Posted by: Hannah | 12/27/2011

in which we invent turkenploppen

December 27th and thus begins the annual effort to figure out what to do with the leftover turkey.

We had an enormous turkey this year. An ostrich. An “oh my god take one of those racks out of the oven it’s touching the top element for Christ’s sake!” turkey. When you pre-order from local farmers you have to take what you get, and so 17.65 lbs later we could have fed an army.

Half of the breast, one drumstick, and some dark meat went on Christmas Eve. We sent one couple home with a container full of meat for next-day sandwiches. But that still left, you know, a dirty pile of turkey.

I have eaten my weight in turkey sandwiches. We were all wanting a cooked meal for dinner tonight. I had big plans to make this Ultimate Turkey Pot Pie; I made it last year and it was delicious. I had to start by making turkey stock (and FYI, a turkey carcass that big makes a huge pot full of stock).

Stock made, I settled into the recliner to help Harry with his new Wii game and promptly fell asleep. I knew nothing and heard nothing until 4PM, when I woke up much refreshed but with no time to make turkey pot pie.

Hubs had the idea that I make up the filling and serve it over rice. And thus was born ‘turkenploppen‘, a most delicious and surprisingly easy way to use up a full three cups of leftover turkey and two cups of stock. The kids both ate large helpings, and the only reason I didn’t have seconds is because there is no more room in my stomach thanks to the baby that refuses to exit the building.

Turkey Stock

Break up your turkey carcass with the back of a heavy knife or cleaver. You don’t need to break it up much, though – all I did was split mine in half, because I am all about easy this time of year.

Place the carcass pieces into a large, heavy pot and add enough water to cover (it took 14 cups for mine!). Add:

1 large onion, unpeeled, roughly chopped
3 carrots, unpeeled, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
handful of celery leaves, chopped
5 – 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
6 leaves fresh sage
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh marjoram
ground black pepper 


Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 3 hours, skimming off any foam that accumulates on the surface. (I have noticed that with free-range / organic turkeys there seems to be less foam. I have no idea what the reason is but that’s been my experience).

Remove from heat. Plunge the pot into a sink of very cold water to cool it quickly. After a half hour or so you’ll see the fat rise to the top and solidify; scrape the fat off with a spoon and discard. You can use it right away or freeze it in airtight containers; two-cup measures are usually a safe bet, and it will keep in the freezer for months.


(We named it ourselves. It had to be something funny so the kids would be distracted enough to try it even though it looked a little odd; thanks to using purple carrots and red wine, it had kind of a pinkish tint until it was fully cooked).

2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey stock
1/2 cup red wine (I used a not-very-drinkable Merlot we had from goodness knows when)
3 cups diced cooked turkey
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 generous tsp dried & ground 
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 generous tsp dried 
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 generous tsp dried
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter 


Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots first and cook for a couple of minutes to give them a head start. Then add the celery, onions, garlic and mushrooms. Continue cooking until the vegetables are just tender.

Add flour. Stir well until all vegetables are coated. Slowly add the red wine, stirring well to deglaze any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Then add stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the broth thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in turkey meat, frozen peas, and herbs. Continue to simmer for about a half hour. At the end of the cooking time, add salt & pepper to taste. Serve over rice.

It was so good I’m going to dice up more turkey and freeze it in 3-cup amounts, so I can make it again. Turkey leftover problem SOLVED!



  1. […] SO GOOD. Our guests ate a lot of turkey – more than usual. We then used the leftovers to make stock, turkey pot pie, and a fabulous turkey vegetable soup with brown rice and a creamy […]

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