Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Epilogue - Turkey Tetrazzini

There are recipes out there that call for already cooked poultry as a starting ingredient. I don’t usually make such recipes because I don’t like to take the time to cook the chicken (or whatever) first. It’s true, though, that when you’re making something that starts with raw chicken, you have to cook it as part of the process anyway, so maybe the total preparation time is about the same in the end…so maybe my objections are psychological more than anything else. But at any rate, I don’t usually make recipes that start with precooked poultry.

However, I had a goodly amount of leftover turkey as a result of the Nutty Thanksgiving. I’d been looking through a stack of recipes a few days before and came across one I’d printed out nearly five years ago, for Chicken Tetrazzini. It mentioned that leftover turkey also works. At that point I had, I guesstimated, about a pound of leftover turkey meat, so I cut the recipe in half. I also omitted the truffle butter, and used small pasta shells instead of spaghetti.

I think I’ve made this recipe before, but I don’t remember anything about how it turned out. Maybe that should have told me something.

The recipe calls for you to make an enriched and concentrated stock. It sounds tasty, but I didn’t want to take the time. Besides, I didn’t have any bones. So I just used 1 cup canned chicken broth. Maybe that was the problem. The sauce was thin, and on the whole, I thought this dish needed more flavor. Also I felt there was too much meat in it, but then I may have misjudged how much meat I had. And if you do make this dish, I would suggest cutting the meat up small; 1-inch chunks are too big, in my opinion.

Verdict: Not bad, but I don't think I'll be making it again.

Chicken (or Turkey) Tetrazzini
(source:, originally from Gourmet, Nov. 2003)

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pound chicken bones (from 2 cooked chickens), broken into 2- to 3-inch pieces
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons medium-dry Sherry
  • 2 tablespoons truffle butter* (optional)
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 2 pounds chicken meat (from 2 cooked chickens), torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)

Bring chicken bones, broth, carrot, onion, celery, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, and cloves to a boil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, then simmer, partially covered, skimming froth, 30 minutes.

Pour stock through a large sieve into a bowl, discarding solids, and return to saucepan. Measure stock: If more than 2 cups, boil until reduced. Keep warm, covered.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a shallow 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish.

Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté mushrooms with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms begin to turn golden, about 8 minutes.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, then add flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add warm stock in a fast stream, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Add cream, Sherry, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper and simmer over low heat, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in truffle butter (if using).

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of >boiling salted water until al dente, then drain well.

Toss together spaghetti, mushrooms, and half of sauce in a large bowl, then transfer to baking dish. Stir together chicken meat and remaining sauce in same large bowl. Make a depression in spaghetti, then spoon chicken into it and sprinkle dish with cheese.

Bake until sauce is bubbling and top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Available at some specialty foods shops and D'Artagnan (800-327-8246).

Recycle: broth cans, spice jars, sherry bottle

Compost: vegetable peelings/trimmings

No comments: