It’s that time of year again—the week when you just can’t seem to find enough uses for Thanksgiving leftovers. Now don’t get me wrong. I think one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Then again, I’m one of those funny people who actually prefers the leftovers to the feast itself! But I must admit that towards the end of the week it’s a struggle to find yet another unique twist that’ll make that turkey as un-Thanksgivingy as possible.
This hearty and flavorful stew does the trick. The ingredients are as decidedly non-Thanksgiving as they can get. Tomatillos add a nice tang, while the warming spices give it a little kick that gets the blood flowing. I like to simmer the turkey in the broth until it is meltingly tender and has soaked up a wonderful depth of flavor. Look for tomatillos in the produce section of a well-stocked grocery store or Hispanic market. If you can’t find fresh tomatillos, use green tomatoes (if you’re like me, you might have lots of them lying around after the pre-frost, final garden harvest). You may also use canned tomatillos or chile verde tomatillo salsa in a jiffy.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
For the tomatillo sauce:
- 2 lbs. tomatillos, husked and rinsed well
- 1–2 fresh jalapeños (optional), roughly chopped (remove seeds for less heat if desired)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 lime, juiced
For the stew:
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1½ teaspoons dry oregano
- 4 cups leftover turkey meat, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth, plus extra if stew gets too thick
- 3 cups tomatillo sauce
- 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sour cream (optional)
- Shredded cheese (optional)
- Preheat the broiler or grill to high. If broiling: cut the husked and rinsed tomatillos in half and toss with a little olive oil. Spread them with the cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil about 6 inches from heat, watching carefully until blistered, blackened, and soft, about 6–8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. If grilling: place whole tomatillos on grates. Turning over once or twice with tongs, grill until blackened and soft, then transfer to a bowl.
- Place roasted tomatillos and any juices into the bowl of a food processor. Add jalapeños, garlic, salt, and lime juice. Process until smooth. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator after it cools.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender. Add cumin, coriander, and oregano. Cook for 1 minute. Add roughly chopped turkey, stirring until the meat is coated with spices. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add chicken broth and tomatillo sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until turkey is very tender. If necessary, add more liquid as stew cooks, about 30–40 minutes total.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in chopped cilantro and stir through. If desired, serve with sour cream and shredded cheese. This stew is especially good over a bowl of steamed rice.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products