Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My first turkey ... now what?

I bought a frozen turkey right before Thanksgiving, planning to roast it sometime during the holiday season. Between traveling and all kinds of end-of-year festivities, I didn’t make time to defrost and roast the bird until this past weekend.

This was my first time roasting a turkey, and it was pretty darned easy, once I removed all its nasty bits. The 15-pounder fit nicely in the roasting pan Chris got me for my birthday. I didn’t do anything fancy, just brushed the bird with some olive oil and rubbed in a little mixture of smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano and thyme. It took about 3.5 hours at 325 degrees before my meat thermometer read 170 degrees in the thigh meat. The turkey was moist and flavorful, and now I’ve got a fridge full of white and dark meat. Let the fun begin!

One of my favorite things about turkey-centric holidays is the abundance of leftover meat and figuring out what to do with it. My mom, for example, knocks out some of the leftovers by making turkey enchiladas, which I’ll likely do later this week.

First up, though, is an adaptation of a recipe I recently found via the Associated Press. The shopping list is short and inexpensive, especially at Winco, where I found bulk lentils for 79 cents per pound, yellow onions for 48 cents a pound and a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes for $1.08. It was also nice to put to use the curry masala spice mix I already had in my spice cabinet.

Curried Lentils with Turkey
1 cup brown lentils
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
14-ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
3 cups cooked diced turkey (I used dark meat)
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
Salt, to taste

Combine lentils and enough water to cover in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.
When lentils have about 10 minutes left to cook, heat onions in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 2-4 minutes. Add curry powder to onions and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Add the turkey, lentils and tomatoes. Cook until headed through, and season with salt. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.

1 comment:

  1. mmm turkey. so i totally wimped out @ thanksgiving & just bought a jennie-o turkey breast. you made bird roasting sound so easy that i guess i'll give in & get a whole bird next year. i did miss those leftovers...