for coconut milk, you can sub heavy cream (or half and half, if you worry about calories).  You could probably also use just about any leafy, dark green vegetable, but kale is a hearty green that stands up well to this dish – and it’s extremely nutritious, to boot.

Beloved adored the casserole; I made it specifically for the two of us while Jolly, The G Man and Miss Jacki were visiting this week, and they ate pizza brats and mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner one night.  Both girls tasted it and declared it delicious as well (no mean feat; Jolly is as picky as The Young One) – I ended up wishing I’d made enough for everyone!

This reheated very well the next day.

Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

2 small Japanese sweet potatoes, about 1 pound
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8″ x 11″ glass baking dish with coconut oil. Empty the can of coconut milk into a medium-sized sauce pan and add the garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Slice the sweet potatoes very thinly and place a layer of 1/3 of the potatoes, overlapping the slices slightly, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then add a layer of half the turkey and kale. Pour 1/3 of the warm coconut milk over, and repeat with a layer of potatoes, salt, pepper and pepper flakes, turkey and kale, ending with the last 1/3 of the potatoes. Pour the remaining warmed coconut milk evenly over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the kale and potatoes are tender. Remove the foil and return to the oven, baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the coconut milk is bubbling and mostly absorbed.

Allow the casserole to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition (per serving): 468 calories, 28g total fat, 53.2mg cholesterol, 148.1mg sodium, 1073mg potassium, 31.8g carbohydrates, 4.5g fiber, 4.8g sugar, 26.4g protein.

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