Our poor old hippopotamus-canine would have starved.
Up until the 1950’s, there really wasn’t much of a dog food industry. Pet owners fed table scraps to their pups which were then supplemented with whatever the pooch could hunt or scavenge on their own.
If that was the diet of Riker, our 200 pound Anatolian shepherd, his daily intake would consist of six peas, half a pine cone, and a paper towel.
So instead, we regularly buy him 40 pound bags of kibble at Barnes Supply (774 9th St, Durham). He actually doesn’t eat as much as you might think.
But he would eat much, much less if he relied on me for table scraps.
I plan our meals so that we get plenty to eat, but nothing goes to waste. I divide big recipes and freeze half. Extra helpings become ingredients in future meals. And sometimes it gets nuked and we just eat straight-up leftovers.
On Thanksgiving it’s almost a given that you’re going to end up with a fridge full of leftovers.
My casserole can use up a ton of turkey day remainders or can be made from scratch. If you don’t have turkey, use a rotisserie clucker. If you haven’t got enough gravy, make it fresh. Throw a couple rolls or pieces of cornbread into the oven at 200 for 15 minutes or so, and then toss them in the food processor for bread crumbs. Or use some Panko from the grocery store. If you aren’t a pea family, use broccoli or corn.
And this recipe makes a bunch. So make it up Friday, and on Saturday all you have to do is throw it in the oven when you get home from the mall, maybe open some salad bags, and you’ll have another dinner for a crowd.
Post Turkey-Day Tetrazzini
3-4 cups turkey, cut into bite-size chunks
16 ounces egg noodles
24 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
12 ounces frozen peas, thawed
4 tablespoons butter (2 tablespoons if you’re not making sauce)
Big pinch salt
Little pinch pepper
1½ teaspoons dry thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
1-2 cups shredded Swiss or gruyere
¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs or breadcrumbs from rolls or cornbread
4 cups turkey gravy
Or for fresh:
5 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
Cook egg noodles for two minutes less than directions call for. Drain.
Melt butter in large heavy pot. Pour in mushrooms and onions. Add thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium for 5 minutes to let the water release from veg. Uncover and cook until water has all cooked off, there’s some browning, and bottom of the pot has little brown bits sticking to it.
Turn up to medium-high, pour in wine, scrape up the flavorful bits, and let cook until it’s all absorbed.
At this point, if you have turkey gravy, stir together everything except cheese and breadcrumbs.
If you don’t have gravy:
Sprinkle flour on top of mushrooms and onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Adding about a cup at a time, add stock and milk and stir until sauce starts to thicken. Do this until all the liquids have been added. Stir into noodle mixture.
Gently stir in thawed peas.
Pour into one large greased pan or two smaller greased dishes. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.
Cover with parchment and then foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, discard foil and parchment, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Return to oven and let cook 15-25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
Let sit 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
I’ll let you in on a little secret:
My plan was not to cook it up as a casserole, but serve the turkey mushroom sauce over a starch. I even thought I might spoon it over rice. But Petey liked the idea of baking it together with egg noodles. And it turned out so pretty and tasty I have to admit he was right.
So I guess this week the recipe is a collaboration of Petey and me.
Thanks for your time.