Canadian Thanksgiving was last month, and I’ve still got leftover turkey in the freezer, so it’s a good thing I have years of experience in using it up. Of course we all know about creamed turkey, turkey soup, and so forth, but this recipe is a little different: Though it uses cooked turkey, it’s a meat loaf style dish of a type usually made from raw ground meat.
I first read about using leftover turkey this way in The Turkey Cookbook: 138 New Ways to Cook America’s Favorite Bird by Rick Rodgers. My recipe is loosely based on the All-in-One Gravy Loaf in the book, though that’s more high-brow, using bread crumbs and, gasp, vegetables. It also uses more eggs. But the idea is much the same.
Another essential I got from the original recipe was the cooking of the loaf in a pan of water. This keeps the already cooked turkey from drying out. One drawback is that the only part of the loaf that browns is the top, the only part exposed to dry heat. (I’ve also noticed this happening with muffins, when I don’t have enough batter to fill the whole pan and end up putting water in the empty cups, as you’re supposed to do to keep them from warping. The muffins closest to the water don’t seem to brown on the sides.)
If you invert the loaf onto a serving platter, which is the easiest way to serve it, the unbrowned sides will be on display, which might put some people off. So be ready to do some flipping. You could also try browning the inverted loaf under the broiler — I can’t say how that would work, though, because I haven’t done it myself.
- 3 cups/ 1 lb leftover turkey
- 1 cup prepared stuffing (half a batch of instant stuffing)
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup gravy or cream soup
- Coarsely chop the turkey, if it’s in large pieces.
- Put in food processor with steel blade.
- Add egg and gravy.
- Process till the mixture looks like turkey salad (but don’t eat it yet; that egg is still raw).
- In a large bowl, combine with the prepared stuffing.
- Line a 9’x5’ loaf pan with greased aluminum foil.
- Pack the turkey mixture into the pan.
- Place in a larger pan (lasagna pans work well) containing water an inch up the side of the loaf pan.
- Bake at 350℉ for 45 minutes or until top is firm and browned.
- Lift from loaf pan with foil, and use a plate or cutting board to place loaf right side up on a warm platter.
- If you don’t have gravy or cream soup, mix 3/4 cups stock or broth with 2 teaspoons blending flour.