PARIS -- Seems like there's always so much talk about what size the turkey should be. A 12-pounder? Fifteen? Will that feed everyone? What if they bring friends? And so on.
My rule of turkey buying is this: Buy the freshest, biggest turkey that you can find -- and that will fit into your oven. That way, everyone will be fed, and you'll have plenty of leftovers.
Which is the point, right?
I'm not saying the traditional Thanksgiving Day turkey/dressing/cranberry sauce menu isn't delicious, but knowing there's some already-cooked turkey in the fridge the day after the big day is the best part of all. The production is over. It's time to relax. Watch football. Or in my case, let someone else do the football-watching and let me get back into the kitchen.
Which is how I like to unwind, no matter how much I've cooked that day or week.
And when you've got leftovers to work with, the job's already half done. So to keep things simple, I've come up with two recipes that are simple to put together.
First up is turkey adovada with blue corn posole, a recipe inspired by the pork adovada with posole that I tasted last summer in Santa Fe at one of my favorite restaurants, La Choza. The hot and spicy New Mexican red chile paired with slightly sweet blue corn posole is a great swap-out for Texas chili -- and interesting enough for a dinner party. Ice down the beer, pour some chips and salsa into a bowl, and send out those e-vites. You don't have to tell them they are eating leftovers.
Ditto on the turkey Parmentier with crispy sage breadcrumbs, my take on one of the most classic of French comfort food dishes. Named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, who promoted les pommes du terre throughout France as people-food as well as hog feed, this is basically a French shepherd's pie. But here, I've made it with leftover shredded turkey, a layer of caramelized leeks and potatoes that are smashed a bit, leaving lots of different-size chunks throughout. And because I had a stale piece of bread that I didn't want to throw out, crispy sage breadcrumbs are on top, which takes this dish over the top.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and may your leftovers be plentiful.
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of "Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking With a French Accent" (Running Press, $25). www.cowgirlchef.com; @cowgirlchef.
Turkey Parmentier with crispy sage breadcrumbs
2 pounds of semi-waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
Sea salt and pepper
6 tablespoons butter (divided)
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)
3 cups leftover turkey, shredded
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
10 to 15 small fresh sage leaves
1. Put potatoes to boil in a large, covered pot of salted water; once it boils, turn down heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or just until you can pierce potatoes with a fork -- do not cook too long, because you want the purée to be slightly chunky.
2. When done, remove potatoes from heat, drain, and add 2 tablespoons of butter, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Mash with a hand potato masher. Set aside.
3. Put 2 tablespoons of butter into a large skillet along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add leeks. Cook slowly, over low to medium-low heat, until caramelized. (This can take about 30 minutes, but it's worth it.)
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and lightly grease a 10-inch round casserole dish (an 8-by-8-inch pan will work, too) with olive oil.
5. Layer turkey, leeks and potatoes into casserole and bake for 30 minutes or until warmed through.
6. While the casserole is heating, make crispy sage breadcrumbs by putting the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into a skillet, and turning the heat to medium-low. Add 1 cup of breadcrumbs and let cook until they turn brown and crisp, which will take about 5 minutes. Watch them carefully, because you don't want them to burn. When the breadcrumbs are ready, toss in fresh sage leaves and cook together until the leaves are crispy. Sprinkle on top of each serving.
Cowgirl tip: I like to make this with chicken, too.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 6: 483 calories, 23 grams fat, 35 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 97 milligrams cholesterol, 1,872 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 44 percent of calories from fat.
Turkey adovada with blue corn posole
1 12-ounce package of blue corn posole
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
4 cups shredded leftover turkey
1/4 cup New Mexico hot red chile powder (or your favorite red chile powder)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
Limes, cut into wedges, for serving
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
1. Soak posole overnight. The next day, boil it in a pot of water and 1 teaspoon of sea salt for two hours. Drain and set aside.
2. Put olive oil, chopped onion and garlic in a large saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until onion is translucent; about 5 minutes.
3. Add shredded turkey, chile powder, oregano, pinch of sea salt and chicken or turkey stock, stir, and let cook until warmed through. Serve in bowls with posole on the bottom and the turkey on top. Serve with wedges of lime and fresh cilantro.
Cowgirl tip: Make the posole ahead of time. Then, all you do is assemble.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 6: 280 calories, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 39 grams protein, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 934 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 28 percent of calories from fat.