‘A delicious way of saluting the bird that makes Christmas what it is. And I’m not talking about your mother…’
I consider myself somewhat of a kleptomaniac whenever I go home to visit my mother because I cannot stop myself from stealing. I think it’s some kind of leftover mind-set from being a University student and scavenging for trinkets I could steal whenever I visited to save myself funds in the long run. I could never just stay at my mums for a weekend and NOT steal seven loo rolls, a bottle of shower gel, a few magazines, a tin or two of beans and some foil. It’s a habit I cannot break. However I may have taken the habit a little too far this year when I stole a turkey carcass.
Ahhh, the turkey. It truly is the gift that just keeps on giving. Every year my mother will roast up the lovely bird for Christmas and it serves lovely purpose on the big day as a crowning meat glory, however it also does wonders for several meals that follow. I took my opportunity and as I was leaving the house after the festivities, I wrapped half of what was left of the dead bird in foil and shoved it in my suitcase. I regret nothing.
The turkey in question had been brined in a bucket of water containing celery, garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, honey, salt, oranges and lemons for about two days before we roasted it so it already came as soft as a kitten’s tail with a flavour that you could really savour. Not dry and brittle like the usual canteen turkey but proper, juicy bird meat that you look forward to having because you know the leftovers will be special.
This here curry is an example of how I put the turkey to good use. Leftovers are a gift but knowing what to do with them. Reheating them in the same manner in which they were first presented is never good enough. Cold cuts of meat are fantastic and I intend on having cold turkey with some roast veg at some point this week, but throwing together a very simple curry using the turkey meat is not only economical, but a delicious way of saluting the bird that makes Christmas what it is. And I’m not talking about your mother.
In a pestle and mortar (or however you grind your spices) pop in some coriander seeds and a little mustard powder. Split open some cardamom pods (I just use the back of a wooden spoon) and tip the little black seeds into the bowl and grind together with the coriander seeds and mustard powder. In a pan, melt a little coconut oil (or regular oil, whatever) and add some finely sliced shallots. Add some salt and cook until they have softened.
To this add some finely sliced garlic and some finely sliced fresh ginger. If you don’t have fresh ginger, don’t add ground – just leave it out. Now throw in some flaked almonds for additional crunch and cook for about 3 minutes before adding the ground curry spices and stir. Now add a tablespoon of red Thai curry paste and stir to combine everything. The red Thai curry paste is totally store-bought and it’s what gives me creative licence to call this a ‘Thai curry’. Agreed? Good. Now let’s move on. Open up a can of coconut milk and with a spoon, scoop out a tablespoon of the hard coconut ‘paste’ from the top of the can and drop in the pan. Stir until this has dissolved and turned the curry slightly milky.
Now pour in a little of the coconut milk, stirring as you go. You want to make this curry as creamy as possible so don’t add too much milk now. Bring this to a bubble and allow to simmer, adding more coconut milk if you feel it’s necessary but remember to keep it creamy, not watery. Now add your turkey. I had a little bit of the breast which I sliced into chunks but go with whatever you have here.
Stir and allow this to simmer for about 10 minutes or until your turkey has cooked through before throwing in a few heads of broccoli stems and a handful of frozen peas. Yes. Frozen peas in a curry. Cook this for a further 5 minutes to ensure the broccoli is cooked tenderly. Finally, throw in a small chopping of fresh coriander. Do this last because there is absolutely nothing worse that coriander that has been left to go soggy in a curry. Serve with some plain basmati rice with a generous squeeze of lime over it.
I wish I could say that this will be my last meal of leftovers but it absolutely will not be because at some point this week I know I’ll be roasting up a big old pan of vegetables (again, fridge leftovers) and having alongside some sliced turkey. It’s just the way it is. It’s not being frugal, it’s being respectful.
The turkey would want it that way.