by Cat, Nov 2011 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
What to do with all those leftovers from a roast turkey or other large poultry? My favorites are Croquettes, Tetrazzini, and Hot Turkey Sandwich (open-face, with lots of leftover gravy). Other ideas include turkey enchiladas, turkey-noodle soup, Suzie Creamcheese sandwich (turkey, cream cheese, sprouts or lettuce, & cranberry sauce, with a bagel or whole grain bread).
Mom used to make these from turkey or capon, when I was a small child, and I absolutely loved them. As an adult I used to eat often at Huber’s in Portland (photo, left), where turkey dinner (and leftovers) were served every day. I made friends with the chef and asked him if he knew how to make croquettes. He responded that he’d never made them but would look into it. A few weeks later, they had a new lunch menu, with croquettes near the top of the list. They were made in a cone-like shape, pan fried, and covered with turkey gravy — just as I like them.
I offer 2 versions here. Note: I make up at least a double batch and then freeze most for later, since it is a bit of an effort to make them.
Turkey Croquettes I
This recipe is as close to my Mom’s recipe as I can find. Mom seldom wrote down her recipes and just winged it. I’ve adapted this from Southern Food: Chicken Croquettes, Epicurious: Turkey Croquettes (originally from Bon Appetite), and an old Chicken Croquettes recipe from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (copyright unknown, either 1968 or 1972).
These can be deep fried, pan fried or baked. Mom always pan fried them in butter. I pan fry them in a mix of butter and olive oil.
Makes 16 croquettes to serve 8.
- 3 cups finely diced, leftover roast turkey
- 2 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp grated or minced onion
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup homemade Chicken Stock or Broth
- 1/4 tsp Unrefined sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground celery seeds
- dash each paprika, nutmeg & pepper
- 1 1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs, unseasoned
- 2 beaten eggs + 4 Tbsp water
- lard (if deep or pan-frying); or 3 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided (if pan frying); or lard/butter to grease baking sheets
- large bowl
- small saucepan
- shallow bowl
- one of the following: deep fryer, 12” cast iron skillet, large baking sheet, baking pan (13″x9″x2″)
- Dice turkey; set aside in large bowl.
- Snip or mince fresh parsley; grate onion and add to parsley.
- Squeeze lemon juice
- Melt butter in saucepan. Blend in flour and cook for a few minutes to make a roux. Add milk and stock. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and bubbles, then cook 1 minute more.
- Add lemon juice, parsley-onion mix, salt, celery seeds and spices. Stir until blended, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Add sauce to chicken in bowl, mixing well, then chill thoroughly.
- With wet hands, shape mixture into balls, using a scant 1/4 cup for each ball. Roll each in crumbs, then shape into cones or egg-shapes (if baking or deep fat frying), or patties if pan frying.
- Dip each into egg & water mixture, then roll in crumbs. Repeat.
- Cook, using one of the following methods:
- Deep-fry: Heat lard to 365° F. Fry croquettes 3 – 5 minutes until brown; remove from fat and drain on paper towel. May need to do in batches.
- Pan-fry: Melt 2 Tbsp butter with 2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When butter stops sizzling, add half the croquettes and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn carefully (they are delicate) and brown the other side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, then repeat with other half
- Bake: Grease baking sheet or pan and arrange croquettes in one layer, then drizzle with melted butter. Bake in preheated 450°F oven, 10-15 minutes, or 350°F oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown (If using more than one baking sheet/pan, bake them one at a time.
Assembly or Serving ideas
- Serve with leftover Turkey Gravy, with Cranberry Sauce and Green Cabbage Cole Slaw on the side. Can also include mashed potatoes.
Turkey Croquettes II
This recipe, adapted from FineCooking.com, shapes them into patties and pan fries them in butter, then serves them with a side of mixed greens and cranberry vinaigrette. Mmmmm. Can’t wait to try this!
It’s a bit tedious to make croquettes so that they hold together while frying, but in my opinion, well worth the effort. It is important to mince the turkey, rather than leaving it in shreds.
This version uses parmesan cheese and riced potato as a binder, in addition to the sauce. Makes 12 patties to serve 6.
- 4 cups (1 lb) minced leftover roasted turkey or chicken
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
- 6 Tbsp minced shallot
- 12 oz (2 small) russet potatoes
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter (divided)
- 1 Tbsp oat flour, or unbleached white flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
- 3 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
- fine cheese grater
- ricer or food mill
- large bowl
- small saucepan
- shallow bowl
- small plate
- 12” cast iron skillet
- Mince the turkey/chicken and place in bowl.
- Chop fresh parsley, rosemary & thyme, and add to the turkey.
- Grate the lemon zest and Parmesan; add to the turkey.
- Mince the shallot and set aside for the sauce.
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes; bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot over medium heat to dry them, shaking the pan until they’re floury-looking. Remove from heat. Pass through a ricer or food mill into the bowl with the turkey.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, tossing to combine
- Melt 1 Tbsp butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook about 2 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t brown. Add flour and cook, stirring, about 1 minute to make a roux.
- Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently about 5 minutes, until thickened.
- Scrape sauce into turkey mixture and stir to combine well. Adjust seasoning.
- Divide and shape into twelve 2.5” wide patties.
- Beat egg and 2 Tbsp water in shallow bowl. Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate.
- Dip each patty into the egg, letting excess drip off. Then coat with breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate.
- Melt 2 Tbsp butter with 2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When butter stops sizzling, add half the croquettes and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn carefully (they are delicate) and brown the other side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
- Add remaining 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil to skillet and fry the remaining croquettes.
Assembly or Serving ideas
- Toss salad greens in large bowl with Cranberry Vinaigrette; Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve alongside the croquettes.
- Serve with leftover Turkey Gravy, with Cranberry Sauce and Green Cabbage Cole Slaw on the side.